Africa

Nigeria still has enough leeway to borrow more – Buhari’s Minister

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said that Nigeria still has enough leeway to borrow more when the need arises. He explained that the country was not at risk of debt, adding that it had one of the lowest debt levels among its African peers.

“Nigeria has a viable debt profile with enough leeway to borrow more whenever we need it. Nigeria runs no debt risk and the Office of Debt Management conducts an annual debt sustainability analysis to ensure that it remains,” said Udoma in a statement by his special advisor for the media, Akpandem James.

Udoma said in Bali, Indonesia, at the last annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, adding that the implementation of the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was guiding the Nigerian economy into good direction.

The minister recalled that following the collapse of crude oil prices in 2014, which led to the recession of the country’s economy in 2016, the government had developed the ERGP in early 2017.

The minister said the positive trends in the country’s economic indicators since the launch of the ERGP showed that the plan was working.

He stated, “We have been able to bring down inflation from 18.7 per cent in January last year to 11.2 per cent by August this year. Our aim is to bring inflation down to a single digit by the end of the plan period in 2020.

“The exchange rate market has been stabilised through the introduction of the investors and importers’ foreign exchange window. We have also been able to build up our external reserves from $27bn in 2016 to $43.9bn by early this month.

“Our current account, as a ratio of Gross Domestic Product, has moved from a deficit of 3.2 per cent in 2015 to a surplus of 2.8 per cent by end of last year. And this is built on export growth, including significant growth in non-oil exports that has resulted in the country recording a consistently positive trade balance since the fourth quarter of 2016.”

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