Projected economic growth for Nigeria may not be realized on the strength of the #ENDSARS protests, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.
The organization expressed concern over the protests “particularly ones that are difficult like the ones in Nigeria at the moment.”
Responding to questions during the virtual IMF press conference on the regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday,the IMF Director, African Department, Abebe Selassie, said it was important for government to find an immediate solution to the protests.
His words: “On the growth projections in Nigeria, I mean, these protests happened of course, after we had closed, after the period where the data we looked at in making the growth projections for this economic outlook. And much will depend really on how these protests evolve. Lagos of course, is a very important economic hub and contributes quite a bit of economic activity to overall Nigeria activities. So, if these persist and are showing significant effects on economic data, we will internalize them in due course.
“Are we concerned? I mean, of course we are always, always concerned when we see protests. Particularly ones that are difficult like the ones in Nigeria at the moment. But also, anywhere in the world, right? So, we hope that there will be a satisfactory resolution there.
economic conditions in Nigeria of course, for the last four years or so have been very difficult in the wake of the decline in oil prices in 2015-16. Since then, their growth has been quite anemic.
“It has been a lot of pressure on standards of living, so there has been this dislocation and you know, as always when you have these kinds of economic difficulties, you know, social protests are not uncommon.
“I think this is exactly why we have been on the record in Nigeria about how really critical it is to get all of the policy induced barriers out of the way to facilitate stronger economic growth.
“For the government to do more to raise revenues through the area of non-oil resources to be able to invest in health education which would, you know, allow people to be more successful at getting jobs but also improve the economy’s potential.
“So, I think that development agenda that Nigeria has, I think, has to be tackled with gusto and vigor so that the millions of jobs that the country needs can be created. And I think that agenda remains very, very, very pressing.”
On Nigeria’s debt issue Mr.Selassie said: “ in terms of the money we’ve been providing this year, you know, a core function of the IMF of course is that when countries no longer have access through the usual forms of financing that they have -development financing, or private market financing – IMF is the one that steps forward.
“And at a time of crisis like this, it is the raison d’être. It’s why the IMF exists, to come help countries, sovereigns in distress, while they are correcting their economies to go back to normal forms of financing. So, the financing we’ve been providing is critical.
“It is an important lifeline and all that we are asking countries to do is show that these resources have indeed been used to save lives and livelihoods.”
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