IMF urges Nigeria to devalue Naira to boost FDI ….. SUN

International_Monetary_Fund_logo.svgThe International Mon­etary Fund (IMF ) Fri­day called for further devaluation of Naira and remove all import restric­tions as part of strategies to further strengthen the coun­try’s economic adjustment programmes with realities of the current global economic conditions.

Speaking at a press confer­ence at the just concluded an­nual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the IMF African Department Represen­tative, Ms Antoinette Sayeh, said the adjustment was neces­sary in order to ease tension for private sector investments.

She said forex flexibility plays very important role for investors and their investments and that Nigerian government could not ignore such issues.

Nigeria’s Central Bank has since last year devalued Naira twice following a slide in gov­ernment revenue stream from crude oil sales.

Despite this measure, the apex bank has come under im­mense pressure to further de­value the local currency and improve private sector access to its official foreign currency windows.

This is also coming as Nige­ria’s organised private sector still see the CBN restriction of about 41 items from its official window as denying manufac­turers access to foreign curren­cy resources to import needed raw materials.

But while acknowledging that the value of Naira has dropped by about 20 per cent since the 2014 crash of com­modity prices Sayeh was still confident that further value adjustment still needs to be implemented by the monetary authorities.

“We hope there will be op­portunity for further review by the Nigerian authorities,” she said.

She said the IMF was already knew that Nigeria and Angola, together with other six oil pro­ducing nations in Africa, have been seriously hit by the global drop in oil price. “Their fall­ing export income and sharp adjustment are taking their toll on growth, which is expected to decelerate sharply to 3.5per cent this year, from the 6 per cent in 2014

Meanwhile, Sayeh has at­tributed the impressive growth recorded by most African coun­tries to the robust business and macro economic policies put in place by governments.