Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has said that contrary to widespread perception, she was not in Nigeria to negotiate a loan for the country.
“I am not here to negotiate loan with conditionality because Nigeria does not need a new IMF programme,” the IMF chief said.
Ms. Lagarde, who addressed a press conference at the State House, Abuja, said she had a fruitful discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the Nigerian economy in the light of dwindling oil prices.
She said she also “We believe that with very clear primary ambition to support the poor people of Nigeria, there could be added flexibility in the monetary policy, particularly if as we think, the price of oil is likely to be possibly low for longer, because clearly the authorities should not deplete the reserves of the country, simply because of rules that will be exceedingly rigid. I’m not suggesting that but that rigidity be totally removed but some degree of flexibility will be enough.
“We have excellent discussions with Buhari and we discussed the challenges ahead stemming from oil price reduction. The necessity to apply fiscal discipline and the need to also respond to the population needs while addressing the Medium Term specificities of improving the competitiveness of Nigeria and yet also focusing on the short term fiscal situation which requires that revenue sources be identified in order to compensate the shortfall resulting from oil price decline.
“Oil is not the major contributor to the Nigerian GDP, it is only about 40 percent but it is a big source of revenue for the government.
“We discussed with the President, Vice President and the Minister of Finance and Minister of Budget how more efficiency, more transparency, better accountability, the enlarging the base of revenue could actually contribute to sound budget going forward.
“It is not for me here and now to actually approve or comment on the budget because we have procedures in the IMF under which a team of Economists is going
to come next week actually to do what we call the Article 4 which is to review… .good discussion with partners, IMF on one hand, country’s authorities on the other hand to really access whether financing is in place, whether the debt is sustainable, whether the borrowing cost are sensible and what strategy put in place in order to address challenges going forward.
“But what I certainly mentioned to Mr. President was that his fight and his determination to fight corruption and his determination to bring about transparency and accountability at all levels of the economy are very important agenda item and very ambitious goal that needed to be deliberated upon which he, himself is definitely committed to as he indicated this morning and as he inspires his team members.
“With that I am going to have more discussions with the Finance Minister and the Governor of Central Bank. We will be discussing issue of fiscal discipline, financing monetary policies and the degree of flexibility, all that with the fact that Nigeria with a vibrant large economy still has to deal with poor people, a lot of inequality and those two components should certainly be the drivers of reforms, whether it is looking at subsidies and how they are structured and how they can be phased out, whether it is monetary policy and the flexibility needed and knowing what effect it has on the poor, all, of those are ambitions that we could quickly recognize and support.
“Our technical discussions will continue and to those of you who wonder why the IMF Director is visiting Nigeria. It is precisely to have good discussion about these new objectives, these reforms agendas that have been identified and supported by the President and also to appreciate the impact that it will have on neighbouring countries because when a country large as Nigeria, anything that it decides, any hardship that it faces will have consequences around it and that is what our research and analytical work is demonstrating. Nigeria is one of those that have impact not just on itself and its people but around it and its neighbours.”
Former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Haliru Bello Mohammed arraigned by EFCC
Former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Haliru Bello Mohammed, on Tuesday appeared before the Federal High Court, Abuja, sitting on a wheel chair.
Mr. Bello appeared alongside his son, Abba Bello, following allegations of money laundering levelled them and their company, BAM projects and Properties Ltd, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had on December 26, 2015 filed a four-count charge of money laundering against the politician and his son for their alleged role in the diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms in the office of the National Security Adviser.
Abbah Mohammed is alleged to have received N600m from the office of the National Security Adviser in the name of Bam Properties.
EFCC holds Olisa Metuh
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrest the spokesman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh over allegation of financial crimes.
Metuh, was arrested at his Abuja residence, is being held at the head office of the EFCC where he may be detained.
A source at the commission said over N1bn was traced to the account of a company that he has interest in.
Avian flu strikes flocks in Nigeria
Nigeria reported four more H5N1 outbreaks in its poultry sector, Taiwan reported 10 more outbreaks from two different highly pathogenic strains, and Hong Kong reported that tests on a dead egret yielded H5N6, the same strain that recently sickened two women—one of them fatally—in southern China.
More Nigerian farms hit by H5N1
Meanwhile, the H5N1 virus recently struck four more poultry farms in Nigeria, one in Delta state in the south and three in Kano state, located in the north, according to two separate reports to the OIE. For all four of the events, no outbreak source was found, but investigations noted poor farm biosecurity.
Delta state’s outbreak started on Dec 25 at a large commercial facility that housed more than 34,000 broilers, layers, and breeders. The virus killed 7,973 birds, and authorities slaughtered the remaining ones to control the spread of the virus.
The three outbreaks in Kano state began from Dec 21 to Dec 29, affecting facilities that raised pullets, broilers, and layers. Of 15,450 susceptible birds on the three farms, the virus killed 376, with the remainder of the flocks stamped out as a control measure.
Nigeria is among a handful of African countries that have reported a re-emergence of H5N1 in poultry after a several-year hiatus.