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World Bank projects 3.7% growth in Nigeria’s GDP by 2025

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The World Bank has predicted that Nigerian Gross Domestic Product will grow by 3.7 percent in 2025.

The World Bank in its latest report titled “Global Economic Prospect: Subdued Growth, Multiple Challenges,” projected that the African largest economy will improve by 3.3 per cent up from a projected 2.9 percent for 2023.

The report stated, “Growth in Nigeria is projected at 3.3 per cent this year and 3.7 percent in 2025—up 0.3 and 0.6 percentage points, respectively, since June—as macro-fiscal reforms gradually bear fruit.

“The baseline forecast implies that per capita income will reach its pre-pandemic level only in 2025.”

The Washington-based bank attributed the momentum to the gradual realisation of the current macro-fiscal reforms.

Since the assumption of office by President Bola Tinubu, he has initiated some reforms, which include the removal of fuel subsidies and foreign exchange rate harmonisation, with a focus on infrastructure development, manufacturing, and technology.

The multilateral bank said that the country’s economic growth will be driven by agriculture, construction, services, and trade.

According to the 2023 State of Global Food and Nutrition Security, the number of Nigerians facing food insecurity has increased by 133 percent in three years. The figure surged from 63.8 million people between 2014 and 2016 to 148.7 million people between 2020 and 2022.

“Inflation should gradually ease as the effects of last year’s exchange rate reforms and removal of fuel subsidies fade. These structural reforms are expected to boost fiscal revenue over the forecast period,” the World Bank declared.

It acknowledged that the Nigerian economy softened to an estimated 2.9 percent in 2023 due to the disruptive currency demonetisation policy, which involved replacing old high-denomination naira notes.

“Growth in the region’s three largest economies—Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola—slowed to an average of 1.8 percent last year, holding back the region’s overall growth.

“In the region’s other countries, growth softened to 3.9 percent, partly reflecting a sharp decline in metal exporters’ growth alongside lower global metal prices. Moreover, intense and prolonged conflicts hampered growth in several countries.

“More broadly, post-pandemic recoveries were slowed by weakening external demand and domestic policy tightening to address persistent inflation,” it remarked.

Nigeria’s GDP was N60.66 trillion as of Q3 of 2023 after growing at 2.54 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The bureau said the growth rate was higher than the 2.25 percent recorded in Q3 2022 and higher than the second quarter 2023 growth of 2.51 percent.

However, there were concerns that rising public debt, persistent inflation, high cost of living, and a weak business environment, may continue to pose a downward risk to Nigeria’s growth prospects.

The country’s inflation rose to a 21-year high of 28.92 percent in December 2023.

Public debt climbed to N87.91 trillion in the third quarter of 2023, according to data from the Debt Management Office.

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FG urges NIPSS members on creative solutions to national challenge

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The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, has urged members of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), to devise creative solutions to Nigeria’s social and economic challenges.

Bagudu received  participants of the Senior Executive Course 46 of the institute in his office on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, some of the issues confronting Nigeria  as a nation might require out of the box solutions.

“The NIPSS was created in the wisdom of our forefathers, to train senior management personnel that can bring unusual solutions to problems confronting us,” he said.

He urged the participants to eschew self-interest and make decisions that can assist the nation to make better choices.

Bagudu  said that the national planning function of the ministry comes from the National Planning Commission.

He said that the digital economy is one area that the ministry was looking at for mass youth engagement and economic prosperity.

“Digital economy is an evolving process.which the country will have to leverage digital for overall growth and development.

“It is a new reality. Today trading platforms are closing shop and increasingly going digital.

“Nigeria needs to respond positively and reap benefits from the digital economy. But we have to make the space safe through effective regulation.

“Some countries have data protection laws which enable them to check and regulate excesses in the digital space,” he said.

The Minister commended the law enforcement agencies for promptly going after digital platforms like Binance, which was used to disrupt the foreign exchange market and to weaken the Naira.

He also commended the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yemi Cardoso, for his various monetary policy decisions that restored confidence in the Nigerian economy.

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Cardoso to speaks at IMF meeting on FX reforms

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso will speak on foreign exchange (FX) market reforms at the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings on Wednesday in Washington D.C.

The meetings of the Boards of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank Group (WBG) bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, parliamentarians, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organisations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial system

Cardoso assumed office as the Governor of the CBN in September 2023. Since then he has introduced some new FX policies and adjusted some existing ones to ensure the stability of the naira.

According to Cardoso, the exchange rate in Nigeria has increased/depreciated due to the simultaneous occurrence of two factors: a decline in the supply of US Dollars coinciding with a surge in the demand for US dollars.

He said in February 2023 that the foreign exchange market is currently facing increased demand pressures, causing a continuous decline in the value of the naira. Factors contributing to this situation include speculative forex demand, inadequate forex supply due to non-remittance of crude oil earnings to the CBN, increased capital outflows, and excess liquidity from fiscal activities.

To address exchange rate volatility, he said a comprehensive strategy has been initiated to enhance liquidity in the FX markets.

This includes unifying FX market segments, clearing outstanding FX obligations, introducing new operational mechanisms for BDCs, enforcing the Net Open Position limit, and adjusting the remunerable Standing Deposit Facility cap.

As part of measures to control inflation and stabilise the naira, the CBN last month raised its benchmark interest rate, known as the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 200 basis points to 24.75 percent from 22.75 percent in February 2024.

In her second term message, Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director, who was recently reappointed by the executive board of the IMF, said, “I am deeply grateful for the trust and support of the Fund’s Executive Board, representing our 190 members, and honoured to continue to lead the IMF as managing director for a second five-year term.”

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PenCom recovers N12.45bn from erring employers

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The National Pension Commission (PenCom) said it has recovered N12.45 billion from employers that failed to contribute towards their employees retirement.

The recovery would indeed help in wealth creation for the workers, thereby securing them against old age poverty in retirement.

PenCom in its 4th quarter 2024 report, said it has maintained the services of Recovery Agents (RAs) for the recovery of unremitted pension contributions and penalties from defaulting employers.

It submitted that during the quarter, the sum of N319,468,587.45 comprising principal contributions N128,176,029.95 and penalties N191,292,557.50 was recovered from 32 defaulting employers.

It noted that meanwhile, the Commission Secretariat/Legal Advisory Services Department had been requested to take legal action against 4 defaulting employers.

The pension industry regulator maintained that from the commencement of the recovery exercise in June 2012 to 31 December 2023, a total sum of N25,447,085,186.71 comprising of principal contributions N12,929,415,445.52 and penalties N12,517,669,741.19 was recovered from defaulting employers.

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