Recently, oil price surpassed US$70 per barrel due to the heightened threat to energy facilities in the Middle East. As the tension between the United States and Iran increases with the US threatening to attack Iran’s oil installations, there has been a significant rise in oil prices from US$64 to US$72 between December 2019 and January 20203. Given that Nigeria’s oil price benchmark for the 2020 budget is US$57 per barrel, there are likely to be significant gains into the Excess Crude Account in the first quarter. Although the government will benefit from the rise in oil prices in the form of increased oil revenue and foreign exchange reserves, the cost of petrol subsidy will also increase. In order to take advantage of the price increase, the government should ramp up local production and begin the process of fuel subsidy removal.
January 29, 2020
Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 02)
The paper examines the importance of fuel subsidy reforms and how the Nigerian government can achieve a successful reform. It also examines the link between safety nets and growth to help facilitate reform and inclusive growth.
Latest figures of FDI flows to Nigeria show a decline of 27 per cent from $4.7 billion in 2014 to $3.4 billion in 20152, representing its lowest value since 2005. This decline is largely attributed to the oil price slump, which has generally increased uncertainty in the economy, with adverse effects on investors confidence. The fall in FDI flows was witnessed in most resource based economies in Africa, as FDI flows to the continent fell by 31 percent in 2015. The forex controls in place in Nigeria has also exacerbated the uncertainty in economy, and created obstacles for both domestic and foreign investors. Thus a review of the forex restrictions could send positive signals to investors.
Latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report by the International Monetary Fund reveals that Nigerias economy will grow by 1.9 percent in 2018 an unchanged stance from earlier projections. However, the figure is 2.9 percentage points lower than the 4.8 percent 2018 estimated growth rate in Nigerias ERGP (Economic Recovery and Growth Plan) 2 showing a very large disparity between domestic and international growth forecasts for Nigeria. The Funds projection however seems to have taken into cognizance underlying factors that could slow growth in the medium term: faster pace of population growth relative to GDP growth3, poor policy implementation, banking system fragilities and foreign exchange market segmentation.