Nigeria’s Apex bank held the first meeting of its reconstituted Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for the year 2018. Following a detailed review of domestic macroeconomic events, the MPC deemed it fit to retain all rates: MPR at 14% (which has remained at a record high of 14 percent since July 2016), CRR 22.5%, Liquidity Ratio 30% and Asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR1. The unchanged monetary policy can be attributed to the MPC’s satisfaction with the continued moderation in economic indices as well as the gradual return to macroeconomic stability. Going forward, fiscal policy authorities should consolidate these positive outcomes given monetary policy inaction.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
GDP growth rate increased marginally by 2.84 percent in Q3 2015 from 2.35 percent in the preceding quarter. Nominal GDP increased to N24.3 million from N22.9 million in the preceding quarter. Growth in this period was attributed to the improved performance of the non-oil sector which grew by 3.05 percent. The Sectoral disaggregation shows that the Services and Agricultural sectors grew by 3.97 and 3.46 percent respectively, while the Manufacturing sector shrank by 1.75 percent.
Business activities in Africa slightly improved in February 2017 albeit at a slow rate. Sales Managers Index (SMI) for Africa an assessment of business condition in Pan-African Economy increased by 0.4 index points from 52.2 points in January 2017 to 52.6 points in February 2017. Sub-Saharan African countries experienced better business activities than North Africa in the review period. The two largest economies in the region, Nigeria (48.5 index points) and South Africa (49.2 Index points) registered contraction in the review period as Nigeria remained in recession while high unemployment remained a problem in South Africa. The growth in SMI recorded in the review period is driven by improvement in business confidence and sales price which outweighed the fall in other components market growth, sales output and staffing level.
Infrastructural development is a key step in providing a competitive business environment for African economies. It provides the backbone for poverty reduction strategies and programmes designed to improve the livelihood of the poor. Africa is in dire need of infrastructural development. The absence of quality infrastructure in the continent holds back per capita economic growth by 2 percentage points each year and depresses firm productivity by as much as 40 percent (Escribano et al., 2008 and Kelly, 2012). Estimates suggest that around USD 90 billion is required to close Africas infrastructure gap annually until 2020 (AICD, 2010).
Nigerias external reserve rose to its 19-month high in the week under review (March 3, 2017 to March 10, 2017). Precisely, the reserve improved by a daily average-percentage-increase of 0.21 percent, from $29.79 billion on March 3, 2017 to $30.04 billion on March 10, 2017 the highest level since August 2015. The rising reserve at the backdrop of steady revenue from improved domestic crude oil production/prices and forex inflows from rising exports, has reduced pressure on the Naira the naira has witnessed marginal but steady appreciation. While the recent improvement in oil revenue is a welcome development, concerted efforts need be made to develop the Non-oil sector so as to mitigate future oil revenue shocks.