Nigeria became the largest remittance-recipient country in sub-Saharan Africa and the sixth largest among low-middle income countries in 2018. The country’s official remittances amounted to $24.3billion in 2018,1 a 10.5% increase from the 2017 remittances received and accounts for 6.1% of GDP. Along with the strong economic conditions in high-income countries, the year-on-year acceleration in remittance flows is not unconnected to a slight declining trend that has been observed in remittance costs since the beginning of 2018.2 Although currently at an average of 9%, these remittance costs remain above the global average of 7% and far from the SDG target of 3%. Given the relatively strong economic and employment situation in high-income countries, and the growth in emigration in Nigeria, we expect that remittance flows to Nigeria will continue to rise. Addressing the regulatory barriers to entry in order to allow for more money transfer operators, particularly digital operators will drive the cost of remittance down and increase inflows. For instance, the N2 billion capital threshold mandated by CBN for domestic companies (compared with the N50 million for foreign companies) could be reviewed to allow companies lacking the financial clout to meet up.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
Recent Data released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics reveals an increase in total public debt stock between 2015 and 2016. Foreign and domestic debt stock stood at $11.4 billion and N14.0 trillion respectively as at December 2016, from $10.7 billion and N10.5 trillionrecorded as at December 2015. Disaggregated data shows that foreign debt sources comprised Multilateral ($8.0 billion), Bilateral ($0.2 billion) and Exim bank of China ($3.2 billion); domestic sources included government bonds, treasury bills and bonds. The federal government and states accounted for 68.7% and 31.3% respectively of foreign debt stock; 78.9% and 21.1% respectively of domestic debt stock. This maybe particularly at the backdrop of government borrowings in 2016 to finance its expenditure (mostly recurrent).
Recent Data on Nigerias Real GDP growth rate (Year-on-Year) declined by 2.47 percentage points, from 2.11 per cent in 2015Q4 to -0.36 percent in 2016Q11. This is the lowest GDP growth rate since 2004Q2 (-0.81 percent). The Oil sector continued to contract, as -1.89 percent growth was recorded in 2016Q1. The negative growth witnessed in the oil sector was likely driven by the fall in global oil prices by $9.732 and decline in domestic crude oil production, relative to preceding quarter. Similarly, the Non-oil sector witnessed a negative growth as it declined by 3.32 percentage points from 3.14 percent in 2015 Q4 to -0.18 percent in 2016Q1. The underperformance in the non-oil sector was driven by significant contractions in financial (by 17.69 percent), manufacturing (by 8.77 percent), and real estate (by 5.48 percent) sub-sectors. Given that the present economic fundamentals point to a likely recession in 2016Q2, the government can stir economic activities by speeding up the budget implementation process to spur growth in the non-oil sector and the economy at large. More so, the domestic production shock in the oil sector needs to be addressed to effectively leverage on the present marginal rise in crude oil prices.
Power sector analysis shows an increase in power generated by 15.5 percent from 3639.2 megawatt to a peak of 4196.2 megawatt between April 22, 2016 and April 29, 201612, albeit a sharp fall to 25.2 megawatts on April 23, 2016 following a system collapse13. In a bid to attain the targeted 10,000 megawatts by 2019, the Federal Government is set to complete the ongoing 47 power transmission projects across the country, which would boost power supply14. However, the delays in passing the budget into law is a major constraint to the completion of the projects. Thus government needs to speed-up the passage of the 2016 budget to provide the funds to complete the projects.