Information from the Apex bank shows a likelihood of not attaining the financial inclusion target of 2020 as stated in the Nigeria Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) of 2012. Precisely, the CBN’s 2016 financial inclusion report states that only 58.4 percent of Nigerian adults were financially included as against the overall financial inclusion rate targeted at 80 percent. Similarly, only about 48.6 percent use formal financial services compared to the targeted 70 percent1. Related to the targets are 22 key performance indicators that Nigeria still lags behind in. Leveraging on technology to boost financial inclusion would be a significant step forward
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 ($3.2 billion); domestic sources included government bonds, treasury bills and bonds. The federal government and states accounted for 68.7% and 31.3% respectively of foreign debt stock; 78.9% and 21.1% respectively of domestic debt stock. This maybe particularly at the backdrop of government borrowings in 2016 to finance its expenditure (mostly recurrent).
The Naira continued to depreciate in the review week. At the parallel market, naira exchanged for N498/$ on January 27, 2017 and N500/$ on February 3, 2017. Despite the weekly sales of forex to BDCs and the significant improvements in the external reserves, the naira has continued to lose value to other currencies. The pressure on the naira has been triggered by escalating scarcity of forex in the spot market, likely due to forex hoarding. However, in the preceding week, the CBN sold $660 million in forwards contract in an attempt to manage liquidity and stabilize the naira. In the face of growing speculation in the parallel market, the monetary authority should institute mechanisms that would discourage excessive forex hoarding among licensed BDC operators. An initiative that monitors transaction dealings in the parallel market would go a long way in detecting erring BDC operators.
Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the value of capital imported to Nigeria declined by 54.34 percent; from $1.56 billion 2015Q4to $710.97 million in 2016Q11. This is the lowest value since the data was first released in 2007. Huge declines in Portfolio Investment (71.54 percent) and other Investment (44.84 percent) were the major drivers of the trend within the period. A myriad of factors have contributed to the decline in investments. The plunge in crude oil prices, and the resultant negative signals on investors confidence, was a key factor. This was exacerbated by the FOREX restrictions and delays in the assentation of 2016 Appropriation Bill. While the slight increases in oil prices and the recent signing of the budget into law could improve the general economic prospects, monetary authorities need to proffer solutions to the negative effects of the current FOREX restrictions on investments.
In the second quarter of 2016, the Nigerian economy witnessed its first recession in twenty years due to the interplay of several external and internal factors. The recession has continued until date and has given rise to relentless unemployment rate and job losses, double digit and soaring inflation, currency depreciation and widening gap between parallel market and official exchange rates, amongst other adverse effect on individuals and firms in the country. Thus, there is a need to take a deeper look into the nature of the present recession as well as the impact of monetary and fiscal policy responses thus far, in order to shed light on the way forward towards tackling the recession and ensuring sustainable economic growth. This paper analyses the ongoing recession in the Nigerian economy to provide insights into the interplay of events and recommendations for policy.