The IMF retained its 2.1 percent forecast of Nigeria’s GDP growth rate for 2018, while increasing the 2019 projected GDP growth rate to 2.3 percent1, from 1.9 percent projected earlier. The stated review is at the backdrop of continued increases in commodity prices in the long term, for which crude oil is the benchmark for Nigeria. Outlook on crude oil price and production is expected to maintain upward improvements in the near term. However, the Nigerian government pegs its own forecasted growth rate at 3.5 percent in 2018 – higher than figures predicted by the IMF, although premised around the same driving factors. In order to achieve a 3.5 percent GDP growth rate, a more effective implementation of the bold initiatives in this administration’s economic plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan – is critical particularly in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
The naira depreciated by 8.2 percent from N305/$ on February 5th, to N330/ $ on February 12th 20166. The apex body identified the increased domestic demand for forex to pay for foreign medical treatments and schools fees (15 percent of total demand) 7 as the main drivers. As a result, the apex bank is considering to discontinue the provision of forex for payment of medical bills and school fees abroad and to re-channel the forex towards the manufacturing sector of the economy. With the continuous depreciation of the naira, and the CBNs resistance from calls to devalue the currency, the options for alternatives measures seem to be diminishing.
Recently released report by the NBS shows an increase in Unemployment and Underemployment rates for 2016Q4 relative to preceding and corresponding quarters. The unemployment rate, at 14.2 percent, indicates a 3.8% points YoY4increase, and a 0.3% points QoQ increase with the number of unemployed people increasing by 351,051 persons. Similarly, underemployment rate grew (QoQ) by 1.3% points to 21%, representing about 17 million underemployed persons as at the quarter. The rise in unemployment/underemployment rate is attributable to the disproportionate rise in labour force vis--vis job creation, in addition to slow-down in economic/business activities during the quarter. Going forward, the government should make efforts to strengthen and expand Nigerias entrepreneurial infrastructure.
The falling tide in the international value of Naira experienced a reversal in the review week with naira appreciating significantly by 11 percent from N516/$ on February 17, 2017 to N460/$ on February 24, 2017 at the parallel market the first appreciation since December 2016. The recent rise in naira value was driven by forex supply-demand gap closure, sequel to improvements in dollar liquidity. The recent CBN Special intervention (e.g. the auction and sale of $370 million and $1.5 million respectively, by the apex bank during the week) and its revised forex policy guidelinescontributed in dousing speculations in the parallel market, thus gradually narrowing the margin between the interbank and parallel market rates. Given that the sustainability of naira appreciation is strongly hinged on the improvement in foreign reserve which is largely dependent on crude oil sales, the government should continue its efforts at calming tensions in the Niger Delta region.
The paper explores the policy framework for implementing the FRA across the 36 states, and identifies the underlying macroeconomic principles required for the FRA to be effective at the state level.