The Federal Executive Council has ratified Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement ahead of the December 5, 2020 deadline.1 The AfCFTA, which comes into effect on the 1st of January 2021, aims to create a single market for goods and services in Africa that can potentially increase consumer and business spending to over $6.7 trillion by 2030.2 Nigeria with its substantial market, large labour force and the economy is likely to be a major beneficiary of the agreement. However, the Nigerian government in some instances has taken an anti-trade policy stance such as the closure of land borders with Benin, Niger, and Cameroon in order to curb the smuggling of food products, and the new import prohibition on Maize. As such, the government will have to improve its preparedness towards implementing the AfCFTA by identifying and achieving quick wins to enhance trade across borders. Another important policy objective is increasing the awareness of the AfCFTA among local businesses in order that they leverage on the increased market access.
December 14, 2020
Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 45)
Latest Doing Business report by the World Bank ranks Nigeria as one of the top 10 economies that showed notable improvements in doing business in 2016/2017. Precisely, the report which presents quantitative indicators on business regulation compared across 190 economies and ranked Nigeria 145th - up by 24 positions from the previous report ranking, to reach its highest rank since 2013. This may not be unexpected, given that it is consequent upon various business environment reforms in 2016. Particularly, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) set up in 2016 enacted 31 reforms to improve business(such as improving credit to small and medium-size businesses) all of were enacted into law in May 2017.
The external reserves decreased week-on-week marginally by 0.2 percent from June 9, 2017 to June 16, 2017. The reserve declined from $30.27 billion to $30.21 billion. Given that crude oil revenue constitutes the most part of the reserve, the decline may be reflective of the week-on-week drop in global crude oil price (Crude oil price fell by approximately 2 percent to $47.377 per barrel as at June 16 2017). The ongoing forex intervention by the monetary authority also poses a challenge to foreign reserve conservation. Given the unimpressive performance of global oil prices in recent time, there is need to explore other areas with great potentials to generate foreign exchange earnings. Diversification of forex earnings remains the key to insulating foreign reserve against fluctuations in global commodity prices. The country can tap into solid minerals sector as alternative source of foreign exchange. Huge investment together with investor-friendly policies in solid minerals would make the sector attractive to investors.
The naira/dollar exchange rate remained largely stable at the parallel market at ?320/$ during the period7, albeit slight fluctuations on February 29, 2016 (?325/$) and March 2, 2016 (?328/$). The decline in the hoarding of foreign currency as well as the substantial reduction in the speculative demand for dollars were the two key factors responsible for the ease of fluctuations in the forex market8. With the slight increase in the price of crude oil, Nigerias foreign reserve slightly grew by $56 million, from 27.81 billion to $27.84 billion9. With the continued increase in the price of crude oil, a modest build-up of foreign reserve to guard against unfavourable commodity price movements is expected in the near term.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slightly revised upward growth projections for SubSaharan Africa by 0.1 percentage point in 2017 but retained growth estimates for 2018.1 Precisely, growth estimate in the region was increased from 2.6 percent in April 2017 forecast to 2.7 percent in July 2017 forecast, while it was retained at 3.5 percent for 2018. The slight upward revision in 2017 is attributable to an upgrade in South Africas growth prospect from 0.8 percent in April 2017 to 1.0 percent in July 2017. Despite the upward 2017 revision, 2018 forecast for South Africa was revised down from 1.6 percent in April 2017 to 1.2 percent in July 2017. Growth forecast for Nigeria remained unchanged at 0.8 percent and 1.9 percent for 2017 and 2018 respectively.