Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with an estimated population of 190.9 million; it also has the largest economy, estimated at $376 billion in 2017 (World Bank, 2017). The economy hinges critically on the service sector, while oil is relied upon as the main source of foreign earnings. Despite its huge potential, Nigeria has failed to translate its resource endowment and strategic economic and demographic positions into sustained economic development. In fact, the country’s performance is abysmally low with regard to key development indicators. A portion (46 per cent) of its huge population is poor by World Bank definitions, and socioeconomic outcomes remain among the worst globally (World Bank, 2017). Specifically, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (13 million in 2018), coupled with high rates of infant and maternal mortality (figure 1). Furthermore, the country suffers from inadequate and dilapidated infrastructure across the energy, housing and transport sectors. This is in relation to about $30 billion in budgeted spending for the 2018 fiscal year by the federal government, which reflects the enormous development financing challenges (Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, 2018). Despite these poor development indicators, the country has made modest progress in improving revenue streams, with recent developments in sectors other than oil such as the agriculture and mineral sectors.
The naira continued its downward trajectory this week. Specifically, naira depreciated at the interbank segment by 3.45 percent to N300/$; and by 3.56 percent to 378/$ at the parallel segment. Despite the CBNs effort to support the naira with Forwards and FOREX futures, the excess demand for dollar continues to put pressure on the naira. Looking forward, the stabilization of exchange rate depends on the ability of the CBN and government to attract capital inflows; particularly by raising interest rate, tackling inflation and supporting economy recovery.
The modest growth in the global output witnessed in the first quarter of 2015 was driven mainly by advanced economies, particularly the United States. Growth slowed down significantly in emerging and developing economies, primarily natural resource-dependent countries which were adversely affected by falling commodity prices.
The external reserve increased week-on-week by 2 percent to $26.3 billion on January 6, 2017. The increase was likely triggered by continued marginal rise in crude oil price, which moderated oil revenue in the review week. The recent rise in crude oil price is likely to be maintained in the short term given the recent oil production cut deal by OPEC members. Thus, the Nigerian government should target short term increase in crude oil production to fully take advantage of Nigerias exemption from oil production cut and potential rise in oil prices.