The total direct remittance inflow into Nigeria has declined considerably, falling by 50% from US$2.04 billion to US$1.01 billion between January and February 20201. This is significantly lower than 2019 levels, as a total of US$23 billion was remitted in 2019, making Nigeria the highest recipient within the sub-Saharan African region2. However, with many of its citizens resident in the diaspora residing in countries that have been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic including Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, their ability to work and thus remit funds has been significantly limited. Given that remittance is a major source of income for vulnerable households in developing countries, this recent development could increase poverty and further widen inequality. In the coming months, remittance flows are expected to continue declining as a recent World Bank report noted that flows to low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa will fall by 23.1% in 20202. In order to mitigate against the impact on vulnerable households, the government should provide additional social safety nets for the poor and ensure that the distribution mechanism of the cash transfer programme is efficient and equitable.
May 19, 2020
Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 17)
Crude oil prices recorded increase during the review week. Global benchmark, Brent price increased from $61.42 to $63.522. Nigerias Bonny light gained 9.6 percent to trade at $64.78 per barrel. The weeks rise was at the backdrop of further prospective cuts agreement at OPECs meeting in November 2017 and political tensions and uncertainties in Saudi Arabia given that these events may likely reduce supply and support demand in the near term. Meanwhile, global crude oil market events have been favorable to Nigeria, as the price of bonny light at approximately $65 per barrel, reflects the highest in more than two years.
The global economy grew by 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 (2016Q4) relative to 2.5 percent in 2016Q3, due to rising investment and consumption demands in developed and emerging economies as well as a rise in commodity prices. However, over the entire year, global GDP growth stood at 2.6 percent in 2016, relative to the growth of 3.09 percent recorded in 2015. Notably, output grew progressively in the US over the year, while the steady growth recorded in the UK since the start of the year stalled in 2016Q4. Also, the declining growth recorded in France since 2015 took a positive turn in 2016Q4, the rest of the Eurozone witnessed a fall in output in the quarter. While emerging economies recorded mixed experiences, many Sub-Saharan African countries showed signs of recovery in the period.
The Executive council recently approved a three-year external borrowing plan (2016-2018) which specifies external borrowing of approximately $30 billion (to be sourced mostly from MDBs) for infrastructure development. Although, the plan is yet to be approved by the Senate, the planned concessional loans for infrastructural development would imply inflows of foreign exchange which could help moderate the exchange rate volatilities in the near term, and offer potential improvement in business productivity and job creation.