February 19, 2021

Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 6)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that Nigeria’s fiscal balance is estimated to increase considerably. More specifically, general government deficit is projected to widen from 4.8 to 5.9 percent of GDP between 2019 and 2020.1 Also, public debt is projected to increase substantially to 34 percent of GDP in 2020 from 29.1 percent in 2019. The increase in government general deficit can be attributed to sharp revenue declines occasioned by the pandemic. Although revenue could increase given the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate from 5 to 7.5 percent in 2020, and expenditure savings from the removal of power sector and fuel subsidies, the concurrent increase in expenditure related to COVID-19 emergency support will drive the widening fiscal deficit. However, as domestic activities recover to pre-COVID levels and spending on household and businesses vulnerable to the pandemic tapers down, the fiscal deficit is projected to narrow in 2021.

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