The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday revised further down its earlier forecast on Nigeria’s 2.1 percent growth rate to 1.9 percent on the grounds that the country’s economy is doing poorly.
The Deputy Director at the Research Department of the multilateral financial institution, Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, disclosed this while addressing journalists on the findings in the World Economic Outlook report for October at the ongoing annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Bali, Indonesia.
He said that the report indicated that the aggregate growth rate of Africa was being held down by its three largest economies namely, Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The IMF reported: “The aggregate growth rate for the continent is held down by the fact that the three largest economies are not performing up to their full potential.
“Nigeria’s growth, 1.9 percent this year; 2.3 next year. South Africa, only 0.8 percent this year. Angola, contracting by 0.1 percent this year. So the aggregate — over three percent this year, close to four percent next year — is despite the largest economies in the continent doing poorly.
“The continent could do much better once these economies are on a more solid footing, particularly South Africa and Nigeria because they are really large and affect a number of countries in their neighbourhood”, it added.
It would be recalled that in its earlier World Economic Outlook report released in July this year, the Bretton Wood institution had projected that Nigeria’s economy would grow by 2.1 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent in 2019.
The report stated: “In Nigeria and Angola, tighter monetary policy and moderation in food price increases contributed to tapering inflation. In Nigeria, inflation is projected to fall to 12.4 percent in 2018, from 16.5 percent in 2017, and to rise to 13.5 percent in 2019,” the report read.
The World Bank recently cut its growth projections for Nigeria by 0.2% citing reduction in oil production levels, and contraction in the agricultural sector, following the herder-farmer crisis. It also reduced global growth to 3.7 %.
Similarly, at the ongoing meeting in Bali, Indonesia, the IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Department, Mr Maurice Obstfeld, while briefing the media on the World Economic Outlook (WEO), confirmed that the Fund had cut global growth projection to 3.7 per cent for this year and next year.
The new projection is a marginal reduction of the 3.9 per cent projection of last April’s World Economic Outlook report.
He explained: “The latest World Economic Outlook report projects that global growth will remain steady over this year and next, at last rate of 3.7 percent. This growth exceeds that achieved in any of the years between 2012 and 2016, and it occurs as many economies have reached or are nearing full employment and as earlier deflation fears have dissipated.
“Thus, policymakers still have an excellent opportunity to build resilience and implement growth-enhancing reforms.
“Last April, at the time of our last World Economic Outlook, the world economy broad-based momentum led us to project a 3.9 percent growth rate for both this year and next. Considering developments since then, however, that number now appears overoptimistic. Rather than rising, growth has plateaued at 3,7 percent”, Obstfeld added.
Noting that there are clouds on the horizon, the IMF top shot noted further that “growth has proven to be less balanced than we had hoped. Not only have some downside risks that the WEO identified been realised, the likelihood of further negative shock to our growth forecast has risen.
“In several key economies moreover, growth is being supported by policies that seem unsustainable over the longer term. These concerns raise the urgency for policymakers to act”.
According to him, the report showed that the negative revisions for emerging markets and developing economies would be more severe, at minus 0.2 and 0.4, respectively.
On growth potential of the African continent, Obstfeld said that growth was being held down by Africa’s three largest economies of Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
He clarified: “The aggregate (for Africa) over 3 percent this year, close to 4 percent next year- is despite the largest economies in the continent doing poorly.
“The continent could do better once these economies are on a more solid footing, particularly South Africa and Nigeria because they are really large and affect a number of countries in their neighbourhoods”, the IMF researcher added.