Experts Advise Nigeria’s Reappraisal Of World Bank Group Engagement Over Slow Economic Growth

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Some financial experts have reportedly advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to reappraise engagement with the World Bank Group in the interest of the country’s economic growth.

The experts spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) against the backdrop of the ongoing Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) /World Bank in Washington DC, United States of America (USA).

They said that both institutions had not represented the interest of Africa in its past meetings.

A past President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Mr. Okechukwu Unegbu, suggested that Nigeria and Africa should look toward the African Development Bank (AfDB) for more functional economic development.

“I have lost confidence in the World Bank and IMF, because whatever economic measures they propose are usually negative for Africa but positive for Europe and America.

“The only time we can expect their intervention to be beneficial to Africa is if they are reorganised with a strong African presence at such reorganisation, ” Unegbu said.

He suggested that Nigeria and other African countries should look more toward the AfDB for development of the continent and the economies.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should stop participating in these meetings because their proposals have not benefited our economy.

“We should focus on strengthening the AfDB for a more functional development of Africa, ” he said.

According to Uche Uwaleke, a Professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, North-Central Nigeria, expectations from the current meeting are huge for Nigeria.

Uwaleke called for a robust discussion on the Nigerian debt situation and how to get some relief.

“This is against the backdrop of Russian-Ukrainian war and a fragmented world which is affecting global economic growth, climate change, inflation and huge sovereign debts.

“For Nigeria, in particular, the possibility of restructuring her public debt with both multilateral and bilateral creditors should take centre stage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the IMF has urged the CBN to continue to tighten monetary policy rates to rein in inflation.

The IMF Director of Research Department, Pierre-Oliver Gourinchas gave the prompt at the meeting, while releasing the World Economic Outlook (WEO) report.

Nigeria’s inflation had risen in February from 21.82 per cent to 21.91 in spite the hike in CBN’s Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 16.5 per cent to 17.5 per cent in January.

This informed further increase in the MPR to 18 per cent in the month of March.

The IMF also upgraded Nigeria’s growth prospects for 2024 to three per cent, an upgrade of 0.1 per cent from its last WEO released in January.

It said that the prospects for Nigeria’s growth were stable and retained its predictions for 2023 at 3.2 per cent.

Speaking on sub-Saharan Africa, Gourinchas said that inflation for the region was still high, but forecasted a gradual decline.

“This region is suffering from a strong funding squeeze.

“We already discussed some of the countries that are facing very innovative spreads, and a lot of them are already in the region.

“A lot of the challenges come from external factors that vary from the surge in energy and food prices as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the tension in energy markets are affecting the region.

“So we have a slow growth for the region overall to about 3.6 per cent in 2023 and 3.9 per cent in 2022,” he said.

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