Again, IMF raises concerns about Nigeria, says IDPs rising in number

After declaring that the debt to GDP ratio of the country was becoming too risky, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, on Friday said it was concerned with the rising number of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the country.

The IMF said this on Friday in Washington DC in its latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa report presented by Director of the IMF’s African Department, Mr Abebe Selassie.

The IMF further said that the current number is five times higher than what it was 20 years ago.

The report also showed that IDPs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo stands at 4.4 million people, South Sudan 1.9 million and Nigeria 1.7 million.

Speaking further, Selassie said that economic growth in the Sub-Saharan region was expected to increase from three per cent in 2018 to 3.5 per cent in 2019.

“Some 21 countries, mainly the region’s more diversified economies, are expected to grow at more than five per cent and see income per capita rise faster than the rest of the world on average over the medium term.

“However, the remaining countries, comprising mostly resource intensive countries, including the largest, Nigeria and South Africa, are expected to see slower improvements in standards of living.

“Overall, sub-Saharan African countries need to strike a delicate policy balance between containing public debt levels, investing in human and physical capital and raising revenue.

“This calls for urgent action on the fiscal front to improve tax revenue collection, public financial management and spending efficiency.

“On the trade front, countries should reduce non-tariff barriers and deepen intra-trade integration including in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” Selassie said.

According to the report, growth in Nigeria was 1.9 per cent in 2018 and is expected to reach 2.1 per cent in 2019, driven by recovering oil production and a pickup in the non-oil economy in the aftermath of the election.

N5.5bn withdrawn from stock market by foreign investors in February, NSE

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has revealed that a total of N5.5 billion was recorded as foreign outflows from the stock market for the month of February.

This was contained in its latest foreign portfolio investment report published on its website on Friday.

It stated that the figure increased by 97.8 per cent from N27.81bn in January 2019 while foreign inflows increased by 91.24 per cent from N22.97bn to N43.93bn between January and February.

FG mulls diversifying stock market instruments

The Federal Government is considering diversifying instruments of of the nation’s stock market through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while speaking at the maiden Awards Night of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The minister, who restated Federal Government commitment to building a vibrant capital market that would contribute to the growth and development of the country, said the ERGP policy objectives for the financial sector aimed to further diversify instruments of the stock market, review the capitalisation of the financial institutions and encourage lending to the real sector of the economy similar to the Capital Market Master Plan.

Ahmed also noted that the capital market played a central role in the development of the economy through the mobilisation of long-term savings for investment, as well as efficient pricing of financial instruments.

She said: “The government is making a lot of efforts to diversify the economy, raise revenue and block leakages; efforts are also being made to ensure the mobilisation of resources that will aid investment in small and medium enterprises and provide infrastructure.

“The main thrust of the Capital Market Master Plan aligns with the vision of the ERGP for the financial services sector. When the ERGP was being prepared, copious references were made to the 10-year master plan.

Speaking further, the minister bsaid that the ERGP vision for the financial services sector was to strengthen relevant market institutions and mitigate risk by building a healthy and competitive financial system, which would be better positioned to support the private sector and contribute towards the sustainable development of the economy.

She also insisted that the strengthening of the capital market is necessary for the government to be able to create jobs, wealth and increase the standard of living of the people.

She said: “The capital market is central to all of these efforts. As the ERGP recognises the power of the capital market to drive its own forms, the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council has proven to be an embodiment of recognition.”