Fri. Jun 9th, 2023
  • Debt servicing expenses surpassed income in 2022
  • Complex currency policies make investing locally challenging
  • Foreign direct investment slid 79% because from 2014-2022 – NBS
  • Oil production hit 3-decade low, remains below stress

LAGOS, Could 26 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s incoming President Bola Tinubu will inherit anaemic financial development, record debt and shrinking oil output, but just before he can begin fixing these pressing troubles he will need to have to safe public assistance for painful choices.

Life is challenging for citizens of Africa’s greatest economy, and a tangle of protectionist financial policies and foreign currency interventions have spooked investors.

An try by Nigeria to decrease hugely highly-priced fuel subsidies a decade ago met with mass public protests and had to be dropped.

Tinubu, a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, helped propel the outgoing president to energy in 2015.

Now, companies, international investors and citizens are hoping he can use his encounter as governor of Lagos state to recharge Nigeria’s struggling economy and ultimately confront its most tough challenges.

IN DEBT, IN Problems

Nigeria’s debt has ballooned by practically 60% because 2015, hitting $103 billion final year, according to the Debt Management Workplace. Its development is outstripping GDP expansion, and the government has warned that when off-book loans from the central bank are added to the tally, it could hit 77 trillion naira ($167 billion).

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Although Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio is a modest 23.two%, compared with 60% in fellow oil producer Angola, authorities say the portion of income necessary to service the debt is alarming.

In January, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Nigeria, citing these figures. According to some calculations, debt servicing expenses surpassed income final year.

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Gregory Smith, emerging markets fund manager with M&ampG Investments mentioned Nigeria’s “shockingly low levels of government income” also raised concerns about its potential to invest to enhance development.

“The debt pressures are symptomatic of that lack of government income,” Smith mentioned.

Escalating tax collection, Smith mentioned, would be crucial for Tinubu.


Some of the income troubles stem from rampant, industrial-scale theft that final year pressed oil output to its lowest in a lot more than 30 years. Oil and gas generally fund half of Nigeria’s spending budget and 90% of its foreign exchange. Continued theft, underinvestment and industrial disputes, hinder output.

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On best of this, crippling fuel subsidies drain what is left from oil sales. Fitch Ratings estimates that the implicit petrol subsidy has expense the government around two.four% of GDP in foregone income. Specialists say taming the subsidy, and boosting oil output, are crucial.

“The industry seems fairly myopic in focusing on these two points in distinct: the FX policy and the removal of fuel subsidies in addition to broader transform at the CBN,” mentioned Yvette Babb of fund manager William Blair.

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Buhari’s government produced a difficult internet of official and parallel exchange prices in an work to assistance the embattled naira. It also produced a extended list of products banned from employing central bank foreign exchange.

Companies say resulting widespread dollar shortages are crushing, whilst investors say the difficulty in receiving cash out of the nation has strangled investment.

Smith and Babb mentioned naira bonds, and investing locally, are practically not possible as a outcome.

“The principal factor is troubles with becoming in a position to exit the industry even if you felt like you could make a return,” Smith mentioned.

Government information showed that foreign direct investment dropped from $two.two billion in 2014, the year just before Buhari took workplace, to $468 million final year.

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Modifications ARE Difficult SELL

Receiving Nigerians to stomach painful reforms hinges on convincing them that they will make life much better – and that will be a challenging sell.

Inflation is at a practically two-decade higher, consuming into savings and salaries. Unemployment is at a record 33%, prompting a punishing brain drain. Furthermore, Tinubu’s eight.79 million votes are the fewest won by a Nigerian president because the nation returned to democracy in 1999, limiting his goodwill.

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“He may perhaps need to have to demonstrate what he can provide for the Nigerian men and women just before he can take one thing away that is clearly decreasing the expense of living for a substantial share of the population,” Babb mentioned of fuel subsidies. Enabling the naira to weaken, she added, also “comes at a expense.”

($1 = 460.0000 naira)

Editing by Toby Chopra

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

By Editor

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