President Bola Tinubu has garnered acclaim from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for implementing structural reforms that his predecessors, including ex-Presidents Buhari, Jonathan, and Obasanjo, avoided. The global financial institution predicts a three percent growth in Nigeria’s economy for 2024.
In a statement released on Friday, the IMF acknowledged Tinubu’s administration’s swift action in addressing deep-rooted issues, particularly applauding the removal of fuel subsidies and the unification of official exchange rates – policies previously evaded by past administrations.
Despite the positive outlook, the IMF admitted challenges, noting stalled per-capita growth, high poverty and food insecurity levels, and a pressing cost-of-living crisis. Limited fiscal space and low reserves further constrain the government’s options, according to the global lender.
While IMF lauds Tinubu’s structural reforms, Nigerians are grappling with increased hardship, notably seen in protests against economic difficulties in Niger, Kano, and Lagos States. Rising food prices, driven by economic inflation, have surged almost 100 percent in the nine months since Tinubu assumed office.
Responding to public outcry, President Tinubu directed the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of grain and vowed to transform Nigeria into a net exporter of food in Africa through aggressive mechanized agriculture.
IMF acknowledged Tinubu’s key reforms, including removing fuel subsidies, unifying foreign exchange windows, and appointing a Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee. The global lender also emphasized Nigeria’s challenging external environment, scarce external financing, and a surge in global food prices due to conflict and geo-economic fragmentation.
Highlighting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) monetary tightening efforts, the IMF urged further actions to achieve positive real interest rates. It emphasized the importance of revenue mobilization and digitalization to enhance public service delivery and fiscal sustainability.
The IMF report called for temporary and targeted support to vulnerable populations amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive reform agenda to secure a more favorable medium-term outlook for Nigeria’s economy.