The International Monetary Fund, IMF, through its Managing Director Ms. Christine Lagarde has described as “excellent” the measures adopted by the incumbent administration in response to the revenue shocks engineered by the slump in oil prices.
Lagarde said both the monetary and fiscal policies were commendable, and urged the incoming administration headed by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari to build on the legacies.
The MD made this known after a closed-door meeting with a Federal Government team led by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and representatives of the incoming administration at the just-concluded IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington D.C.
Lagarde said the right measures had been put in place to manage the price shock.
“I will like to say that the economic policy that has been in place, especially in the last few months, has been really excellent, whether it is the fiscal tightening or the exchange rate depreciation, or general focus on keeping the economy afloat despite the major external shocks as a result of low oil prices.
“The right measures have been taken, the right policies have been put in place, and very clearly now, a lot of work should continue to be done by the next team.
She however indicated that the problems remained the same; the external shocks, prospects for oil prices remaining reasonably low and efforts to diversify the economy as has just been attempted by the current team should be continued for the benefit of Nigeria. IMF maintained.
Commenting on the outcome of the Presidential election, the IMF Chief said that contrary to the international community’s predictions, the smooth conduct of the country’s 2015 general polls proves that the countries democracy is worthy of emulation.
She also stated that the Breton Woods Institution is impressed with the way the change of political leadership is taking place.
“First of all, I will like to point out that the IMF has been most impressed with the way in which the change of political leadership is taking place in Nigeria.
“There were a lot of questions as to whether it (election) would be respectful, peaceful, and it was indeed. And I think it was a tribute to the quality of the team in place, tribute to the respect that people pay to each other, tribute to true democracy as exemplified by Nigeria.
“ I was deeply pleased today that we have the current team led by Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and representatives of the incoming administration, both attending the same meeting as an additional indication of that sense of responsibility and high respect for the democratic principles that have been at play,” she stated.
The outcome of the meeting between Lagarde and representatives of both the incumbent administration and the incoming one was not disclosed; however there are speculations that discussions may have been centred on how to ensure a smooth economic transition between both administrations.
The IMF stressed on the need for the incoming Government not only to sustain the incumbent administration’s measures to manage the oil price shock, but also to embark on a more aggressive diversification programme of the nation’s economy.
Other Federal Government officials with Okonjo-Iweala at the meeting were the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu; Director General, Debt Management Office DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Economic Policy, Dr. Sarah Alade, who represented the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
Among the incoming administration’s representatives were a former Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, and Abba Kyari.
During another forum earlier held on the sidelines of the spring meetings, Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke on “Nigeria Beyond Oil”, had described the presence of a delegation of the incoming administration led by a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Mr. Wale Edu, at the event as an indication of a move towards a smooth transition from the incumbent administration to the incoming one.