From Isaac AnumiheAbuja
International The Monetary Fund (IMF) said rising food insecurity and poverty remained a challenge to Nigeria’s economic growth rate.
This is contained in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released recently by the fund.
In the report, low immunization rates and high debt service are some of the downsides to Nigeria’s economic recovery.
“Despite the proactive approach of the authorities (in Nigeria) to contain COVID-19 infection rates and the recent improvement in growth, socio-economic conditions remain a challenge. Food insecurity levels have increased and the poverty rate is estimated to have increased during the pandemic.
“The outlook faces balanced risks. In contrast, low immunization rates expose Nigeria to future pandemic waves and new variants, including the ongoing Omicron variant, while higher debt service to government revenue (through higher US interest rates and/or increased borrowing) poses risks to fiscal sustainability. Worsening violence and insecurity could also derail the recovery,” the report said.
However, on the positive side, the IMF believes that the non-oil sector and the Dangote refinery could change the narrative.
“On the upside, the non-oil sector could be stronger, benefiting from its recent growth momentum, favorable credit policies and higher output from the new Dangote refinery. Nigeria’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could also provide a positive boost to the non-oil sector while oil production could rebound, supported by the more generous terms of the Oil and Gas Act. Petroleum Industry (PIA),” he explained.