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IMF to review growth forecast as Nigeria “surprisingly” exit from recession

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to revise higher its growth forecast for Nigeria, Reuters reported.

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IMF Mission Chief to Nigeria, Jesmin Rahman, on Tuesday, said the country’s surprise exit from recession in the fourth quarter would aid its economic outlook for the coming year.

“It wasn’t as bad as we expected,” Rahman said of the country’s 2020 recession.

Rahman did not put a figure on the 2021 growth overall but said the medium-term growth rate could return to 2.5 percent.

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The IMF previously projected 1.5 percent growth for 2021.

The IMF had in January projected that the Nigerian economy would grow by 1.5 percent this year, slightly lower than the 1.7 percent it had predicted for the country in its previous forecast.

IMF had also expected oil prices to average above $50 per barrel in 2021, a more than 21 percent rise from 2020’s depressed level on the back of the rollout of vaccines and fiscal stimulus programmes.

But in February, Nigeria exited the recession after the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a marginal 0.11 percent in Q4 2020.

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The figures are contained in the GDP growth report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

With several headwinds, however, the growth remains fragile. Overall, the country’s economy recorded -1.92 percent.

The country slumped into recession, the second in five years, in the third quarter of 2020 with 3.62 percent negative growth.

With only two-quarters of negative growth, the last recession was the shortest experienced by the country’s modern economy. The 2016/2017 recession lasted for five quarters.

Economists had expressed worry that the expected growth would face enormous macro stability challenges.

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IMF stated that the updated version of the report was reviewed in line with the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus, which poses a concern for global recovery.


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