By Modupe Gbadeyanka
In 2018, the Nigerian economy will grow by 1.9 percent, higher than the 0.8 percent growth recorded in 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, November 08, 2018, Senior Resident Representative of IMF for Nigeria, Mr Amine Mati, explained that the rise will be buoyed by some pick-up in the non-oil economy.
During his presentation of the Fall 2018 Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Mati said further that average growth for the sub-Saharan Africa will hit 3.1 percent in 2018 from 2.7 percent in 2017.
“The recovery is expected to contribute about 0.7 percentage points to the region’s average growth in 2018 and lift activity in Nigeria’s trading partners through stronger remittances, financial spill overs and import demand,” the economic expert said.
According to him, recovery in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to continue amidst rising risks as growth momentum improved most notably for oil exporters, mainly in Nigeria, but remains subdued in South Africa, noting that as the magnitude of capital flows to the region increased, the volatility also increased.
However, Mr Mati warned that escalation of trade tensions could threaten the recovery, adding that if the tensions persist, it would have potential impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, public debt was diverting more resources toward interests payments, adding that for Nigeria, though debt to GDP was quite low, more than 50 per cent of revenue went into interest payments.
He said that increase in revenue was very important to bridge the gap to ensure that revenue to GDP was sufficient to pay up and service the debt profitably.
The IMF representative also said that meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs would require stronger growth and more financing.
He said that policies that would enhance creation of about 20 million new jobs yearly in the region to meet the demand was needed as meeting the SDGs by 2030 was dependent on that.
Mr Mati, however, said that job creation was complicated by uncertainty on the extent to which technology replaces labour.
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