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Standard & Poors affirms Nigeria Sovereign rating at BB-

By The Citizen

International credit rating agency, Standard & Poors, has affirmed Nigeria Sovereign rating at BB- with stable outlook. The affirmation is coming when the agency is downgrading other sovereigns like the United States, due to the current global economic difficulties.

The outcome of the rating assessment was disclosed by Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, at a press briefing, at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Annual meetings in Washington DC.

The rating agency, while acknowledging the challenges facing Nigeria, said the economy remains robust with macroeconomic indicators remaining strong.

The finance minister attributed the favourable rating to the current fiscal stance of the Federal Government, adding that this is one more external validation of the economy.

On the Fiscal side, S$P says Nigeria's GDP growth remains strong in 2013 through 2016, buoyed by non- oil sector growth.

According to the rating agency, Nigeria's debt stock remains relatively low, while foreign reserves remain strong.

The agency also views the economy positively in the light of the redeemed N1.7 trillion Non-Performing Loans purchased by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) which will be finally written off its books.

S$P equally views non-oil Sector development especially growth in agriculture, retail, telecoms and power as positive.

Also at the briefing, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the S$P's assessment of the Nigerian economy aligns with the difficult global economic environment which has seen countries like the United States being downgraded.

The governor further stated that in today's global economy, there is limited pool of investable capital and huge competition among countries to attract such funds, and that going by this rating, Nigeria would be favorably disposed for such investment decisions.