Nigeria rejects IMF loan, seeks $2.3bn credit from World Bank, China – Adeosun

By The Citizen

Finance minister, Kemi  Adeosun  says Nigeria will not apply for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan as it is pursuing its own economic reform plan.

'For us the IMF is really a lender of last resort when you have balance of payments problem. Nigeria doesn't have balance of payments problems per se, it has a fiscal problem,' Adeosun told CNBC in an interview aired today.

'We are already doing as much reform as any IMF programme would impose on Nigeria,' she said.

'Nigerians want to take responsibility for their future. We must have our home-grown, home-designed programme of reform.'

Adeosun said non-oil revenues were improving while the government was fine-tuning an economic reform plan needed to support an application for a loan of at least $1 billion from the World Bank.

Adeosun also said Nigeria had been offered by China’s state Export-Import Bank (Exim) a $1.3 billion loan to fund railway projects.

Nigeria will also present a reform proposal to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to release a second loan tranche worth $400 million, officials have said.

The bank had paid out a first tranche of $600 million but has held back the rest pending reforms. Its president has criticized hard currency curbs hitting investment.

'Non-oil revenue is improving very steadily. All the measures we have put in place are beginning to yield fruits,' she said, without giving numbers.

'Oil production is back up, we are very grateful for that, but we should be careful for getting excited about that.'

Diplomats and officials have told Reuters the Nigeria, Africa's leading crude producer, which relies on oil revenues for most of its income, plans to finalise its proposal to the World Bank this month.

The country needs to plug a gap in its record 7.3 trillion naira ($23.17 billion) 2017 budget, which contains a number of measures aimed at stimulating the economy.

It had initially promised to submit an economic plan to the World Bank by the end of December but did not meet the deadline.

Nigeria will also present its economic proposal to the African Development Bank to help release a second loan tranche worth $400 million to support the budget, officials have said.

Sharp falls in the price of crude oil, its main export, last year  tipped Nigeria's economy into its first recession for 25 years and hammered the naira, prompting speculation it might need IMF funding to cover a growing budget deficit.