INTEREST RATE HIKES ISSUE FOR PRIVATE SECTOR- OKONJO-IWEALA
Nigeria's sharp recent interest rate hikes will make it harder for the private sector to access affordable credit from banks, which is needed to drive growth in sub-Saharan Africa's second-largest economy, the finance minister said on Thursday.
Coordinator of the Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said interest rates needed to be balanced carefully to support private sector growth but still keep inflation under control.
Nigeria's central bank has raised interest rates six times this year to curb inflation and support the local naira currency. 'What we are focusing on is how this banking sector can now work with the real sector and really spur development … (we need) credit for most of our private sector at reasonable and affordable rates of interest,' Okonjo-Iweala said at an industry conference in the capital Abuja.