Nigeria: Economic conditions have deteriorated since End SARS crisis – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the socio-economic conditions in Nigeria have worsened.

In the 2020 Article IV on Nigeria released on Monday, IMF recalled the End SARS mass protests against police brutality.

“Social discontent has widened since the beginning of the crisis with rising food inflation, elevated youth unemployment and high social
inequality.

“Headline inflation reached 14.2 percent in October 2020, a 30-month high, while the unemployment rate reached 27 percent in 2020Q2, with youth unemployment increasing to 41 percent”, the report said.

The Washington-based lender called for a fundamental policy reset for exiting this crisis.

Noting that several countries have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, IMF said what set Nigeria apart are its weak pre-crisis fundamentals that may cause lasting consequences for employment and living standards.

Nigeria’s economy is at a critical juncture, the report declared.

It said an economy that was already weakened by falling per capita income, double-digit inflation, limited buffers and significant governance vulnerabilities has been hit hard by COVID-19.

The IMF, however, noted that the authorities have undertaken commendable and timely measures to counter the pandemic’s impact on lives and livelihood.

Directors welcomed reforms undertaken in the fiscal sector, including removal of the fuel subsidy and steps to implement cost-reflective tariff increases in the power sector.

They stressed the need for significant revenue mobilization to reduce fiscal sustainability risks.

The report observed limited COVID-19 testing and warned of uncertainties regarding the extent of the health impact.

The IMF cited Nigeria’s efforts to get vaccines in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The institution raised concern that a plan is yet to be developed for purchase, distribution and administration of the vaccine.

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