The import substitution policies being driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government appear to be yielding results, as a country assessment report on Nigeria by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that a sharp decline in imports contributed to a modest recovery in Nigeria’s external current account balance in the first half of 2016.
Although the report showed that Nigeria’s exports declined by 14 per cent in the first half of 2016, it revealed that imports fell more than proportionately by 25 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.
Also, the foreign trade report released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the country’s total value of merchandise trade rose to N4.72 trillion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2016, representing an increase of 16.3 per cent, or N661.5 billion, compared to N4.06 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter of the year.
According to the NBS, the country’s balance of trade still remained negative despite the improvement, as the rise in exports in the quarter only helped to reduce the existing deficit trade balance from N484.23 billion in the preceding quarter to -N104.14 billion in the third quarter.
The IMF report, which detailed an assessment of Nigeria’s macroeconomic situation, was prepared for the African Development Bank (AfDB) by the Fund, as part of the conditions for the country to access the $1 billion budget support loan from AfDB.
The document, dated September 30, 2016, was made available by a presidency source yesterday.
The AfDB in November released the first tranche of the loan amounting to $600 million.
It was also gathered that the country is aggressively working towards securing an additional $2.5 billion budget support loan from the World Bank, just as it finalises plans for its $1 billion Eurobond issue for the first quarter of next year.
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