IMF Wrong On Nigeria’s Economic Projections – Budget Office

Ben Akabueze said projections by the Washington-based lender “do not represent the holy grail on economic growth”.


Budget Office DG, Ben Akabueze, on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday, December 6, 2023

 

The Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been wrong in its projections of the Nigerian economy in the last four years.

“In the last four years, IMF has got it wrong about our projections,” Akabueze said on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday. “Our actual growth have always beat their projections.”

 

 

Akabueze spoke on the economic projections of the President Bola Tinubu government for 2024.

On November 29, 2023, the President presented his maiden budget estimates of N27.5trn for the year 2024 to the National Assembly (NASS).

 

President Bola Tinubu presents the 2024 budget proposal in Abuja on November 29, 2023

 

According to the President, the economy is expected to grow by 3.76%, while “inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024”.

“Budget deficit is projected at 18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” the President had added.

The President’s projection was at variance and “ambitious” to the prediction of IMF earlier in October. The Washington-based lender had projected that the country’s economy would grow at 3.1% in 2024.

A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

However, the Budget Office boss said IMF’s projections “do not represent the holy grail on economic growth”, adding that the organisation “can’t get it right better than the people who have direct responsibility for managing their individual economies”.

 

In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

Akabueze said the growth rate projected by the Tinubu government in its maiden budget “doesn’t even yet reflect the ambition of the government”, adding that the incumbent administration “wants to double the GDP before the end of the first term”.

He said the 2024 budget estimates awaiting approval at the National Assembly was “way too small” to Nigeria’s need but the government had to cut its coat according to its cloth.

The Budget Office director general insisted that despite the criticisms against the 2024 budget estimates, the appropriation bill caters for the poor in terms of healthcare, security, education and the economy.