IMF Says Will Send Mission To Argentina In Early October

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


The International Monetary Fund announced Thursday it will carry out a mission in early October on Argentina’s debt restructuring, after talks on a new accord resumed last month.

“The IMF staff team is currently working on plans to hold what we call a staff visit to Argentina, starting in early October,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice,

He called it a “milestone” but added it remained unclear whether the mission would be in-person or virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It will take time,” Rice said. “There is no fixed deadline to reach a conclusion.”

Argentina froze relations with the Washington-based crisis lender in 2006 after having paid back the bulk of its debt, but in 2018 former President Mauricio Macri reached Buenos Aires’s biggest-ever deal with the IMF.

After assuming the presidency last December, Macri’s successor as President Alberto Fernandez put repayments on hold and renounced outstanding tranches of the bailout, saying Argentina already had enough debt.

In August, Fernandez’s government reached a deal with three major creditor groups to restructure a $66 billion debt after months of strained negotiations and missed deadlines.

That agreement was a key step in allowing Argentina to negotiate a new agreement with the IMF.


Coronavirus Could Weaken Africa’s Response To Climate Change – IMF  

A sign of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) hosting the 50th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is seen at the entrance of the headquarters, on August 2, 2019, in Geneva. PHOTO: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday warned that coronavirus could further weaken sub-Saharan Africa’s ability to adapt to climate change, as measures to contain the pandemic stretch limited resources.

A recent study on the impact of rising temperatures and extreme weather events on growth suggests sub-Saharan Africa — the region most vulnerable to climate change — will be hit 60 percent harder than the average for other emerging markets and developing economies.

Details of the analysis show that economic activity in the region can shrink by one percent in a month when that month’s average temperature is 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average.

The IMF, which released the study on Thursday, called on policymakers not to sideline responses to climate change in dealing with coronavirus.

“Containing and managing the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on already limited fiscal space and raising debt vulnerabilities in sub-Saharan Africa,” said the report, adding that coronavirus funding could also be used to “simultaneously address climate change”.

The IMF pointed to “intrinsic links” between viral outbreaks, environmental destruction and man-made pollution that weakens humans’ immune systems.

“Adaptation to climate change would also benefit other development areas, such as resilience to pandemics, and ultimately boost growth,” it added.

According to the report, adapting to climate change would cost sub-Saharan Africa between $30 and $50 billion (26.6-44.4 billion euros) per year for the next decade — the equivalent of around two to three percent of the region’s GDP.

The Fund said international support would be “paramount” but also noted that pre-emptive adaptation measures remained less costly than post-disaster relief.

Sub-Saharan Africa has so far lagged behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, although the number of cases continues to rise steadily across the region.

The continent has recorded more than 163,000 infections and at least 4,600 fatalities to date, according to an AFP tally.

But experts believe those figures could be underestimated due to inadequate testing.

There are also fears poor sanitation and weak healthcare systems could hamper any response to the full-blown outbreak.


IMF Loans Equatorial Guinea $280m Despite Controversy

The International Monetary Fund, is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.


The International Monetary Fund has extended a 280-million-dollar loan to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, despite protests by rights monitors who cited sweeping misrule and corruption in the central African country.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam had opposed the loan until the government of the country, ruled with an iron fist by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema for four decades, cleaned up its act.

“The arrangement is intended to support the authorities’ three-year economic program, which aims at further reducing macroeconomic imbalances and addressing financial sector vulnerabilities; improving social protection and human capital development; promoting economic diversification; and fostering good governance, increasing transparency and fighting corruption,” an IMF statement said Thursday.

About $40.4 million of the total will be disbursed immediately and the remainder over a three-year period, the Washington-based lender said.

IMF deputy managing director Tao Zhang said: “In recent years, the Equatoguinean economy has been impacted by a sharp decline in oil prices and a secular decline in hydrocarbon output, which led to large macroeconomic imbalances and negative economic growth.

“The economy has also been affected by longstanding governance and corruption problems.

“While the authorities have taken steps to address these challenges, a more comprehensive approach is needed to tackle them effectively and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth,” Tao said.

“The IMF loan should force Equatorial Guinea to undertake deep reforms in the way the country exploits its natural resources,” said Sarah Saadoun, a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“A slew of international lawsuits for corruption have been filed against the son of the president, who holds the post of vice-president”, added Tutu Alicante, the head of a local NGO called EG Justice.

Vice President Teodorin Obiang Nguema is notorious for his free-spending lifestyle and his multi-million-dollar mansions strewn across the world in some of the world’s most expensive areas.

Rights groups accuse President Obiang of ruthlessly clamping down on the opposition and institutional corruption.

Despite its oil wealth, the vast majority of the population live in dire poverty.



Mozambique Economy Set To Bounce Back In 2020 – IMF


Mozambique’s economy is on track for a “strong rebound” in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, as it urged the government to ensure an expected gas boom benefits all citizens.

The southern African country has sought to become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas since vast offshore reserves were found in 2010.

But low gas prices, combined with a government debt scandal in 2016, delayed exploitation and triggered a prolonged economic downturn.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to an average 3.7 percent between 2016 and 2018 — the lowest since 2000.

“The outlook for 2020 is for a strong rebound in economic activity and low inflation,” said IMF Mozambique mission chief Ricardo Velloso after a seven-day mission in the country.

Real GDP growth is projected to reach 5.5 percent next year, up from the 2.1 percent now expected for 2019.

The boost is mainly supported by “post-cyclones reconstruction efforts”, agricultural recovery and the easing of monetary conditions, added Velloso in a statement.

Two tropical cyclones smashed into northern Mozambique in March and April this year, killing more than 600 people and devastating the region.

The IMF provided financial assistance after the storms.

Velloso said “stronger institutions” would be needed to ensure gas revenues trickled down to “the lives of the Mozambican people, playing a significant role in sustainable development and poverty reduction”.

He added that investments in liquefied natural gas projects should boost “construction and other activities”.

Major revenues from gas exports are not expected before 2023.

The government’s inability to stem a wave of attacks by a shadowy jihadist organisation operating in the gas field region has also been a brake on development.

Donors — including the IMF and the World Bank — suspended aid to Mozambique in 2016 after the government admitted it had secretly borrowed $2.2 billion which was spent on civil and military ships.

The scandal plunged the aid-dependant country into the worst financial crisis in its history.

Debt soared to 112 percent of GDP in 2017, forcing Mozambique to suspend its repayments and arousing distrust among investors.

The IMF said the government’s ability to secure additional support from international private creditors remained “critical for public debt sustainability”.

Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 180 out of 189 in the United Nations’ latest human development index.


IMF Releases World Economic Outlook

IMF Attributes Nigeria’s Inflation To Forex ChallengesThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the global economic growth noticed since 2016 is likely to continue in 2017 and 2018.

The IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research, Maurice Obstfeld, said this on Tuesday at an event to flag-off the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington D.C.

For Sub-Saharan Africa, the economic growth outlook by the IMF is seen coming behind the rate of population increase on the continent.

Mr Obstfeld noted that it requires contribution from both advanced and emerging countries around the world to sustain economic growth.

He added that the projected 3.5 per cent for 2017 and 3.6 per cent for 2018 are subjected to a number of challenges in key economies like the United States and China.

The economist called for united multi-lateral actions to address issues of nationalism, so as to protect foreign workers and improve trade.

World Bank Spring Meetings: Channels TV Attending

Washington, the United States Capital will this week, play host to thousands of government officials from over 170 countries.

Also in attendance, would be top officials of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Civil Society Groups, as well as participants from the academia and private sectors, for the 2017 annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

The meetings which would include series of seminars, is expected to focus on the global economy, international development and the world’s financial markets.

Channels television will also be on ground to bring you daily highlights of the meetings.

IMF Asks Nigeria To Hasten Economic Reform

IMF Asks Nigeria To Hasten Economic ReformsThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday released a document, asking the Federal Government to speed up its economic reform to spur growth.

The latest report hits a more critical tone than the statement released last week, which outlines a raft of failings in the government’s handling of Nigeria’s economy.

The IMF asked the Federal Government to implement immediate changes to its Foreign Exchange Policy, or risk a disorderly exchange rate.

The Washington-based fund’s advice came the same day that President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Economic Recovery Growth Plan in Abuja.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had explained that the launch was in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.

“The Medium-Term ERGP, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has amongst its broad strategic objectives: restoring sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; investing in the people; and building a globally competitive economy”, the statement said.

President Buhari To Launch ERGP 2017-2020

Buhari Extends Return To NigeriaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will formally launch the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, April 5.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, revealed that the ceremony will take place at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The statement explained that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.

“The Medium-Term ERGP, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has amongst its broad strategic objectives: restoring sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; investing in the people; and building a globally competitive economy”.

The ERGP, which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development, was made public on March 7, while President Buhari was on his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, had said the ceremonial presentation will take place when the President returns from his vacation.

FG Releases Economic Recovery Plan

FG Releases Economic Recovery Plan (ERGP)The Federal Government has released the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development.

This was according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James.

According to the statement, the development of the plan went through a rigorous process including wide consultation and robust engagements with stakeholders from a range of relevant fields.

They include: economic experts from the public and private sectors, academia, the Organised Private Sector, Civil Society groups, Organised Labour, sub-regional governments, International Development Partners (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly.

The statement hinted that the Plan has been approved by the Federal Executive Council, adding that its ceremonial presentation would take place when President Muhammadu Buhari returns from vacation.

Achieving Structural Economic Change

The statement read: “The core vision of the Plan is one of sustained inclusive growth. There is an urgent need as a nation to drive structural economic transformation with an emphasis on improving both public and private sector efficiency.

“The aim is to increase national productivity and achieve sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy and achieve maximum welfare for the citizens, beginning with food and energy security.

“The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy. Overall, the Plan is expected to deliver on Five key broad outcomes namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.

“Realising that the country’s economy would remain on a path of decline if nothing was immediately done to change the trajectory, the present administration, when it assumed office, embarked on strategic moves to halt the trend and redirect the course of the country’s economy and growth process.

A Knowledge-Based Economy

“The process started with the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget of Change as a short-term intervention. The ERGP, a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, builds on the SIP and has been developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.

“The Plan seeks to eliminate the bottlenecks that impede innovations and market based solutions, recognises the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy, and is consistent with the aspirations of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The ERGP differs in several ways from previous strategies and plans as it:

  • is anchored on focused implementation which is at the core of the delivery strategy over the next four years;
  • outlines bold initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatising selected public enterprises/assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent by 2018;
  • builds on existing sectoral plans such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master-plan;
  • signals a changing relationship between the public and private sector based on close partnership.
  • utilises the value of the merger of budget and planning functions into one Ministry to create a better and stronger link between annual budgets and the ERGP; and
  • provides for strong coordination with the States to ensure that the Federal and sub-regional governments work towards the same goals.

Vision Of Inclusive Growth

“The thinking behind the development of the Plan was driven by several fundamental principles, including a focus on tackling constraints to growth; leveraging the power of the private sector and promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, as well as allowing markets to function.

“The Plan has three broad strategic objectives which are expected to help achieve the vision of inclusive growth: restoring growth, investing in the people, and building a globally competitive economy.

“The ERGP focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification by undertaking fiscal stimulus, ensuring monetary stability and improving the external balance of trade.

“The delivery mechanism has been identified as a major determining factor in the successful implementation of the Plan. The implementation strategy therefore focuses on prioritising the identified strategies, establishing a clear system of accountability for well-defined assignment of responsibilities, setting targets and developing detailed action plans, allocating resources to prioritised interventions, creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment, developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, and using effective communication strategies”.

French Court Convicts IMF Chief, Christine Lagarde 

French Court Convicts IMF Chief, Christine Lagarde A French court has found International Monetary Fund Chief, Christine Lagarde, guilty of negligence in approving a massive payout of taxpayers’ money to controversial French businessman, Bernard Tapie.

In 2008, as French Finance Minister, she approved an award of 404 million Euros to Mr Tapie for the disputed sale of a firm.

The French court convicted the head of the International Monetary Fund and former government minister, who had faced a 15,000 Euros fine and up to a year in jail.

The court, however, decided Lagarde should not be punished and that the conviction would not constitute a criminal record.

Accused of allowing the misuse of public funds, rather than actual corruption, she could potentially have been sentenced to a year in prison.

The IMF in a statement says it will meet to consider the latest developments in France.

Senate Confident Of Reviving Nigeria’s Economy

Senate President, Budget reformThe Nigerian Senate says it is focused on fixing the nation’s economy that is in recession by opening up new sectors through legislative interventions.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, gave the indication on Wednesday.

He says the legislative interventions will create jobs.

“With the Senate’s priority bills, private sector participation in railways, road construction and other transport infrastructure that will stimulate job creation will become a reality,” a tweet on his Twitter handle read.

Dr. Saraki’s comment is coming at a time that the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, is to investigate if the concession of assets of the Nigeria Railways Corporation to General Electric violates the county’s privatisation laws.

In a motion considered during Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers queried what they described as an attempt by the Federal Executive Council to concession the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines, to General Electric, without recourse to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and privatisation regulations.

The move to investigate the concession agreement with GE came after a motion raised by Hounorable Chukwuemeka Ujam.

Any law that can help reflate the oil-rich nation’s economy will be a welcomed development to many Nigerians, as the effect of the recession is hitting hard on the nation’s currency, the Naira.

The Naira is losing value to the dollar, with an exchange rate of over 450 Naira to a dollar in the parallel market.

The economic recession was officially declared in a report of the National Bureau of Statistics that showed that the Gross Domestic Product contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter.

Hope of a rebound in the economy was, however, reignited by the International Monetary Fund  (IMF) in its report affirmed Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook for October 2016, puts South Africa’s GDP at 280.36 billion Dollars, from 314.73 billion Dollars in 2015.

Meanwhile, latest estimates from the IMF put Nigeria’s GDP at 415.08 billion Dollars, from 493.83 billion Dollars at the end of 2015.

Nigerian Governors Pledge Support For FG’s Plan To Revive Economy

Nigerian GovernorsNigerian governors have pledged to work with the federal government, especially in the area of agriculture to reverse the effects of the current economic recession.

This is part of the outcome of a meeting of the governors in the council chambers at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo presiding.

The Council in its last meeting on September 22 approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategies to pull the economy out of recession.

At the meeting, ministers and governors also debriefed the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma as well as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the strategies to take the country out of the woods.

The governors who blamed the dwindling power supply in the country on gas pipeline vandalism, also commended the federal government on the plan to diversify energy sources through wind, and solar.

Economic Recession 

The oil-rich nation’s economy officially slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016, with a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showing that the economy contracted by 2.06% in that quarter.

The Naira had become weak, exchanging for over 480 Naira to a dollar in the parallel market.

Despite the recession, a report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  has affirmed Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa.

Nigeria was reported to have lost its spot as Africa’s biggest economy to South Africa in August 2016, following the recalculation of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

But the IMF’s World Economic Outlook for October 2016, puts South Africa’s GDP at 280.36 billion Dollars, from 314.73 billion Dollars in 2015.

Meanwhile, latest estimates from the IMF put Nigeria’s GDP at 415.08 billion Dollars, from 493.83 billion Dollars at the end of 2015.