• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Budget office: IMF’s economic projections for Nigeria incorrect

Fact check: IMF 44% Nigeria inflation projection is worst-case scenario

Ben Akabueze, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, asserted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has consistently erred in projecting Nigeria’s economy over the last four years.

He stated this on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, emphasising, “In the last four years, the IMF has gotten it wrong about our projections. Our actual growth has always beat their projections.”

Akabueze specifically addressed the economic forecasts under President Bola Tinubu’s administration for 2024. On November 29, 2023, President Tinubu presented the inaugural budget estimate of N27.5 trillion for 2024 to the National Assembly (NASS), projecting 3.76 percent economic growth and an anticipated moderation of inflation to 21.4 percent in 2024.

“The budget deficit is projected at 18 trillion naira in 2024, or 3.88 percent of GDP (gross domestic product),” the president added.

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The president’s forecast stood in contrast and was labelled as “ambitious” compared to the IMF’s earlier prediction in October. The IMF, based in Washington, had foreseen the country’s economy growing at 3.1 percent in 2024.

Nonetheless, the Budget Office chief remarked that the IMF’s projections “do not represent the holy grail of economic growth.” He added, “They can’t get it right better than the people who have direct responsibility for managing their individual economies.”

Akabueze mentioned that the growth rate anticipated in the Tinubu government’s initial budget “doesn’t even yet reflect the ambition of the government.” He added that the current administration “aims to double the GDP before the first term ends.”

Regarding the 2024 budget estimates pending approval at the National Assembly, he remarked that they were “way too small” for Nigeria’s needs, but the government had to manage within its means.

The Director-General of the Budget Office emphasised that despite criticisms against the 2024 budget estimates, the appropriation bill prioritises the welfare of the underprivileged, addressing healthcare, security, education, and the economy.