Ari Aisen, the International Monetary Fund’s Resident Representative in Nigeria, believes that lower inflation and more predictable exchange rates will encourage more investment in the country.
On Tuesday, Aisen was a guest on Arise News Television’s Global Business Report broadcast. “If inflation can be reduced and the exchange rate becomes more predictable, then investments can begin to flow into Nigeria. There are some very promising signs for the country. The possibility has always existed and will continue to exist” he said.
The IMF envoy also emphasized the importance of the Federal Government implementing appropriate initiatives to lower the government’s financing needs. “It is critical that policies, particularly fiscal policy, are put in place to reduce the government’s financing needs,” he said.
He is of the opinion that the elimination of gasoline subsidies was a critical step because fuel subsidies cost 2% of GDP last year, contributing to the country’s finance needs and debt stock. He warned against any policy reversal, pointing out that the current transition is likely to be beneficial to the economy.
Aisen stated that Nigeria was in transition, which could cause some discomfort for the country. However, he emphasized the importance of protecting the poor and vulnerable from such agony. According to Aisen says, “investments will return to the country from abroad and locally. There is optimism, and job creation is a natural by product.”
The IMF delegate also stated that Nigeria’s total debt profile of over N87 trillion is within any country’s modest threshold, asking Nigerians to focus more on dealing with the issues underlying this massive debt predicament.