Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, looking at the resilience and determination of President Muhammadu Buhari, believes Nigeria might not need any loan or negotiation to stabilize the economy going through the global oil shock.
“Let me be very clear: I’m not here nor is my team here to negotiate a loan with conditionalities, we’re not programming negotiations,” Lagarde told reporters Tuesday after she and her team arrived Nigeria for a four-day visit.
She already had a meeting with Buhari, and will be holding more talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria governor and leaders of the business community.
The Bretton Wood institution leader described the initial talks as excellent, touching on the challenges ahead, which stemmed from the oil price reduction, and the need to find different revenue sources.
They also discussed the need to apply fiscal discipline and the need to respond to the population’s needs, improving the competitiveness of Nigeria and focusing on the short-term fiscal situation.
“They were very ambitious goals that need to be delivered upon,” she said.
Since the oil market hit the bottom, Nigeria has been experiencing some downward-spiraling in its revenues, already resulting in liquidity problems, a challenge the seven-month-old Buhari’s government now faces.
The president is tackling corruption as a priority, though he has made resuscitating the economy another urgent task he has to accomplish, especially with his N6.08 trillion budget proposal for 2016.
Lagarde wouldn’t approve or comment on the budget. It’s not her call to make. But she said the IMF would undertake a review and audit from next week to really assess whether the financing is in place.
“We look whether the debt is sustainable, borrowing costs are sensible and what must be put in place in order to address the challenges going forward,” she said.