New Telegraph

IMF: Nigeria capable of repaying loan obligations

…seeks adoption of robust tax system

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), has rekindled hope in Nigeria’s capacity to pay back debts owed it and other  creditors.

The Fund, which described Nigeria as a trustworthy ally, advised the Federal Government on the importance of having buffers in period of surplus.

 

At the breakout of COVID-19 in 2020, IMF executive board approved $3.4 billion as an emergency support facility for Nigeria to address the outcome of the pandemic on the economy.

 

The facility, which came under rapid financing instrument, was the authorities’ efforts in addressing the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 shock and the  Back home, the Nigerian government was fiercely criticised for pilling up debts from domestic and foreign sources.

 

Speaking on this and other economic challenges facing the country, over the weekend, IMF Resident RepresentativeinNigeria, Mr. Ari Aisen, advised Nigeria and other countries in African sub-region to cultivate the habit of creating buffers in good times in order to tackle emerging challenges in future. Aisen was amongst panelistsassembledovertheweekend by Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) to provide perspective on critical challenges confronting Nigeria’s economy ahead of 2023 general elections.

 

He said as a responsible organisation fulfilling the purpose of its creation, IMF was handy and supportive to African countries in times of challenges as witnessed during the pandemic. “When you face a shock, youneedsomeonetolendyou a hand. Of course, you will be paying your debt.

 

There is no doubt that Nigeria with a big economy will be able to repay its debt and will pay all its creditors. “I think it’s very important thatwekeepthatinmindotherwise without these financing, adjusting to challenges will be too painful. You will notbeabletopaysalaries, you accumulate arrears, you will not be able to face emergency if you have not accumulated the right buffers in the good time.

 

“It’s important for Nigeria to have development partners that they can even provide financing in terms of need. There should not be any pride in requesting for assistance in and out of emergency basis. “Of course, the right economic policy should be developed.

 

“In IMF, we advise people to develop capacity. Our member countries should be able to develop buffers. “The facility IMF gave Nigeria at the time of COVID-19 was to help in buying oxygen mask, stocking hospitals with vital equipment to face the pandemic,” Aisen said.

 

Heespousedconfidencein Nigeria’s ability to repay her loan obligations given the size of her economy. The IMF Country Representative called for adoption of robust tax system in Nigeria. He said given that Nigeria’s main commodity, oil, isn’t reliable and stable, the best alternative remains tax income. “On the question of tax, we need a tax system that is progressive.

 

There’s funds to finance public good. In Nigeria, there’s a lot of funds to finance public good; in health, education, nutrition, security, policing. “There are many things to be financed with funds,” he added. Hesaidthereshouldberobust tax policy to make sure that tax payers have an easy way to making payments

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