Finance minister says Nigeria’s economy could shrink -8.94% in worst case scenario
Nigeria’s economy could shrink as much as -8.94% in 2020 in a worst-case scenario without stimulus, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said on Thursday, a deeper recession than forecast after oil prices plunged due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms. Ahmed made the remark after the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
According to her, “The crisis will only multiply this misery,” she said. “The economic growth in Nigeria, that is the GDP, could in the worst case scenario, contract by as much as –8.94% in 2020″.
“In the best case, which is the case we are working on, it could be a contraction of –4.4%, if there is no fiscal stimulus. But with the fiscal stimulus plan that we are working on, this contraction can be mitigated and we might end up with a negative –0.59%.”
The pandemic and an oil price plunge have not only hit growth but also dented the state’s main source of income, creating large financing needs and weakening the naira.
“We will go into recession – but what we are trying to do is to make sure that it is shallow so that we will quickly come out of it, come 2021,” Ahmed told the council in a virtual meeting.
She said 40% of Nigerians were poor and the crisis would increase poverty.
A World Bank director taking part in the meeting said the Bank was planning a package for immediate fiscal relief for Nigeria.
Ahmed said the proposal was worth $1.5 billion and intended for Nigeria’s states to provide relief at sub-national level. She said it could be disbursed by September.
Nigeria’s first quarter revenue from crude sales was 940.9 billion naira ($2.6 bln), missing its target by 31% due to the oil price crash, she said.
Ahmed said Nigeria has $72.04 million in its oil savings account as of May 21, compared to $325 million in November.
The minister said that the president set up the Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee in addition to the COVID-19 Response Committee that had been set up, the COVID-19 PTF as well as the Crisis Management Committee.