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Budget Office to IMF: Your Nigeria’s projections not ‘holy grail’ on economic growth

Mr. Ben Akabueze, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation

*Ben Akabueze, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, tackles the International Monetary Fund, says the global lender ‘has been wrong in its projections of the Nigerian economy’, insisting the 2024 Federal Budget Estimates cater for the poor population in terms of healthcare, security, education, and the entire country’s economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Expressing disagreement with the global lender on its economic projects vis-a-vis the 2024 Budget Estimates, Mr. Ben Akabueze, Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been wrong in its projections of the Nigerian economy in the last four years.

Akabueze, who stated this while featuring on a Channels TV programme Wednesday, December 6, 2023, said the Fund had been wrong about its economic projections on the West African country.

The Director-General stated: “In the last four years, IMF has got it wrong about our projections.

“Our actual growth has always beaten their projections.”

Akabueze particularly dwelt on the economic projections of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration for next year.

ConsumerConnect reports President Tinubu November 29, 2023, had presented his maiden Appropriation Bill of N27.5trillion for 2024 to a joint session of the National Assembly (NASS), in Abuja, FCT.

Tinubu, in the Budget Estimates, noted that the Nigerian economy is expected to grow by 3.76 percent, while “inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024.”

The President explained: “Budget deficit is projected at 18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

The Nigerian President’s economic projections in the next year’s Federal Budget are, however, at variance, and are deemed “ambitious” to the prediction of IMF earlier October 2023.

The Washington-based lending institution was said to have projected that the country’s economy would grow at 3.1percent next year

IMF’s projection doesn’t represent ‘holy grail’ on economic growth, says Akabueze

In a direct response to the IMF reported projection on Nigeria’s economic growth 2024, Akabueze asserted the IMF’s projections “do not represent the holy grail on economic growth.”

The Budget Office Chief contended that the global lender “can’t get it right better than the people who have direct responsibility for managing their individual economies.”

According to him, the growth rate projected by the Tinubu administration in its maiden Budget Estimates “doesn’t even yet reflect the ambition of the government.”

The incumbent administration “wants to double the GDP before the end of the first term,” said he.

Akabueze further argued that the 2024 Budget Estimates awaiting approval at the National Assembly were even “way too small” to Nigeria’s need, but the government had to cut its coat according to its cloth.

The Budget Office Director-General rather maintained that despite the criticisms, including IMF’s, against the 2024 Budget Estimates, the Appropriation Bill caters for the poor in terms of healthcare, security, education and the economy in Nigeria.

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