After inauguration fanfare, immense financial challenges await Nigeria’s Tinubu By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An All Progressives Congress (APC) supporter carries a ebook with an image of presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu who was declared the winner of Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, in Abuja, Nigeria, March 1, 2023. REUTERS/Esa Ale


By MacDonald Dzirutwe and Libby George

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s incoming President Bola Tinubu will inherit anaemic financial development, file debt and shrinking oil output, however earlier than he can begin fixing these urgent issues he might want to safe public help for painful choices.

Life is hard for residents of Africa’s largest financial system, and a tangle of protectionist financial insurance policies and overseas foreign money interventions have spooked buyers.

An try by Nigeria to cut back vastly costly gasoline subsidies a decade in the past met with mass public protests and needed to be dropped.

Tinubu, a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, helped propel the outgoing president to energy in 2015.

Now, companies, worldwide buyers and residents are hoping he can use his expertise as governor of Lagos state to recharge Nigeria’s struggling financial system and at last confront its most troublesome challenges.


Nigeria’s debt has ballooned by practically 60% since 2015, hitting $103 billion final 12 months, in accordance with the Debt Administration Workplace. Its development is outstripping GDP enlargement, and the federal government has warned that after off-book loans from the central financial institution are added to the tally, it may hit 77 trillion naira ($167 billion).

Whereas Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio is a modest 23.2%, in contrast with 60% in fellow oil producer Angola, specialists say the portion of income wanted to service the debt is alarming.

In January, scores company Moody’s (NYSE:) downgraded Nigeria, citing these figures. In line with some calculations, debt servicing prices surpassed income final 12 months.

Gregory Smith, rising markets fund supervisor with M&G Investments stated Nigeria’s “shockingly low ranges of presidency income” additionally raised questions round its capacity to spend to spice up development.

“The debt pressures are symptomatic of that lack of presidency income,” Smith stated.

Rising tax assortment, Smith stated, could be key for Tinubu.


A number of the income troubles stem from rampant, industrial-scale theft that final 12 months pressed oil output to its lowest in additional than 30 years. Oil and fuel sometimes fund half of Nigeria’s funds and 90% of its overseas trade. Continued theft, underinvestment and industrial disputes, hinder output.

On high of this, crippling gasoline subsidies drain what’s left from oil gross sales. Fitch Rankings estimates that the implicit petrol subsidy has price the federal government roughly 2.4% of GDP in foregone income. Consultants say taming the subsidy, and boosting oil output, are key.

“The market seems fairly myopic in specializing in these two issues specifically: the FX coverage and the removing of gasoline subsidies along with broader change on the CBN,” stated Yvette Babb of fund supervisor William Blair.

Buhari’s authorities created an advanced net of official and parallel trade charges in an effort to help the embattled naira. It additionally created an extended listing of things banned from utilizing central financial institution overseas trade.

Companies say ensuing widespread greenback shortages are crushing, whereas buyers say the problem in getting cash in a foreign country has strangled funding.

Smith and Babb stated naira bonds, and investing regionally, are just about inconceivable in consequence.

“The principle factor is issues with having the ability to exit the market even if you happen to felt like you might make a return,” Smith stated.

Authorities knowledge confirmed that overseas direct funding dropped from $2.2 billion in 2014, the 12 months earlier than Buhari took workplace, to $468 million final 12 months.


Getting Nigerians to abdomen painful reforms hinges on convincing them that they’ll make life higher – and that shall be a troublesome promote.

Inflation is at a virtually two-decade excessive, consuming into financial savings and salaries. Unemployment is at a file 33%, prompting a punishing mind drain. Moreover, Tinubu’s 8.79 million votes are the fewest gained by a Nigerian president for the reason that nation returned to democracy in 1999, limiting his goodwill.

“He might must show what he can ship for the Nigerian individuals earlier than he can take one thing away that’s clearly lowering the price of residing for a big share of the inhabitants,” Babb stated of gasoline subsidies. Permitting the naira to weaken, she added, additionally “comes at a price.”

($1 = 460.0000 naira)

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