By Obadiah Mailafia
The preceding year of 2017 witnessed a gradual recovery from a rather traumatic economic recession. At an annualised growth rate of 0.8% for the preceding, the economy had transited out of negative growth and can be presumed to be on the path of long-term sustained growth.
The forecasts for 2018 vary from that of the conservative IMF of 2.1% to that of the London-based ratings agency, Fitch, at 2.6 percent. Much will depend on how deftly our economic managers handle the most crucial elements of the economy.
There are absolutely no guarantees. Much will depend on how quickly we resolve the remaining issues relating to Budget 2018. We would hope and pray that both the government and the National Assembly do their part to ensure a speedy resolution and passage of the appropriation bill early enough, at the latest, not beyond February.
Equally important is the propitious holding forth of global oil prices, which currently stand at US$60.45 per barrel, the highest since 2014. It is also important that we continue on the quiet diplomacy that kept Niger Delta militants quiet while ensuring that we maintain 2.1 mpd that we had throughout much of 2017.
To ensure that we maintain a stable macro economy and ensure a framework for long-term sustained growth, certain important actions are necessary.
On the monetary side, I would say that there have been some marginal improvements compared to previous years. We are seeing a regime of fewer multiple exchange rates compared to the past. And yet, what we need to do urgently is to merge the rates into one single exchange rate. It makes for more credibility as well as transparency.