Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says Nigeria should seek economic help from international institutions.
Speaking at the IMF conference hall in Washington DC on Thursday, Lagarde said Nigeria needs to be open-minded on foreign exchange, and swiftly approve the 2016 budget.
“Our recommendation is that Nigeria seeks help from the international institutions that can best help,” she said.
“Second, that Nigeria is open-minded in using flexibility of the exchange rates, in order to absorb some of the shocks. We believe that this is more efficient than to have a list of products that are barred from being imported to the country.
“Third, we believe that it’s really important that budget be completed, decided and approved and we stand ready to help Nigeria, if it wants to seek our help.”
Lagarde, who was in the company of David Lipton, IMF first deputy managing director and Gerry Rice, IMF spokesperson, also called on Nigeria to diversify its economy, adding that oil prices may be low for longer.
“I believe, having visited Nigeria in January, that it is also really important that the country looks at diversifying its economy, because it cannot rely exclusively on commodity prices only, particularly oil, because it might very well stay low for longer,” she said.
“Nigeria is full of energy, smart people, and can really transform some of its activities including the agricultural sector where there is just too much by way of import, when there could be a lot of transformation in Nigeria and local consumption.”
She also spoke on the viral panama papers, calling for international cooperation, while assuring the world that IMF would be at “happy” to play a role in resolving such worldwide issues.
Lagarde reiterated that countries must reinforce their commitment to durable global growth and employ a more potent policy mix.
“A three-pronged approach with monetary, fiscal, and structural actions can work as a virtuous trinity, lifting actual and potential growth, averting recession risks, and enhancing financial stability,” she said.