Inflation to decelerate mid-2024, says Akabueze

Inflation in Nigeria is reaching its peak now and will decelerate toward the middle of the year, Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, has said.

Speaking at a G-24 news conference on the sideline of the ongoing Spring Meeting World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, United States, Akabueze hinted that the Federal Government is not talking about inflation in isolation but encompassing stabilisation of the naira in the exchange market.

His words: “We can see high inflation is being tackled, we see inflation beginning to peak, we see the reversing trend towards the second half of this year, the foreign exchange rate is stabilised now. We have seen the parallel and the foreign exchange official foreign exchange market rates merge.”

He insisted that the monetary policies initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria are inspiring greater confidence in portfolio investors, foreign direct investors, and even domestic investors.”

With about N97.34 trillion in debts as of the last quarter of 2023, Akabueze argued that debt sustainability is the most fundamental in debt issues.

Amid rising debt, he maintained that there are opportunities in Nigeria’s infrastructure sector, especially the power that is reeling under low investment and this provides huge opportunities for foreign investors to explore.

He added: “I think in Nigeria, we are faced with fiscal challenges, but the most significant being getting debt sustainable, and at the same time increasing fiscal space for the ever-increasing body of public expenditure, especially with sustained relatively high population growth. So, the most important support that Nigeria requires at this time is investment and increased trade. While Official Development Assistance (ODA) is helpful, at the end of the day, that is not what is going to sustainably address the scale of Nigeria’s problems.”

He added that concessionary debt support remains important for the country especially foreign currency denominated, which helps to address the foreign currency supply situation that had put pressure on the exchange rate.

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