Press Release: Statement by Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Conclusion of his Visit to Nigeria

February 27, 2008

Press Release No. 08/31

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Abuja at the conclusion of his visit to Nigeria:

"This was my first visit to Nigeria. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I want to thank President Yar'Adua, Minister of State for Finance Aderemi Babalola, and the senior officials and legislators I met for their hospitality. My participation at a regional workshop on globalization and revenue mobilization—jointly organized by the IMF, the U.K.’s Department for International Development, and the Nigerian government—has been a valuable opportunity to exchange views with ministers from nine African countries and get a better sense of the challenges facing their respective countries in their poverty reduction efforts.

"I congratulated President Yar'Adua for Nigeria's strong macroeconomic performance under an economic program guided by the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and supported by the Fund's Policy Support Instrument (PSI). The program succeeded in balancing spending needs with macroeconomic stability, and led to the introduction of broad-based structural reforms. We had a productive discussion on Nigeria's economic outlook, as well as the challenges ahead.

"I welcomed Nigeria's prudent policies and progress on their ambitious structural reform agenda, most notably the determined implantation of the oil price fiscal rule. These steps have been pivotal in delivering robust economic growth, lower inflation, and significantly strengthened fiscal and external positions. Ongoing structural reforms are crucial to support private sector development and reduce poverty, as is investment in human development and infrastructure.

"President Yar'Adua and I agreed that Nigeria's key macroeconomic challenge is to manage the oil wealth. To unleash its full potential as an emerging market with the ambition of achieving double-digit growth, Nigeria needs to avoid oil-related boom-bust cycles, continue to implement prudent macroeconomic policies and strengthen bank supervision. The President thanked the IMF for its support under the PSI, and I welcome his desire for further cooperation with, and help from, the Fund in sustaining Nigeria's reform efforts."


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