The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has said the international credit rating agencies are unfair to Nigeria in their ratings, a situation that is making lenders charge excessive interest rates on loans to Nigeria.
Recall in November 2022 FitchRatings downgraded Nigeria’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B-‘ from ‘B’. The Outlook is Stable,
The Minister spoke in Abuja when Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group led the team to a courtesy call on her.
She said these negative ratings have persisted in spite that most of the parameters being used are not locally induced.
“We are coping with a lot and we are doing the best we can under very difficult circumstances. But to have to cope with credit rating agencies working as if nothing has changed not realising the kind of shocks we are suffering, and assessing us and downgrading us for factors external to us even when we are putting in our best efforts, we think it is a situation we realize we can’t change” she stated.
In this ministry, we engage every credit rating agency and provide everything they ask for. But it seems as if it is not enough. They have to be some support that we need to get. They themselves need to do things differently. You cannot be making the same kind of assessments you were making some time ago. Things are different. We have seen some of our sister countries really hurt: she stated further.
“This year only, we have had Nigeria being downgraded, and unless these interventions are done at a very high international level, countries that are developing will be the ones that would carry the brunt of this attitude of the credit rating agencies,” she said,
She thanked the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for what it is doing with the National Population Commission.
She said a proclamation has been done by President that the census will be carried out in April after the election. She asked the UN for support and funds
She said It will be very tasking on the federal government budget to have elections and census hence the call for intervention now.
Commenting, Amina Mohammed said a review of fuel subsidies is hugely important to the economy.
However, she said it has to be handled with care targeting effectively what one believes is important for people to understand that those perceived gains from subsidy are actually going to translate into their lives towards reducing poverty ensuring our women and youths have jobs