The global ratings agency, Standard & Poor (S&P), has retained Nigeria’s sovereign rating at BB-negative.
According to S&P, Nigeria’s assessment showed that despite the impact of the global crude oil prices on most economies, the country’s economy retained the sovereign rating at BB- with a negative watch.
In April 2014, the agency said the country’s rating stood at BB- with a negative outlook, meaning the agency has adjusted its rating slightly by placing the country on the negative watch.
It attributed its decision to the pressure of falling oil prices on the economy as well as political risks.
“Nigeria has not been downgraded but the country clearly needs to work harder to actualise its recently announced policy response to the current economic challenges,” the minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said.
The agency said other oil producing countries, like Saudi Arabia, had also been put on the negative watch while a number of others, including Kazakhstan, Bahrain and Oman, were downgraded outrightly.
According to Okonjo-Iweala, it was important to note that in spite of the serious challenges arising from the sharp fall in oil prices, Nigeria was still doing quite well compared to some other oil producing countries. She said while the economies of Russia and Venezuela were projected to contract and experience negative growth this year, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to grow by 4.8 per cent which is quite robust by global standards.
The minister noted the two implications of the new rating to include that the economy, despite many challenges, was retaining key strengths while striving to work harder to turn the strengths into real value for the country and its citizens