Nigeria’s finance minister said last week, she is confident that growth in 2014 will be around the government’s latest forecast of 6.5 percent after discounting the economic impact of the insurgency waged by the Islamist group Boko Haram. “We are confident it will be better than 6 percent and about 6.5,” Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated.
The government’s latest forecast, set in the past few days, puts 2014 growth at 6.5 percent, she said, adding that the forecast already discounted the impact from the Boko Haram insurgency. “With regard to downside risks, we see more of that with Boko Haram and we’ve discounted already half a percentage point of GDP in our GDP forecasts,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala said the economic impact on Nigeria from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was not yet significant. “On Ebola, we are not yet seeing that much of an impact. As you know, it’s not a big problem in Nigeria because we’ve contained it.”
She added that while there were slightly more than 300 people under surveillance, there were currently no cases of Ebola in Nigeria.
“We don’t think the impact economically is yet significant…since we have no cases, the news will go out and I think business will begin to come back.” The finance minister played down the economic impact on Nigeria from the recent drop in oil prices, noting that the oil price used to draw up the government’s 2014 budget still provided a margin when compared to market prices. “We set a benchmark each year. Last year it was $77.50. That’s the price at which we made our (2014) budget.” The oil price used in drawing up the 2015 budget is likely to be set at about $78 a barrel, she added.