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IMF predicts Nigeria’s inflation to drop to 18% by 2026

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that inflation rate in Nigeria will drop to 23 per cent in 2025 with a further drop to 18 per cent by 2026 from the current rate of 33.20 per cent.

The IMF, which made the protection in its Global Economic Outlook released on Tuesday at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C, said Nigeria was moving in the right direction with economic reforms including exchange rate reforms which it believes contributed to the surge in inflation rate in March.

The report endorsed by
Division Chief, IMF Research Department, Daniel Leigh, noted that with oil prices being on the rise in part due to geopolitical tensions and services, inflation had remained stubbornly high in many countries, including Nigeria.

“We see inflation in (in Nigeria) declining to 23 per cent next year and then 18 per cent in 2026,” Leigh said.

“Growth in Nigeria, steady but actually rising this year, from 2.9 per cent last year to 3.3 percent this year. We have seen an expansion from the recovery in the oil sector, with a better security situation and also improved agriculture, benefiting from the better weather conditions and the introduction of dry season farming.

“So, there’s a broad based increase also in the financial sector, in the IT sector. Inflation, yes, it has increased.

“Part of this reflects the reforms, the exchange rate and its pass through into other goods from imports to other goods.

“So, this explains also why we revised up our inflation projection for this year to 26 per cent. But with the tight monetary policies and that interest rate increase, significant interest rate increases during February and March,” he added.

On his part, head of IMF Research Department, Pierre Olivier Gourinchas, said Nigeria has six to nine per cent inflation target which has been missed by over a decade, but he however, believes bringing inflation back to target should remain the priority for the country.

“There are stark divergences also between countries that call for careful calibration of monetary policy.

“Going forward, policymakers should prioritize measures that help preserve or even enhance the resilience of the global economy.

“A key priority is to rebuild fiscal buffers, especially in an environment with high real interest rates, modest growth, and elevated debts.

Unfortunately planned fiscal adjustments are often insufficient and could be derailed further given the record number of elections this year,” Gourinchas said.

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Nigeria: Court insists Binance executive can face trial on behalf of firm

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In an ongoing tax evasion case, a Nigerian court decided on Friday that Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, may go to trial on the cryptocurrency exchange’s behalf.

Binance and executives Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and head of financial crimes compliance, and British-Kenyan national Nadeem Anjarwalla, a regional manager for Africa, face four counts of tax evasion. They are also accused of participating in specialized financial transactions without a license and laundering more than $35 million in another case.

All of them have entered not-guilty pleas on the allegations of money laundering. Following the court hearing on Friday, Binance’s attorney chose not to comment. The attorney for Gambaryan was similarly silent.

“We are deeply disappointed that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, continues to be detained,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement on Friday after the court hearing.

“These charges against him are completely meritless. He should be freed while discussions continue between Binance and Nigerian government officials.”

Gambaryan is still being held while Anjarwalla left the nation in March. The office of Nigeria’s security adviser has declared that it is collaborating with Interpol to pursue Anjarwalla’s detention.

After its executives were imprisoned as part of a crackdown on cryptocurrencies in February after being invited to the African nation for talks with officials, the CEO of Binance has warned Nigeria of establishing a dangerous precedent.

Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced that Gambaryan may face prosecution on behalf of the exchange; Binance has not been accused in the tax evasion case.

According to prior statements from Gambaryan’s attorney, Gambaryan was “neither a director, partner, nor company secretary” and did not have any formal authorization from Binance to take on the accusations on the firm’s behalf.

Judge Emeka Nwite decided on Friday that Gambaryan, who is Binance’s chief financial compliance officer and was lawfully designated to represent the company in a meeting in Nigeria, should be served with the charges against Binance.

On Wednesday, Gambaryan is scheduled to appear in court and enter a plea on Binance’s behalf. On Friday, Gambaryan’s request for bail in the money laundering case was turned down. As the nation struggled with ongoing dollar shortages, cryptocurrency websites became the go-to venues for trading the Nigerian naira. Nigeria has blamed Binance for its currency problems.

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Nigerian govt denies reports it plans to borrow pension fund for infrastructure

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The Nigerian government has denied reports that it plans to borrow the N20tn pension fund to finance infrastructural projects.

In a statement made in Abuja, Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, stated that the government would abide by the laws and guidelines in place pertaining to the pension fund.

Following a two-day Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, the minister reportedly informed reporters that the government would present a plan to use local funds, including the fund, to finance infrastructure development.

Edunstated that the government does not intend to exceed these legal boundaries, emphasising that the government was committed to protecting workers’ pensions.

“It has come to my notice that stories are making the round that the Federal Government plans to illegally access the hard-earned savings and pension contributions of workers. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

“The pension industry, like most the financial industries, is highly regulated. There are rules. There are limitations about what pension money can be invested in and what it cannot be invested in.

“The Federal Government has no intention whatsoever to go beyond those limitations and go outside those bounds which are there to safeguard the pensions of workers.

“What was announced to the Federal Executive Council was that there was an ongoing initiative drawing in all the major stakeholders in the long-term saving industry, those that handle funds that are available over a long period to see how, within the regulations and the laws; these funds could be used maximally to drive investment in key growth areas,” Edun clarified.

The plan to spend the pension fund was reported and was widely criticised. The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and the Nigeria Labour Congress had earlier on Thursday urged the government to abstain from making any changes to the pension fund.

They stated, “Nigerian workers have entrusted their hard-earned savings for retirement security, not as a means for government projects. It is imperative to halt any further plans to tap into these funds, especially given the lack of transparency and accountability in past government borrowing practices.”

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