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Financial Experts Laud, Knock IMF Lagarde’s Visit To Nigeria

Stakeholders in the financial industry on Thursday disagreed on the motive behind the visit of the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, to Nigeria.
Some told journalists in Lagos that the visit was to understudy the budget, others said it brought a positive gain to the nation’s economic direction.
Mr Femi Ekundayo, a former President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN), said that the visit was timely.
Ekundayo said that Lagarde’s interaction with the nation’s economic team was “something that could have incremental benefits for Nigeria.
“It is a third party endorsement, which the Federal Government needs at this time of its economic history”.
Ekundayo said he disagreed with the insinuations in certain quarters that the robust outlook of the budget was the main factor for her visit.
He said the pronouncement of Lagarde had allayed a lot of fears in the minds of many Nigerians with regard to the motive of her visit and the nation’s policy direction.
“From her pronouncements, a lot of tutoring may have been given to the economic team. That in itself is very helpful. Nigeria needs experts to guide them on the way forward,’’ Ekundayo said.
He expressed delight that the conversation on the nation’s economic destiny was taking place on its own soil.
“That this is happening on our soil is a thing of joy,’’ Ekundayo added.
But Prof. Anthony Monye-Elmina, Head of Department of Economics, University of Benin, disagreed, saying IMF visit to any country had an undisclosed factor, which could be detrimental.
Monye-Elmina noted that the IMF might have been jolted by the budget proposal of the government and needed the visit for further clarifications.
The don urged the government and Nigerians not to be carried away by the IMF’s explanations that it were not in the country to negotiate aids.
“There are aspects of the budget that are not clear enough. By the time they (IMF) are properly briefed, they may begin to negotiate and propose loans for the country,’’ Monye-Elmina said.
Dr Celestine Agoziem of the Department of History and International Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo, said that in diplomacy, a lot of decisions were taken underground.
Agoziem said that most Breton Woods institutions were in the habit of entering into agreements that were self-centered, to the detriment of the other party.
According to him, the IMF has no policy that will make its counterpart self-reliant otherwise they will be forced out of business.
“They always come with the notion that their host doesn’t need loan, but in the long run they will need it. It is either loan or devaluations.”
The don advised the government against being cajoled into any loan agreement that would be counterproductive to the nation’s economy.
The IMF boss, who expressed admiration for the nation’s anti-corruption stand, enjoined it to remain resolute on strengthening the economy, saying that “ Nigeria does not need to borrow’’.
NAN reports that the IMF chief is on a four-day working visit to Nigeria, which ends on Thursday. (NAN)

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