The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde arrived in Nigeria on Monday for a four-day visit that will see her hold talks with President Muhammadu Buhari in the wake of an economic crisis that has hit the west African nation fuelled by plunging oil prices.
The visit is part of a two-nation West African region tour to engage policy makers and top officials of Nigeria and Cameroon on economic developments affecting both countries and the West African sub-region.
Prior to Ms Lagarde’s arrival, the IMF had explained that the visit would underline the Fund’s strong relationship with its African member countries.
The visit to Nigeria will provide an opportunity to strengthen the Fund’s partnership with the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa
“The visit to Nigeria will provide an opportunity to strengthen the Fund’s partnership with the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa,” the statement said.
The IMF boss is also expected to meet the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, along with members of the National Assembly, top business leaders and civil society representatives.
“Nigeria is working hard to improve its business environment, promote opportunities for growth in the private sector, and strengthen social cohesion, all areas where the government has an important role to play,” the IMF boss said.
Although the agenda of Ms. Lagarde’s meeting with President Buhari was not made public on Monday, close watchers said that apart from the impact of the drop in global crude oil price, the review of the Central Bank policy was likely going to be one of the key issues to be discussed.
The IMF has been one of the international finance organisations that have been critical of some policies by the Buhari administration, particularly the Central Bank’s monetary policy on restriction of access to foreign exchange to strengthen the Naira and stabilize the Nigerian economy.