The International Monetary Fund has said Nigeria’s oil and gas exports are expected to fall by at least $26.5bn this year as a result of the coronavirus-induced sharp drop in prices and demand.
The IMF, on Tuesday, approved the country’s request for emergency financial assistance of $3.4bn on Tuesday.
In a detailed report regarding the request, released late on Wednesday, the Washington-based fund warned that Nigeria remained exposed to rising risks, particularly in oil markets.
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It said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting economic activity. The sharp fall in international oil prices and reduced global demand for Nigeria’s oil products are worsening the fiscal and external positions, as Nigeria’s oil and gas exports (84 per cent of total exports) are expected to fall by more than $26.5bn.
“The economy is projected to contract by almost 3.5 per cent in 2020, a six-percentage point drop relative to pre-COVID-19 projections.”
The IMF said rising unsold cargoes could also impact oil production, which could decline further because of the production cut deal led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries or if prices remained below production costs.
Oil prices have fallen sharply as lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic cut global fuel demand by about 30 per cent.
The international oil price benchmark, Brent crude, rose by $2.76 to $25.30 per barrel as of 5:40pm Nigerian time on Thursday.