Buhari meets Lagarde today

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President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to hold talks with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today in a bid to find solution to economic crisis fuelled by plunging oil prices. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, crude oil price closed yesterday at $35.7 per barrel while there are indications by the IMF that it could slump to about $20 per barrel. Nigeria’s 2016 national budget of N6.08 trillion is based on oil benchmark of $38 per barrel. At the current price $35.7 per barrel, the budget is already being threatened.

The fund said yesterday its managing director Christine Lagarde would meet Buhari and his Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun. “I look forward to productive meetings … as they address important economic challenges, most importantly the impact of low oil prices,” said Lagarde in a statement. Lagarde arrived in Abuja yesterday. She is due to give a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday and will also meet business leaders during her visit, the IMF said. Lagarde will also visit neighbouring Cameroon, where she will meet President Paul Biya and his economic team.

The government of the central African country that exports coffee, cocoa and oil tabled a 2016 budget of 4,200 billion CFA francs ($6.9 billion) in December. Cameroon is part of an 8,700-strong task force including troops from Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin that has pledged to destroy Boko Haram, which though based mainly in Nigeria has become a major threat to regional security. Lagarde will also meet Finance Ministers from the six member countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), delivering a speech to the group on Jan. 8. “The country (Cameroun) and the entire CEMAC region are confronted with the twin shocks of the oil-price slump and a surge in disruptions related to security,” Lagarde said.

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