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Moody’s changes outlook of Nigeria government to negative from stable

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The rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service says it has changed the outlook on the government of Nigeria to negative from stable.

In a report copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, Moody’s says concurrently, it has affirmed the B2 long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings, the B2 foreign currency senior unsecured ratings, and the (P)B2 foreign currency senior unsecured MTN programme rating.

According to Moody’s the negative outlook reflects its view of increasing risks to the government’s fiscal strength and external position.

“Already weak government finances will likely weaken further given an extremely narrow revenue base and persistently sluggish growth that hinders fiscal consolidation. As pressures mount, there is a risk that the government resorts to increasingly opaque and costly options to finance a moderate but rising debt burden. Moreover, vulnerability to an adverse change in capital flows is building in light of Nigeria’s increasing reliance on foreign investors to fund the country’s foreign exchange reserves,” it said.

The agency argues that its decision to affirm the rating at B2 recognizes a combination of credit strengths including the country’s large and diversified economy supported by vast oil and gas endowments, notwithstanding persistent credit weaknesses such as its very weak institutions and governance framework and in particular poor public finance management.

Concurrently, Moody’s has maintained Nigeria’s country risk ceilings at their current levels: Foreign Currency bond ceiling at B1, Foreign Currency deposit ceiling at B3, and Local Currency bond and deposit ceilings at Ba1, it said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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