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Vol 40 No 8

Published 16th April 1999


Nigeria

The $2.7 billion hole in the bank

The military regime is leaving its civilian successor a mountain of dubious debts and undermining prospects for economic recovery

General Olusegun Obasanjo's newly elected government starts work on 29 May. But the bright hope is dimmed by an unexpectedly grim financial legacy from the outgoing military regime of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. Finance Minister Ismaila Usman has announced that Nigeria's foreign reserves were drawn down by US$2.7 billion, to $4 bn., between the end of December 1998 and the end of March 1999. Senior officials in the People's Democratic Party, which will hold the majority under Obasanjo, have been asking sharp questions about the pace at which foreign reserves have fallen, and the volume of unbudgeted government expenditure.

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