Black Affairs, Africa and Development

Okonjo-Iweala – U.S. Shutdown Creates Uncertainty for Nigeria, Others

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Washington DC — The shutdown of the United States government has created economic and financial uncertainties for developing and emerging countries including Nigeria, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in Washington yesterday.

The U.S. government shutdown is a result of failure of the congress to pass spending bills, following disagreement between Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

The government's debt ceiling also expires October 17, and experts envisage a bigger financial crisis that could affect global markets if the lawmakers failed to raise the ceiling.

"The present situation in the U.S. creates uncertainty for developing and emerging countries and that is why we look forward to a swift resolution on the issue of debt ceiling," Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said at a news conference.

She spoke on the outcome of the Commonwealth Ministers of Finance Meeting held on the margins of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC.

With respect specifically to Nigeria, the minister said the U.S. shutdown would affect Nigeria's bond in the international market.

"If not resolved, it could upset the market; we could see higher interest rate that will directly affect Nigeria's bond," Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said.

"As you know, we have not only the $500 million bond we floated two years ago but also the Euro bond.

"The highly successful Euro bond that we floated about three months ago and interest rate on that. We could see the price and the yield of these bonds affected and that is why we need to have more certainty in the market."

She said the Commonwealth ministers meeting focused mainly on development needs of member-states.

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