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Nigeria’s Buhari agrees record 2021 budget amid COVID-hit economy

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday gave his final agreement on the country’s 2021 budget on New Year’s Eve.

It sets a record of 13.5 billion Naira, or over 28 billion euros, which is about 20% higher than last year and comes as Africa’s most populous country faces a recession in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nigeria’s economy is further squeezed as it is also the largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and the coronavirus pandemic has slashed oil prices.

Growth is another key issue for Nigeria. The International Monetary Fund said it forecasts a decline in Nigeria’s GDP of 5.4% for 2020, while the government is considering a contraction of 8.9%.

To cope, the state devalued the currency but that created high inflation. In October, food prices rose more than 17%.

According to the World Bank, the coronavirus crisis is expected to push five million more Nigerians into poverty.