CEM REPORT, GOVERNANCE | The President Bola Ahmed led administration has declared its focus to realign the nation’s economy on a path to growth and development.
This is as the administration has said it is not in a position to borrow money at this time.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, disclosed on Monday during an interaction with journalists at the State House, Abuja, following the inaugural Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
The eight-point agenda aimed at “moving the Nigerian economy forward,” the administration stated are identified targets to deliver in the next three years.
According to him, the areas include Food Security, Ending Poverty, Economic Growth and Job Creation, Access to Capital, Inclusivity, Improving Security, Rule of Law, and Fighting Corruption.
“Essentially, we went through an exercise of looking at where things stood regarding the economy, growth rate, exchange rate, inflation, unemployment and so on.
“The overriding conclusion is that we’re not where we should be and we also examined the President’s eight-point agenda, that is the eight priority areas for moving the Nigerian economy forward and for delivering to Nigerians and those are basically food security; ending poverty; economic growth and job creation; access to capital, particularly consumer credit; inclusivity in all its dimensions as regards youths and women; improving security; improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies operate; rule of law, and of course, fighting corruption.
“It is around those matrices that the plans and targets of what will be delivered in the next three years or so were identified, discussed and inputs were given by various ministers and we went away with the marching order to refine further the targets in particular and within weeks to start rolling out policies and programmes to turn around the economy and make things better for all Nigerians.”
The minister continued that the Federal Government is not in the position to borrow money at this time, but will rather seek to create a macroeconomic environment where both local and foreign investors will invest and increase production.
He added that the reforms that were being put in place, is to focus on equity to attract investments in the country.
“Clearly, the federal government is not in a position to borrow at this time. Rather, the emphasis has to be on creating a stable, macroeconomic environment.
“Stable inflation, stable exchange rate, an environment within which people can come and invest and thereby increase production and further grow the economy.
“Improve and create jobs and reduce poverty. So, the aim of all reforms at this time is to focus on what we call equity to focus on investment to attract investment by Nigerians.
“Investment by foreign direct investors and even investment by portfolio investors that want to invest in the financial aspects of the Nigerian economy, such as the stock market, such as the bond market.
“So that is the plan. That is the expectation and it is that there will not be a reliance on borrowing. Rather, as revenues increase, as the benefit of removing fuel subsidy and the subsidy on the exchange rate, those mean more money for the government at all levels.
“Because, of course, through oil revenue, the federation earns dollars and if those dollars are feeding through, at let’s say, N700/N750 or so to one dollar as opposed to N460 where it was before; clearly, that is repairing the finances of government are federal state and local government levels.”
Musing on the state of the economy and what this administration “inherited,” Edun claimed that the Tinubu administration “inherited” a poor economy with an intolerably high unemployment rate and inflation of 24%.
“You know they are rebasing the way it’s calculated, per capita has been falling gradually, inflation is at 24 per cent, unemployment is high. These are the key indicators that we have met, and youth unemployment is even higher than is acceptable.
Meanwhile, President Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to freeze the processing of visas for all government officials seeking to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) without proof of direct participation in UNGA’s official schedule of activities.
The President’s directive is part of a broader effort to reduce the cost of governance in Nigeria. To prevent any sharp practice in this regard, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria is accordingly guided on official visa processing while Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in New York is further directed to prevent and stop the accreditation of any government official who is not placed on the protocol lists forwarded by the approving authority.
By this directive, all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies are mandated to ensure that all officials, who are approved for inclusion in the UNGA delegation, strictly limit the number of aides and associated staff partaking in the event. Where excesses or anomalies in this regard are identified, they will be removed during the final verification process.
The President further affirmed that, henceforth, government officials and government expenditure must reflect the prudence and sacrifice being made by well-meaning Nigerians across the nation.