Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s minister of finance, and Godwin Emefiele, the governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, on Sunday showed optimism about the country’s economy sustaining its positive growth outlook.
The two government officials gave the assurance at a joint press briefing at the end of the 2018 International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States.
The minister stated that inflation rate was slowing down, while the foreign reserves were rising, noting the country’s present growth outlook contrasted with that of 2015.
Expressing optimism on the Federal Government’s sustenance of the growth trajectory, she, however, called for vigilance and focus for the country not to fall back into recession.
Adeosun was quoted as saying in a statement by her Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, “We are confident that if we diligently implement our economic plan, we will grow the economy. We have room to grow, but other countries do not have rooms to grow.
“By 2019, the growth will be far more robust than the present level in 2018. We are, therefore, very optimistic of sustaining Nigeria’s economic growth. We are going to use this opportunity to grow our fiscal buffers by aggressively growing our revenue base.
“The administration has succeeded in building macroeconomic resilience for Nigeria, particularly revising the funding mix, rebuilding fiscal buffers, enhancing foreign exchange reserves and focusing on import substitution strategies.”
Emefiele, on his part, also reiterated Nigeria’s positive growth outlook, noting that a growth of 2.5 per cent had been projected by the IMF and the World Bank for the country.
He disclosed that the country’s foreign reserves had risen to $47.93bn.
“There is a need to save for the rainy day and also continue to grow the foreign reserves. If we had enough reserves, we wouldn’t have suffered the recession shocks,” he explained.
The governor gave an assurance that concerted efforts were being made to realise the 80 per cent target for financial inclusion by 2020.
On state-owned enterprises such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Adeosun stated that the government would continue to efficiently and effectively manage their costs and plug leakages.
“We must make sure that every money that is earned comes in. We will drive the process of improving governance,” the minister added.
On the nation’s domestic debt, she noted that the Federal Government would not aggressively grow borrowing.
“We are refinancing our inherited debt portfolio from short-term Treasury Bills to longer-tenured debt, which has resulted in huge savings and reduction in the cost of funds for the government,” Adeosun added.
She explained that the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme deadline was extended by three months till June 30, 2018 due to appeals from taxpayers for more time to regularise their tax status.
The minister stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had raised the taxpayers’ base from 13 million in 2015 to 17 million presently.
The minister confirmed the recovery of the sum of $322,515,931.83 Abacha funds from the Swiss Government, which had been deposited in a special account in the CBN.
The fund, according to her, has been earmarked for the National Social Safety Nets programme of the Federal Government.
“The objective of the National Social Safety Nets project for Nigeria is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded national social safety nets system,” Adeosun stated.