- The minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun says the economic recovery and growth plan provides for an increase in spending over a three-year period
- The minister states that the government is committed to spending N7.44tn, with a projected fiscal deficit of N2.356tn
- Adeosun says Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is low when compared to our contemporaries in Africa, and across most of the developed world
The minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun has said the country has no choice but to continue to borrow in other to implement the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Adeosun said this in a statement signed by the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Salisu Dambatta on Thursday, July 13, in Abuja.
The minister said this following recent report on comments she allegedly made about Nigeria’s debt strategy and ability to borrow, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Adeosun was quoted to have warned that the country must not borrow more to fund its budget and should instead raise money internally to fund the budget.
“Nigeria will continue to borrow. Nothing has changed.
“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan provides for an increase in spending over a three-year period, which is reflected in the 2017 budget.
“In 2017, the government is committed to spending N7.44tn, with a projected fiscal deficit of N2.356tn, which will be funded by a combination of domestic and international borrowing.
“Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is low when compared to our contemporaries in Africa, and across most of the developed world.
“We have headroom to borrow and are doing so aggressively in the short to medium term in order to address our infrastructure deficit and to stimulate growth,” she said.
Adeosun said that in addition to borrowing, the government was working towards having a diversified revenue base to ensure that the country do not continue to overly rely on debt to fund the budget.
“To build a sustainable economy we must replace the debt that we are incurring in the short to medium term, with strong revenue sources.
“That is why the Ministry of Finance is focused on expanding our tax base, which we are doing with a range of initiatives which include the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme.
“Also, the recruitment of Community Tax Liaison Officers is to improve tax compliance in the long-term, and we are heavily focused on making government spending more productive and efficient.
“Nigeria cannot rely on debt indefinitely. We must be focused on a future where we can earn enough internal revenue to spend on the projects that will grow our economy,” she said.
Adesoun said that for now, however, increased spending, funded by debt, would act as a stimulus for growth.
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Meanwhile, London's Financial Times has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to make any considerable effort to save Nigeria's dwindling economy.
The Newspaper in a piece written by David Pilling, its Africa editor, expressed lack of hope for Nigeria's economy.
Pilling said the growth of Nigeria's economy in 2017 can be described as a dead cat bounce if thrown from a 50-storey building.
He said: "If you imagine a dead cat soaked in crude oil and dropped from a 50-storey building, you get a rough picture of how Nigeria’s economy is performing these days."
Emphasizing that Nigerian has been expected to grow its economy by 2.5% in 2017 after the 1.6% growth in the past year, the FT said with the prolfic growth of the country's population the economy is 'going nowhere.'
He further added that the President Buhari-led administration did nothing since assuming office on May 29, 2015, to save the economy.
In the video below, NAIJ.com TV asked some Nigerians if they think the Buhari administration has taken Nigeria out of recession. Watch responses.