Nigeria’s macro-economic environment shows significant growth – Finance Minister

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Zainab Ahmed

Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning says the macro-economic environment has shown stability as indicated by the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper 2020—2022.

This was presented to the National Economic Council, NEC, on Thursday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Minister, while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that, in presenting the MTEF to NEC, the ministry reported that “Nigeria’s macro-economic environment has stabilized and is gradually recovering.”

The report, she said, indicated that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, remained the basis for the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy of the administration’s economic planning.

According to her, Nigeria has had eight months of successive economic growth since coming out of recession.

Ahmed said that the ministry highlighted some of the success of the Buhari administration in attaining macro-economic stability, which has been achieved, while “looking at the possibility of a GDP for the third quarter of 2019 to be 3.01%.”

The Minister noted that the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS, had not released its reports, but said that her presentation was based on the ministry’s assessment.

Increase in GDP.

Mrs. Ahmed said that she reported “continuous increase in real GDP from 1.89% in second quarter of 2018 to 2.01% in the second quarter of 2019.”

She also said that there has been significant growth in the non-oil sector, adding that “this for us is cause for cheer.”

The minister said contribution of the non-oil secgtor to GDP has increased 90.4% in Q1 2018 to 90.9% in Q1 2019, while unemployment rate stood at 20.1% at Q3 2018

She said there was need for more diversification in the economy to create employment.

“Mr. President is strongly committed to employment generation in this second term,” she said, noting that “considerable success has been recorded in containing insurgency is parts of the North East, with economic activities recovering.”

Adverse effect.

Mrs Ahmed said the recurring conflicts between farmers and herdsmen as well as incidences of flooding have had adverse effect on agricultural products.

She listed other problems to include breaches in NNPC pipelines, which partly accounted for low oil production volume in first half of the year.

“Inflation has continually decline since 2017 from 18.72% to 11.08% in July 2019

“The draft 2020 – 2022 Medium Term Fiscal framework indicates that Nigeria faces significant medium term fiscal challenges especially with respect to revenue generation.

“Therefore there is need to improve revenue collections and expenditure management.

“Need to take bold decision and urgent action to achieve fiscal sustainability and macro-fiscal objectives,” she emphasised.

Updates on accounts

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning also reported to council that balances in the Stabilization Fund Account and Natural Resources Development Fund as at 20th August 2019.

According to her, the balance in the Stabilization Fund Account stood at under listed N21, 729,976,810.6, while the Natural Resources Development Fund had a balance of N95,896,886,829.69.

The Minister of Finance also briefed NEC on the progress of the Budget Support Loan Facility, detailing how the FG has made a total of over N614 billion available to 35 States being N175 billion each.

“Council agreed to constitute a team from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to finalize modalities for commencement of payment,” Mrs. Ahmed added.

She also said the Ad-Hoc Committee on Excess Crude and other Special Accounts of the Federation requested for extension of time to finalize and present its report.

Peace PIAK