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Friday, July 19, 2024

Nigeria is not broke, Zainab Ahmed

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, has declared that Nigeria is not broke. The Minister was responding to questions after presenting the sixth edition of the PMB Scorecard: 2015 to 2023, from the standpoint of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, in Abuja, yesterday.

She said though the government may not have all the revenue it requires to meet the country’s expenditure needs, Nigeria continues to generate revenue which is distributed on a monthly basis by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

The minister noted that in the tradition of transparency, the government actually discloses how much is distributed on a monthly basis to different tiers of government.

According to her, “In my presentation, I said we have witnessed a significant increase in non-oil revenue. In fact, I can inform you that the non-oil revenue now funds the budget up to 73 percent. Yes, it is true that the oil revenue is underperforming because of criminality, but recently the NNPC reported that such acts have been curtailed and that we are beginning to see an improvement in oil output, which means there would be more revenue for the country.”

Mrs Ahmed said the country is borrowing to fund some parts of the budget because what is generated as revenue is not enough.

“Our borrowing has been practical, they are sustainable, they are guided by debt management strategy,” she said. She noted that Nigeria is neither seeking debt relief nor debt restructuring.

According to her, “Our debt is sustainable. At 33 percent to the GDP we are still the lowest compared to other countries that are comparative. We don’t have any need to restructure our debt or seek debt relief. We have our debt management strategy that is being followed closely. In our budget, we have provisions for debt service, which is taken as a first line charge. So we have not defaulted in any loan, external and local and we have projections of meeting our loans in the short to the medium term. This is a medium term plan and very frequently it is revised.

“So we are comfortable in terms of our ability to pay our debts; we have made sure that it happens. We are not going for any debt relief or debt restructuring.”

On the federal government’s capital expenditure for 2022,the Minister said the government has released as at September 2022, N1.7 trillion for capital expenditure out of the N2.7 trillion budgeted for capital expenditures for all the MDAs in 2022.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said no administration since the return of democracy in 1999 has been able to accomplish what the Buhari administration has accomplished. He pointed out specifically the bailout of 27 states that could not pay salaries of their workers.

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