Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has said the nation plans to get out of recession by boosting government non-oil revenues and cracking down on corruption.
Reuters reports that Mrs. Adeosun made the remarks while fielding questions from reporters at the World Bank conference in Washington on Thursday.
Analysts said the Nigerian government’s anti-corruption war received a boost recently when the government suspended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, David Lawal, and ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against him in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE.
Similarly, the government also ordered a full scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim. The Director General of the NIA, Ayo Oke, was also suspended.
There are insinuations that these and other funds recovered from similar anti-graft operations would be ploughed back into the economy.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Adeosun said the government will also issue more international debt to pay for infrastructural projects.
Nigeria is in its second year of recession, brought on by lower oil prices, which have slashed government revenues, weakened the currency and caused dollar shortages.
The development has stifled investment initiatives and frustrated businesses and households.
Earlier on Wednesday, the World Bank chief economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, had said that fiscal adjustments in Nigeria would be “extremely challenging” and that the country needs to reform its finances to ensure it can hedge against any future currency crisis.
Mrs. Adeosun said her aim was to get the non-oil sector of Nigeria’s economy which accounts for around 90 per cent of GDP to contribute to government revenues.
“Improving non-oil revenues is something we are working hard on. We are rolling out measures to get more people into the tax net,” the minister said, Thursday.
“We are get out of recession because we are following the right type of policies. We are improving our revenues, we are improving our efficiencies in how we spend money.
“We are investing in the infrastructure that is needed, power, rail, road, the big enablers of growing sustainable economies.”
Commenting further, Mrs. Adeosun said liquidity on currency markets has been improving as the central bank has boosted dollar supply, occasioned by the recently rising oil prices.
The minister also added that government was harmonising fiscal, monetary and trade policies to get the economy growing again.
Nigeria also plans to issue long-term debt on the international markets more regularly for infrastructure projects, Mrs. Adeosun said, noting that Africa’s largest economy would take advantage of the country’s debt to GDP ratio of 13 per cent.