The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Chief Olawale Edun has said the last time Nigeria’s economy looked stable was about a decade ago.
He made this statement during his maiden press conference as Minister of Finance where he outlined President Bola Tinubu’s vision, agenda and strategy for the economy.
He said, “I think as we all know, we are not where we should be. The economy is barely growing above the rate of population growth.
“But it was not always so, and I think in trying to look at the way forward, if we now have a situation of slow growth, double-digit inflation, weak/depreciating exchange rate, as well as security concerns that are resulting in an economy that is not growing and not taking Nigerians out of poverty.
“If we think back to the last time when the economy was stable- when it was growing, when inflation was low, and the interest rate was affordable, that period was about a decade ago. Growth was about 6% in 2013 and 2014.”
Private sector to drive the economy
Speaking further, Mr. Edun noted that the prevailing circumstances that necessitated the economic growth of the 2010s were not present today hence the government has to allow private funding for certain problems.
He specifically mentioned FDIs and domestic investment by Nigerians as ways in which the private sector can contribute to President Tinubu’s strategy of economic recovery.
He said the President’s antecedents of deploying private investment in areas such as infrastructure, power, waste management etc. during his time as Governor of Lagos serves as a pointer towards the plan of the current administration.
Speaking on the key priority areas President Tinubu will focus on, the finance minister said,
“The key priorities are to improve the lives of Nigerians by providing food security by ending poverty.
“His plan for the economy is economic growth, job creation, access to capital- particularly consumer credit that makes goods affordable to the average Nigerian.
“Utilising our human resources- our vast, capable human resources, by focusing on inclusivity-women, youth and making all have the opportunity to contribute to prosperity and likewise focusing on security, rule of law and corruption. He intends to create a fairer, safer playing field for all”
Commenting on how the President hopes to measure performance, Mr Edun said objective measure of performance will be used, he made reference to inclusivity when he said “In the area of inclusivity, we will measure literacy rate, out-of-school children and see how successful the trend in reducing out-of-school children, rule of law, anti-corruption etc likewise other metrics will be used to check how well the administration is doing”
He further mentioned that the key to achieving President Tinubu’s agenda is increasing revenues so that there is enough funding from the government to carry out its expenditure.
In his words, “On the one hand is by increasing tax revenue not by increasing taxes but by bringing greater efficiency and to maximise the revenue.
There will be an emphasis on efficiency in government expenditure and effective debt management so that borrowing has linked to it, the effective debt management”
“Overall, the President is going to provide a better life for all by encouraging investment that improves productivity, grows the economy and thereby creates jobs and reduces poverty”