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Edun: Nigeria’s Economy Is Growing - NEW TELEGRAPH

MAY 29, 2024

A comprehensive emergency document on the economy put together by the Federal Government-constituted Economic Management Team (EMT), meant to give impetus to economic growth has been transmitted to President Bola Tinubu for endorsement yesterday afternoon.

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, who confirmed its transmission to the President, said Nigeria’s economy grew at 2.9 percent higher than 2.6 per cent growth last year. This, he added, was in addition to Gross Domestic Growth (GDP), which recorded growth as confirmed in the recently released first quarter, 2024 GDP report, by Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) .

He spoke in Abuja at a ministerial press briefing on the first year score card of President Tinubu’s administration. Besides Edun, Minister of Industry, Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite; Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maitama Tuggar presented their respective ministries’ score cards.

He assured Nigerians that policy reforms were not punitive measures, but geared towards tackling inflation, expanding agricultural production, which ultimately, will lead to a reduction in food prices and improvements in quality of life and living standards.

According to Edun, it ought to have been ready before yesterday but for state governors who delayed in appending their final clearance. “The emergency economy plan put together by the EMT to stabilise the economy in the next few months is ready. The package was sent to the President’s desk this afternoon after we got the final clearance from the state governors.

That’s a major economic revival plan for President’s approval,” Edun noted, adding: “The government has been responding to her debt services (international obligations) without resorting to ways and means.” He said the government recently settled over $200 million due obligation to Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

“We implemented a system whereby contractors who handle government procurement are paid directly. Payments are made directly to beneficiaries once contracts are completed. Nigeria’s finance position has improved to grow bigger,” he added. He faulted the assertion that the exiting of several companies from the country was the fallout of Tinubu’s administration policy.

“Our government inherited the assets and liabilities of the previous administration. The 800 companies or so did not make up their minds overnight. They stayed until they could stay no more. The conditions which send them packing are no more. Those conditions were a foreign exchange market that was in no way fit for business where there was no liquidity.

“They were the general economic regime marked by instability, broken promises, lack of adherence to contract and so on. The new environment which investors face is one in which inflation is being attacked and eventually leads to lower interest rates where investors can use the very vibrant domestic market to add their own equities and invest,” the coordinating minister explained.

Meanwhile, the government has secured $30 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) across multiple sectors of the economy, according to Uzoka-Anite. The Trade minister said: “Nigeria’s investment landscape is now witnessing a significant influx of foreign capital, aligning with the renewed hope agenda. Led by the commitment of President Bola Tinubu, we have secured investment commitments of over $30 billion so far, across multiple sectors of the economy.

“In addition, the ministry is taking decisive and structured steps to attract capital investments which will transform our homegrown enterprises and industries into global players. We have concluded stakeholder engagements with our domestic private equity and asset management firms towards the launch of an investment mobilisation initiative aimed at increasing local and foreign investment as a catalyst for economic growth.

“While there is an abundance of debt capital for MSMEs to access as loans, there is a paucity of equity capital, which is the real investment capital that will unlock ideas into unicorns. Globally, MSME growth is witnessed in countries where private equity capitais readily accessible to businesses.

“Mr President has laid the foundation to boost the growth of industries and we are building on this foundation to increase private equity capital formation hence the reason for initiating the Nigeria diaspora fund. The Nigerian diaspora remit between $20-25bn annually, according to the World Bank, but these remittances have not been channelled intentionally to private equity.

Therefore, the investment initiative by my ministry is creating the platform to target, mobilise and utilise some of these funds into the productive economy.” Mr Oyetola said the Federal Government plans to launch a national shipping line on a public-private-partnership model.

Unlike previous arrangements of solely taking responsibility, like the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, Oyetola said the one being conceived would be entirely a private funded arrangement. The essence of a shipping line as national carrier, he said, was to reduce capital flight and create job opportunities and lower the cost of insurance freight incurred.

He said his ministry was working with government agencies to reduce the number of security agencies at the seaports to a minimum of seven. On his part, Amb Tuggar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, attributed paucity of funds as major reason delaying posting designated Nigerian ambassadors to their various duty posts in most overseas nations.


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