Nigeria Is Private-Sector Driven, As Oil Resources Dwindle — Minister

Nigeria Is Private-Sector Driven, As Oil Resources Dwindle — Minister
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INIOBONG SUNDAY, UYO

Worried by the dwindling resources from crude oil, the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, yesterday declared that the country’s economy has been diversified from an oil-dependent system to become highly private sector driven as crude oil continues to lose its appeal at the international markets.

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Hajia Ahmed, who was represented by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba, dropped the hint during the 3-Day 4th National Treasury Workshop organized by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, in Uyo, state Capital.

She noted that the contribution of the non-oil sector resources to the economy at 65 per cent currently despite the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy was gradually charting the way forward to place the economy on the right pedestal on total recovery.

According to the Minister, with the contribution of the non-oil sector, “both headline and food inflation have continued to trend down with huge success”.

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He said, “COVID-19 which started as heath pandemic snowballed into economic pandemic, so, to accelerate quick recovery of the economy, we develop some strategies which include; national stimulus economic package, mobilization of external support and funding and increase in non-oil revenue generation.

These were aimed at retaining and creating jobs, increasing our productivity ensuring social stability and addressing long-standing economic vulnerabilities.

Thus, the impact of COVID-19 and dwindling revenue from oil, inspite of these, we will continue to expand government policies to cushion the effect with a total estimated stimulus package by the federal government of 2.3 trillion naira.

We took steps to increase our non-oil revenue generation. These steps included but not limited to VAT reforms in the Finance Act 2020, customs administration enhancement, tax exemption, increased remittances and recovery of remitted revenue from government owned enterprises.

Increase revenue from cross-border transactions, among others. As a result of these measures and the incentives placed by this government, both health and economic data have continued to witness positive trajectory, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, grew by 5.01 % year-on-year in real time in the second quarter and 4.03%in the third quarter of 2021.

The second quarter and third quarter growth rates were higher than the -6.10% decline recorded in quarter two of 2020 and 0.51% growth recorded in quarter one of 2021 year-on-year indicating the return of business activities.

Headline inflation has continued to trend down for the seventh consecutive month from 18.7% in March 2021 to 15.911% in October 2021.

Food inflation has also continued to go down in the last seven months after peaking in March 2021 at 22.91% to 18.39% in October 2021.

The government is poised on attracting and supporting foreign and direct investment, and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive by eliminating the barriers”, he added.

Also speaking, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris noted that the Federal Government in its drive to rejig the economy has been making genuine policies to accommodate all sectors of the economy.

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However, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by his Deputy, Obong Moses Ekpo, commended the Federal Government for gathering professionals across the country to brainstorm on the best methods of steering the economy out of its current state, adding that Akwa Ibom has recorded some significant strides in the areas of security, job creation and infrastructure to drive the both internal and Foreign Direct Investments, FDIs, due to the enabling environment created by government.

Aljazirahnews