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In order to fund the 2017 budget – its largest budget ever, Nigeria has borrowed extensively from foreign development institutions and the international capital market. This morning on CNBC Africa, we caught up with Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun from the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings. In this interview, she addresses the concerns that many have over Nigeria’s foreign debt, the country’s need to generate more revenue from taxes, as well as the future of Nigeria’s economy.

Here are some quotes:

On the improvements in the oil price and OPEC

“We’re very much benefitting from the improved oil price, it went as low as $28, where it is at the moment gives us a little bit more of an ability to plan.”

“The real impact for us hasn’t been in price it’s been in quantity. As you know we had real challenges in the Niger Delta which almost halved our production. So we’re getting our production back up and that’s giving us a little bit more fiscal space to do the things that we need.”

“I’m confident that all the players involved know that we need stability around price.”

“I’m not sure that I agree that OPEC is the reason that we will get out of recession. We will get out of recession because we’re following the right types of policies.”


On Nigeria’s borrowing

“We are borrowing to fund infrastructure projects.”

“Our debt to GDP ratio is actually quite low. We are at 13%. Even with adjustments and rounding errors and with the new borrowings we’ve done, we are maybe 15%”

“Our problem is debt service takes up so much of our revenue. The problem is not that the debt is too high, it is that the revenue is too low and that’s what we’re trying to correct.”


Nairametrics huwaii

On reducing Nigeria’s dependence on Oil

“Nigeria, despite being a very big oil producer, oil is only 10% of our GDP, so one of our challenges and one of the things we’re trying to correct is the other 90% of the economy, getting it to contribute more to government revenues.”

“We have a tax to GDP ratio of 6% one of the lowest in the world.”

“Our focus has to be on getting revenue higher. That is the challenge.”

“Getting more people into the tax net is the longer term solution.”

“We cannot sustainably grow the economy if we continue to have a very low tax to GDP ratio.”

“We have already registered over 125,000 companies that had never paid any tax.”


Standard chartered

On getting Nigeria out of recession

“Our objective is not just to get out of recession it is to grow and grow sustainably”

“The pace might seem for some slow, but what I will say is this is a reset. This isn’t a sort of, little bit of adjustment here and there to a strategy that was generally working. This is a complete reset and step change in terms of how we’re managing the economy and therefore you might not see the sort of sign posts you expect to see if there was just a little bit of adjustment. These are fundamental things.”

It will take a little bit more time to begin to see the benefits, but the benefits will come.


Standard chartered

On the recent peace in the Niger Delta


“The work that the Vice President and his team have done in the Niger Delta has been first rate”

“It started as a fragile peace, but it now seems to be a sustainable and lasting peace.


On her big goal for the year

“Improving non-oil revenues. That’s an objective that we’ve set. It’s something that we are working very hard on.”


On Donald Trump’s Africa Policy


The American Government recognises the importance of Africa, and I think we’ll just have to see what policies they come up with. But I mean we’re focused on our own challenges and our own agenda.”


On Africa as an investment destination

“African has always been this sort of very compelling investment destination.”

“Everybody that is looking for growth, looking for yield, is looking at Africa and it is for us making sure that that delivers sustainable growth for the African people, for the Nigerian people specifically, but the African people in general.”


  1. 125,000 have not paid taxes before,and they will pay this year.maybe the govt should get a presidential initiative to get more companies registered to pay taxes.previously new companies are give a tax holiday about 5 yrs before they are allowed to pays taxes in nigeria.this is about 30 yrs ago to 40 yrs ago,in a country that used to be called Nigeria.
    it looks thing are going to looks better ,maybe best.today I saw a clip from cnn which said Nigeria to break-up in 2015 and Nigeria economy to grow about 7 % in 2015 courtesy of a Nigerian website,maybe the minister of finance knows something we do not know before.THIS IS THE ONLY CREATIVE AND ORIGINAL STATEMENT MADE BY THE PRESENT MINISTER OF FINANCE SINCE THEY TOOK OVER.nigerians are fighting for what is right for themselves and what is right for their country,probably the best news I had since this year


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