Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, Obi of Onitsha, Dr. Alfred Achebe at the Financial Times Summit
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, Obi of Onitsha, Dr. Alfred Achebe at the Financial Times Summit

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma has assured Nigerians on the economic outlook for the year 2018 describing it as very positive.

Udoma disclosed this while making a presentation titled “Delivering Economic Resilience and Growth” at the Financial Times Nigeria Summit held in Lagos.

Udoma revealed that the country recorded capital inflows valued at over $6 billion in the first quarter of 2018 adding that the inflow was over 600 percent more than about $1 billion achieved in the first quarter of 2017, with growth in the export sector riding by 59 percent between 2016 and 2017, from N8.53 trillion in 2016 to N136 trillion in 2017.

He said the substantial increase in capital inflows into the economy was a clear indication that investors were becoming increasingly confident of the Nigerian economy.

On 2016 Recession

The minister said the collapse of oil prices in the global market from $111.8 in June 2014 to as low as $30.7 in January 2016 set the country’s economy on recession by the second quarter of 2016.

He said the Federal Government responded with an expansionary 2016 Budget, supported by a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), consisting of a series of short-term interventions aimed at reflating the economy.

Udoma also said as part of the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), there has been a substantial increase in capital allocations to priority sectors, such as infrastructure and agriculture, with the capital release of over N1.2 trillion under the 2016 Budget, and over N1.5 trillion under the 2017 Budget.

In his words:

“This was followed by the development of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in 2017, a medium-term plan whose implementation has taken the country out of recession and will place the economy on the path of sustained, diversified and inclusive growth.”

He also acknowledged the fact that a number of reform measures, such as the work being done by the Presidential Enabling Business Council (PEBEC), have resulted in the country becoming recognized by the World Bank as one of the top ten reforming countries in the world.

On Foreign Reserves

The minister said the foreign reserves have grown from $26.51 billion in June 2016 to $47.79 billion by the middle of May 2018, while inflation rate has been trending consistently downwards for the last 15 months, from 18.72 percent in January 2017 to 12.48 percent in April 2018 and the Naira has remained stable with the gap between the official and parallel market rates gradually narrowing.

On the just concluded first phase of the focus labs, Udoma said the first phase of the labs was able to identify over $22.5 billion worth of potential private investments, out of which projects with an investment value of up to $10.9 billion could be categorized as “most ready” to go.

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