The Minister of Finance of Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed, has warned that the country’s economy might fall into financial crisis due to revenue shortfalls if appropriate measures are not taken.
The newly sworn-in minister reportedly disclosed this at the headquarters of the Ministry shortly after the inauguration of the new ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Her Concerns: According to Ahmed, Nigeria faces a near fiscal crisis, and it is a big task to rescue the depleting revenue from continuous fall. Stressing further, the Minister noted that while revenue is falling, the government still has various financial obligations to meet which include debt repayment, salaries and other statutory obligations.
“As you know, our nation is facing a near fiscal crisis, and it is up to us to make sure that it is arrested and ensure that we don’t slip into a crisis. We must increase revenues; if not, our country will slip into a fiscal crisis.
“We have been growing in eight consecutive quarters, but it is a growth that is still fragile. Our revenues have grown, but they are still 55% of what we have budgeted. We still have to pay salaries and other statutory obligations.
“We have to pay debts and we need to operate on a day-to-day basis, and we need to do capital projects for the sustained growth of our economy.”
On the merger of the ministry: Speaking further, Ahmed noted that the President had doubled the task of the Ministry of Finance by merging it with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. According to the Minister, the merger came as a result of the achievement the Ministry recorded in the last administration.
“The President has just doubled our assignment. We got this assignment because of the quality of work that we have produced. Ministry of Finance has some of the best cerebral civil servants that we have today. That we have been re-matched with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning is also a very weighty responsibility that has been given to us.”
Ahmed further noted that the President had brought her back so that she could continue to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth.
The bottom line: While the Minister stated the obvious, there seems to be a high mountain to climb for the Ministry in the next four years. Nairametrics in an earlier publication analysed five major things expected from the Finance Minister in the next 100 days.
According to Nairametrics, among other things that Nigerians would expect from Ahmed are improving the country’s fiscal revenue, provide funding from critical infrastructural projects, the budget implementation in the face of depleting revenue and maintain good relations with the central bank.
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