Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and managers of the nation’s economy, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and Planning; and Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, Sunday, said the nation’s economic crisis will soon come to an end, insisting that “the worst is over.
Disturbed by the despair in the land over the nation’s declining economy, the Federal Government, last night, released what looked like a formula to steer the economy out of recession and make the people heave a sigh of relief.
Senator Udoma, Mrs. Adeosun and Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told VANGUARD in separate interviews that the government was taking active measures to bail the economy out of recession.
Speaking in a similar vein, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said the worst is over as far as the recession was concerned, stating that by December, the economy would be fully out of recession and be on the path of growth.
As a confidence building measure, the federal government has asked Nigerians not to panic over the recession, as it was not the first time it had occurred, assuring that everything was being done to check it and alleviate the impact on Nigerians.
Our structural reforms —Senator Udoma Udoma, said apart from taking immediate steps to end recession, the government was also undertaking what he called major structural reforms to ensure that the country doesn’t relapse into recession.
“Therefore, this government is committed first, to implementing measures to get Nigeria out of recession, and, secondly, implement major structural reforms to ensure that we do not experience this situation again,” Udoma said.
The minister said although the administration had not been able to meet its revenue target set in the 2016 budget as a result of falling oil prices and disruption in output arising from attacks in the Niger Delta, the government was pushing ahead with its plan to make life better for Nigerians and attract necessary investments into the country.
Stimulus package for Nigerians The government is working on a fiscal stimulus plan and complementary monetary policy aimed at raising aggregate demand or stimulating aggregate supply. Also, to bring immediate succour to the economy, government is working to contain militant activities in the Niger Delta so as to bring back production level to 2.2 million barrels a day.
“This is to provide a breathing space while government intensifies efforts in the agriculture and solid minerals sectors to broaden the structure of the economy,” he said. Never again will we allow our economy slip out of hand.
“But to move away from that scenario and ensure that the economy does not fall into this situation in future, the government has decided on measures that will ensure the diversification of sources of revenue as well as open avenues for critical investments; with core focus on massive infrastructure development, return to agriculture and exploitation of solid minerals.”
On her part, Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, announced that the administration was also intensifying efforts at providing what she called “Quick Wins” for Nigerians so as to mitigate their economic burden by funding the social intervention programme introduced by the Buhari administration.
Adeosun said: “We are funding the social intervention programme and I think that is very important. That is money in people’s pockets. A-meal-a-day for pupils in Primary 1-3 pupils in the states is something that means a lot to some vulnerable families in the country.
“Again, the payment of the N5000 to some persons in the country is also another programme to put some money into the hands of the poor and change their fortunes. The employment of primary school teachers will also start soon as thousands of Nigerians have already registered online to be engaged under the programme.
Reducing cost of living Adeosun said: “It is a tough time but we are doing everything possible to ensure that we come out of this in a way that is sustainable so that we never get back here again. If you remember, we have been here before.
But this time, we want to come out of it in a way that is more sustainable by addressing the infrastructure challenges. “We need transport to be able to move the goods. That is why you see that the government is making investments in rails, roads, power and airports. “I think from the signs we see, Nigeria is going to come out of this and we are going to come out of it stronger.”
FG spending its way out of recession
Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed the actions announced by the two key ministers steering the economy but gave further details to Vanguard. Mohammed said: “The only way to get out of recession is to spend out of recession by investing in capital projects and key infrastructure to give quality life to the citizenry.
This is what the present administration is actively doing and we will not stop until we are stable and able to produce and export to earn foreign exchange that is giving us headache now. N100bn already spent on infrastructure.
“That is why this year alone, the government has spent about N100 billion on infrastructure development alone. On roads alone, we have so far spent about N70 billion. If you compare this to 2015, the government spent a maximum of N18 billion on roads throughout the year. Fiscal discipline all the way.
“We have also decided to introduce a lot of fiscal discipline. While the previous government spent only N18 billion on roads and N65 billion on travels and estacode in 2015, we have reversed all that: The amount available for foreign travels and tours has been seriously reduced by this administration. Nobody in this government is allowed to travel in first class except those who can use their personal income to do so. FG wage bill slashed from N165bn to N159bn monthly with 33,000 ghost workers edged out.
“The circular has now come out to say that even the travel agency to be used by government officials and agencies must be chosen out of competitive pricing arrangement. We have also looked at our payroll and weeded out no fewer than 33,000 ghost workers and cut monthly wage bill of the federal government from N165 billion to about N159 billion and we are still continuing with the elimination of ghost workers.
“We have also introduced Efficiency Units to look at how the money given to MDAs is managed to realise maximum value. Financial/economic experts to the rescue “Beyond that, we have invited financial and economic experts to advise the government on how to waddle through recession and they have recommended many things to us: sale of non-core assets, improving the ease of doing business in and out of government and they have recommended to us what to do.
The worst is over
Similarly, Governor Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwine Emefiele, said that the worst situation of the recession that hit the economy was over, stating that by December, the economy would be fully out of recession and be on the part of growth. He said this while playing host to Nigeria Newspaper Proprietors Association, NPAN, at the CBN Lagos office.
He said the federal government was on top of the situation, adding that it was doing everything possible to lessen the burden of the recession on Nigerians. Emefiele said it was the multiplying effect of the hike in petrol pump price that was causing the general rise in the prices of goods and services in the country. He said the federal government and the CBN had taken proactive measure to stabilize the economy. Giving assurance to Nigerians and asking them to have faith in the efforts of the government and the CBN to move the economy out of recession, Emefiele said: “I repeat, the worst is over, the Nigerian economy is on the path of recovery and growth.
“Trust me, if you are standing as a bystander, you are losing by being a bystander. Join the train now before the bus leaves the bus station. “Let me repeat myself, we are already in the valley, the only direction for us to go is up the hill.
Government is doing everything possible to ensure we move up the hill as quickly as possible. I am optimistic that with the action being taken by government, the monetary and fiscal authority, by the end of the fourth quarter of the year, Nigerians will see that the economy has started to move up the hills, out of recession.”