The Federal Government has vowed to do everything required to bring Nigeria back to the path of growth with a resolve to the world that Nigeria is too big to fail.
Speaking on sidelines of the plenary session of the 2016 International Monetary Funds (IMF)/World Bank meeting in Washington DC on Friday, the Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun categorically stated that “Nigeria is too big to fail and too significant in the region to underperform.”
Reacting to the speeches of the World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and the IMF managing director Ms. Christine Largard, Adeosun stated that “what we are trying to do is to rewrite Nigeria’s economic story so that we can grow, and to grow we need critical infrastructure like power, transport, housing. These are where we are redirecting expenditure from our recurrent where we thought there have been a lot of waste and leakages.”
The finance minister who was very vibrant and visible at the meeting said the federal government is “redirecting spending to capital to create long-term value, it’s tough in the short term but the long term benefits will be there for the future generation. “We are confident of getting back to growth” she assured the international community.
With regards to calls by Lagarde and Kim for massive investment in infrastructure, Adeosun stated that, “if we invest in critical infrastructure there will be increased productivity, which will lead to job creation and prosperity for our people and it is very comforting to hear this coming from the highest levels that that is the way to go.”
Adeosun stated that Nigeria has aligned with the views of the multilateral institutions with regards to inclusive growth, stating that inclusive growth is one of the objectives of this administration to end poverty.
She noted that Government is “investing heavily in education and as part of our social intervention programme we aim to engage more young graduates into primary schools because, education, I am sure we will be soon start seeing improvements in our education indices.”
She also stated that government was pumping money into agriculture and women are many in agriculture, they are the key especially in agriculture so we are pumping money into agriculture with small business loans with 60% on agriculture. BoI has assured that it will start disbursing micro loans to women so there is a great focus on women, out of the cooks for the school meal programme are women. Money coming in from part-time jobs makes a huge impact on family living.”
On his part, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele said the three-pronged comprehensive approach of monetary, fiscal and structural reforms “is the way everybody has to go and we are doing that in Nigeria, there is serious collaboration between the monetary and fiscal authorities and if we continue in this direction we will achieve these objectives.”
Commenting on whether the financial sector reforms has been enjoying a buy-in from potential investors, Emefiele said the CBN has “done a lot of reforms like the flexible exchange rate regimes which is picking up gradually, when you have the kind of situation that we have, naturally people will be a bit skeptical but with time as they develop more confidence we will begin to see more and more of them coming into the country.”
The CBN governor acknowledged that “there are positive indications that meeting and networking with foreign delegations and officials of the IMF and World Bank at this meeting we will achieve some of the objectives that we have in mind. We will work together with China to see that we get our fair share of the benefit of being the earliest country to adopt renminbi as an international currency.”