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FG admits dwindling revenues



… Says Nigeria faces hard times

THE nation is currently grappling with dwindling revenues.

  Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, gave the hint yesterday in a television interview in Awka.

  Admitting that Nigeria’s economy was facing difficult times, for which states must improve their internally generated revenues, Ahmed stated that the money shared at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting of March was short of N50 billion.

  Although she also said that the country’s economy was stabilising from the recession which the country exited a few months ago, the Finance Minister added that Nigeria faces hard times.

  “These are very difficult challenging times because revenues are low and the demand for expenditures are very high understandably because we have to keep intervening to make sure the pandemic is contained as well as the economic impact it has caused. In our case in Nigeria, the crash of the crude oil prices really hit us very hard in terms of revenue. We have very low revenues, we have very high expenditures. What we have done so far is just to provide some stability to make sure salaries are paid, pensions are received every month;  that we send funds to the judiciary and the legislature; that we meet our debt service obligations.

  That’s what we are doing. It also means we have had to borrow more than we have planned before the COVID-19 started because we need to still continue to invest in infrastructure using our national budget.

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  We borrowed to invest in key projects such as roads, rail, airports, seaports and several other investments that are required in health and in education and upgrading the social standards and quality of life of our people and Nigeria is not unique as several countries of the world went into recession.

  Almost every other country has had to borrow more than it planned. It means we expanded our deficit very fast in 2020. 2021 is a year that we see as the year of recovery,” she said.

  Ahmed further explained that government hopes to achieve a growth of three per cent in 2021, adding that some of the multilateral institutions are putting it at 2.5 per cent.

It will be recalled that Gov. Godwin Obaseki recently alleged that Federal Government printed N60 billion to meet up with statutory allocations for last month.

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