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Wale Edun:  Nigeria Not In A Position To Borrow, Emphasis Should Be On Building A Macro-Economic Environment

He also said that Tinubu inherited a bad economy, but he has promised to fix it.

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, has stated that the Federal Government is not in the position to borrow money at this time, adding the emphasis was on how to create a macroeconomic environment where both local and foreign investors will invest and increase production.

In a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the ministers that constitute the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday, Edun said that the aim of the reforms that were being put in place is to focus on equity to attract investments in the country.

The finance minister said, “Clearly, the federal government is not in a position to borrow at this time. Rather, the emphasis has to be on creating a stable, macroeconomic environment.

“Stable inflation, stable exchange rate, an environment within which people can come and invest and thereby increase production and further grow the economy.

“Improve and create jobs and reduce poverty. So, the aim of all reforms at this time is to focus on what we call equity to focus on investment to attract investment by Nigerians.

“Investment by foreign direct investors and even investment by portfolio investors that want to invest in the financial aspects of the Nigerian economy, such as the stock market, such as the bond market.

“So that is the plan. That is the expectation and it is that there will not be a reliance on borrowing. Rather, as revenues increase, as the benefit of removing fuel subsidy and the subsidy on the exchange rate, those mean more money for the government at all levels.

“Because, of course, through oil revenue, the federation earns dollars and if those dollars are feeding through, at let’s say, N700/N750 or so to one dollar as opposed to N460 where it was before; clearly, that is repairing the finances of government are federal state and local government levels”, he said.

Edun, while presenting the “Roadmap for the Economy” during the meeting, noted that the Council agreed that the economy was not where it ought to be.

According to him, the FEC examined eight priority areas and identified targets to deliver in the next three years or thereabout, adding that the president has directed the Ministers to roll out policy and programmes to turn the economy around.

He said: “First the President congratulated everybody and emphasised the high expectations of Nigerians and he encouraged us to be bold and courageous and innovative and to act with urgency in delivering a better life to all Nigerians.

“Essentially, we went through an exercise of looking at where things stood, regarding the economy, the growth rate, the exchange rate, inflation, unemployment and so on.

“The overriding conclusion is that we’re not where we should be and we also examined the President’s eight-point agenda, that is the eight priority areas for moving the Nigerian economy forward and for delivering to Nigerians and those are basically food security; ending poverty, economic growth and job creation, access to capital, particularly consumer credit, inclusivity in all its dimensions, particularly as regards youths and women, improving security, improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies operate, rule of law, and of course, fighting corruption.

“It is around the matrix that the plans and the targets of what will be delivered in the next three years or so were identified, discussed and imputes were given by various ministers and we’ll now go away with the marching order to refine further the targets in particular and within weeks to start rolling out policies and programmes to turn around the economy and make things better for all Nigerians. That really is the substance of what the discussion was all about”.

Commenting on the economy and what was inherited by the present administration, Edun said the Tinubu administration inherited a bad economy with an unacceptable high rate of unemployment, with inflation standing at 24 per cent.

His words: “Per capita has fallen steadily, inflation is at 24 percent, unemployment is high, you know they are rebasing the way in which it’s calculated. Either way, it is high and youth unemployment is even unacceptably high, these are the key metrics that we have met.”

Asked to be specific on the kind of economy the Tinubu administration inherited, the Minister said, “We met a bad economy and the promise of Mr. President is to make it better”.

Deji Elumoye

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