Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, on Monday in Abuja, while speaking at a meeting with management staff of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said that debt is not Nigeria’s problem.
Her statement came despite the reports and concern over the nation’s rising debt profile.
According to the Finance Minister, the problem Nigeria currently has is revenue, not debt.
She described the concern over the country’s debt profile as ‘insensitivity’, saying that Nigeria’s debt profile is not too high as being reported.
“There is a lot of insensitivity around the level of our debt.
“I want to restate that our debt is not too high; what we have is a revenue problem.
“Our debt is still very much within a reasonable fiscal limit. In fact, amongst our comparative countries, we are the least in terms of borrowing.”
She noted that there is an urgent need to improve revenue generation in Nigeria, adding that the Federal Government would also convene a meeting where donor agencies would be given directions on areas their interventions are needed.
Zainab further noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government hopes to raise revenue generation from 55% that was attained in 2018 to 85% in the next four years.
“If we don’t do that we will continue to suffer significantly in our capacity to service the national budget,” the finance minister noted.
Speaking about the donor agencies in the country, Mrs. Zainab noted that there is a need for the Budget and National Planning Ministry to coordinate and direct them on were to help, adding that it is not proper for donors to impose programmes (some of which were not necessarily important) on Nigeria.
“Donor coordination rests on the shoulders of this arm of the ministry. We want to call, as early as possible, a meeting of all donors so that we will discuss with them and give them a clear direction on what and where we want their intervention.”
“It is a very big work that Mr President has given to us. It is not myself and the Minister of State that will do the work; it is you that will do it. All we are providing is leadership and the enabling environment for you to deliver on the task.
“Within this week, we will be getting our directives on what we need to achieve. We are going to sign up on these directives and we are going to be held responsible for the delivery of the directives.
“There will be consequences, not just on the ministers but on the permanent secretaries and the directors.
“The anti-corruption fight continues. The TSA, IPPIS are tools that we can use to track corruption in the budget process.”
Princess Ada is a Senior Content Creator and Head of Field Reporters at Naija Buzz News. She is a graduate of The Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State, where she studied Accounting before joining the media industry. She’s well experienced in Nigeria’s online media space. Ada previously worked as the Head of Business Operations at 1Push.Ng. She is a proud Igbo from Enugu State, South-East Nigeria.