Self-inflicted economic sabotage depriving us of needed revenue

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By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari noted that despite disruptions in the global economy and internal turmoil, the Nigerian economy has continued to be resilient and maintains an upward trajectory.

He noted, however, that some of the problems could be solved internally, making it timely to bring in seasoned economic experts.

According to a statement by Special Advisor on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this during the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on National Economy on Friday.

Buhari said the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the loss of large volumes of oil have had negative impacts on the Nigerian economy.

President Buhari, however, assured Nigerians that despite these setbacks, necessitating borrowing from financial sources, the current administration remains committed to the welfare of the citizens, especially the implementation of social investment programs.

He said: “However, it is important to note that some of the issues we need to address are unique to us. For example, the decline in our crude oil production. It is estimated that last month, August 2022, we produced less than one million barrels. The drop in production is mainly due to economic sabotage.

“With the high price of oil on world markets, producing at about half of our OPEC quota has robbed us of much needed revenue and foreign exchange. The government is working tirelessly to reverse this situation.

President Buhari further assured Nigerians that despite these setbacks, necessitating borrowing from financial sources, the current administration remains committed to the welfare of the citizens, especially the implementation of investment programs. social.

According to him, “While citizens’ concern about borrowing is well understood, our reliance on borrowing must also be seen in the context of the resources needed to meet infrastructure, health and other socio-economic needs. of our citizens.

“It remains a major goal of this administration to continue its social welfare programs. These programs provide support to the most vulnerable of our citizens.

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He also stressed the need to intensify the mobilization and utilization of resources in the country as more could be achieved in this direction.

“This administration is also not ignoring the debates on the mobilization and use of resources. With regard to resource mobilization, our performance as a nation continues to be a cause for concern.

“Tax revenues represent about 8% of our production. This compares very poorly to the countries we measure ourselves against which reach 15-25%. Without income, our ability to provide even the most basic services is limited.

He said while he understands the concerns over huge fuel subsidy spending, it is timely that a fair balance is struck so as not to scare off investors.

He said: “On spending, our focus remains on ensuring that spending is efficient and results-oriented. In this regard, the debate around fuel subsidies is well noted. However, a fine balance must be struck to ensure that, while protecting our citizens, we do not leave room for inefficiencies and leakages.

“It is also important to ensure that our national investment environment is such that local and international private investors can be attracted and retained. Sustainably addressing the challenge of policy predictability and coherence is an important element in this regard.

Presentations were made during the event by Chief Economic Advisor to the President, Dr. Doyin Salami, Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms. Zainab Ahmed, Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, as well as Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.

Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal represented the Chairman of the Governors Forum.

The Presidential Committee on the Economy is chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and counts as members the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum; Dr. Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; and Chief Timipre Sylva, Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum.

Other members include Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Teacher. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President; Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Dr. Mohammed Sagagi, Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.

The chief economic adviser to the president, Salami, is a member/secretary of the committee.

“The Presidential Committee will examine the national economic situation and propose measures to ensure that our national economy improves and can achieve the government’s goals. The Committee will also receive regular updates on economic conditions in the country, identify issues that require urgent intervention to improve macroeconomic and fiscal conditions, review the impact of existing and new policies on the Nigerian economy, and provide guidance to competent institutions responsible for budgetary and monetary issues. , and any other relevant policies.

“In the context of recent developments in the global economy and its impact on Nigeria’s economic trajectory, this Presidential Committee is another clear demonstration of Mr. President’s total commitment to ensuring that the Nigerian economy successfully navigate these difficult times. It will be an ‘economic emergency room’ that will strive to keep Nigeria on the path to economic recovery and growth, global competitiveness as well as inclusive development and sustainability,” the state said. .

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