27th Nigerian Economic Summit: “Nigeria, consistent in loan repayment”- Finance Minister

27th Nigerian Economic Summit: “Nigeria, consistent in loan repayment”- Finance Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says Nigeria does not default in its repayment of loans, hence its favourable reception in the bond market.

The Minister made this known while addressing the press at the end of the just concluded Nigeria Economic Summit, in Abuja.

‘‘We are indeed concerned about paying back loans.

If you look at the records, you will find out that Nigeria has been consistent in paying both local and foreign loans and that is why whenever we go to the market,  they receive us well because we have been faithful in our repayment.

‘‘We do not just put numbers and borrow.

This is a work that was done to determine what is required in terms of expenditure and what we expect to generate in terms of revenue; and the gap that is not financed by other financing items is debt.

“And then we have a debt management strategy that guides how we borrow.

So, borrowing is carefully calibrated to meet the debt service obligations when they fall due,” she explained.

On how impactful the loans are to the nation, Ahmed explained,
‘‘If you see the kind of infrastructure that is being deployed you will see it physically.

When you build a road and the travel time of traveler reduces, that is time saved and money in the pockets of people.

“It is also evident in the quality of roads where you have less accident and those are lives saved.

  So, there are so many impacts that you cannot count them in terms of monetary terms but in terms of improving quality of peoples’ lives and ease of doing business.

Responding to the issue of investment not getting to the right people and why capital expenditures do not rise at the same pace with revenue , the Finance Minister said,
‘‘President Buhari  believes that we must be accountable and  transparent for our actions and also if you see what is happening, people are actually being held responsible for actions they took that are not supposed to be taken.

Now, people know there are consequences for their action.

However, I also believe there should be a reward system.

‘‘…The nature of capital expenditure is because most of them are multi-years projects.

Even when you deploy revenues, they do not come in one year.

It comes in the business productivity and taxes.


Overview of the Summit
There were five thematic areas looked at during the two-day summit, with an overall theme: “Securing Our Future  with Fierce Urgency of Now”.

‘‘Under the sub thematic theme, High and Sustained Growth, we focused on using data to ascertain growth and progress we are already making, ensuring strong investment in the human demographics and infrastructure areas, taking the advantages and opportunities around trade and investment, investing in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Groups, which are very significant to job creation and socio-economic growth, not just at the federal level but local and international levels.

‘‘We also talked about there being strong accountability in terms of everyone seeing the impact being made in various investments from the private and public sectors.

‘‘Within the area of quality of life, we talked about the urgency in investing in women and children demographics, in particular.

“We looked at the area of education and health across different segments of country and taking advantages presented by digitalization to provide opportunities for not just educational development but lives and livelihoods and also the opportunities digitalization uses to impact other areas of health.

‘‘Within the area of national security, there was strong emphasis on national security, creating an overall quality of life and how it also impacts economic development as a whole.

“We talked about improving quality of citizen’s engagement, working along with marginalized groups across the country and investing in knowledge and engagement required to have a long term view in looking at security issues across the nation.

‘‘Regarding political economy, we talked about the political economic structures and impacts they have on the overall national economic growth and the need to invest and encourage young people to venture into politics.

‘‘We also talked about digital transformation, which cuts across all sectors and will be instrumental in ensuring implementation and data-driven implementation and accountability across all levels, job creation and scaling of case studies,”  said the Finance Minister.

Amaka E.

27th Nigerian Economic Summit: “Nigeria, consistent in loan repayment”- Finance Minister

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