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We are committed to the diversification of the private sector- Finance Minister

Grace Okon

The Minister of Finance and Budget National Planning, Dr. Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed said the government is committed to the broad-based objectives of stimulating growth through diversification of the private sector

.She said the government will ensure active participation that is growth inclusive and prioritize investment in critical infrastructure needed to unlock productions and supply constraints, create adequate productive employment and preserve jobs for macroeconomics stability and also poverty reduction equity.

The Minister made the declaration during the launching of the Nigerian Development Update in Abuja.

While underscoring the World Bank Group NDU release every six months, she appreciated their candid assessment and outlook of the report. She welcomed public interaction to discuss the findings of the report since it relates to economic transformation and growth.

“Although the report widely acknowledges how the Nigerians economy has been resilient in the face of the multiple shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding our economic prospects continue to improve with a forecast to witness steady growth beyond 2022. We are closely monitoring the economic indicators including inflation trend which currently reflect rising food price and the unemployment rate”.

The Minister also stated that Nigeria is very optimistic that the recent developments in the oil sector base on the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021.

“We are hopeful about the full reactivation of the  4 public refineries in the country and the completion and coming of the stream 3 private refineries under construction in 2022. We would significantly boost contribution from the sector to our economic growth, as the efforts to sustain subsidies regime remain economically disingenuous.

“Ahead of the targeted date of mid-2022 for the complete elimination of fuel subsidies, partners are working to ensure measures to cushion the potential negative impact of the most vulnerable at the bottom 40% of the population through the institution of the monthly transport subsidy in cash form of #5,000  to between 30-40 million deserving Nigerians”.

According to the Minister with the expansion of social protection policies during the pandemic, the Government has an opportunity to phase out subsidies such as PMS subsidy while utilizing cash transfers to safeguard the welfare of the poor and middle-class households.

“We will therefore accelerate our structural reforms particularly in the power sector, in governance, and in the business environment to unlock the huge potentials of the economic and scale-up social safety net and deepen financial inclusions to reduce poverty and inequality gaps.”

The Minister noted that the digital revolution is looming and waiting to happen spontaneously, indicating that digital economics can transform economic activities by unleashing new productive gains, offering new services while improving government efficiency.

“There is an enormous opportunity for our teeming youth population in this sector, which has largely remained unharnessed with isolated progress and possibilities, hence the need for greater investment in newer and competitive Technology to be made for the provision of critical infrastructure in the telecom sector. We will also ensure maximum protection for such investment the government has mobilized national security for the infrastructure and also engage the local community towards addressing the likelihood of infrastructure vandalization cases.

 

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