The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, today projected that Nigeria’s economy could sustain its recent growth trajectory and achieve a 7% growth within the next three years.
The minister, who described the country’s economic outlook for the year 2018 and beyond as positive following its exit from recession, made the forecast at the ongoing fourth Ogun State Investors Forum in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Adeosun pointed out that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had succeeded in building macroeconomic resilience for the country, particularly revising the funding mix, rebuilding fiscal buffers, enhancing foreign exchange reserves and focusing on import substitution strategies.
She clarified: “President Muhammadu Buhari has laid the foundation for the repositioning of the economy with a series of reforms which are being sequenced to ensure maximum impact and benefits to Nigeria and the citizens.
“These include massive investments in infrastructure and social welfare across the country, improved revenue mobilisation, rebuilding of foreign reserves and stabilization of exchange rate.”
The Minister explained that the quick reversal of the nation’s economic recession in the second quarter of 2017 after five consecutive quarters of negative performance, meant “less damage” was done to the economy.
Adeosun said that government would increase the fiscal space for infrastructure spending as revenue and growth return, adding that revenue mobilisation is potentially the master key to unlocking Nigeria’s huge growth potentials and funding the infrastructure programmes.
She assured: “The Federal Government will continue to create more fiscal space for reforms to enhance productivity and opportunity in the non-oil sector. Greater focus will also be placed on cost efficiency, blocking revenue leakages and continued support to the States.”
Recalling the actions taken by the present administration since May 2015, the Minister said it had two options of balancing the books by cutting down on expenses and also investing massively in infrastructure and the economy.
The minister explained: “If we had gone for the first option of cutting down on our costs, it means we would have laid off workers. But we chose to stimulate the economy with massive investments in roads, power, rails and other infrastructure as part of deliberate efforts to grow the economy.
“We have invested over N2.5 trillion in infrastructure, especially on capital projects, between 2015 and 2017. If you move round the country, you will see ongoing works in roads, power, bridges, rails and other projects. These are important building blocks for the Nigerian economy.
“Look at the road sector when we came in, it was N19 billion that was invested in the sector in 2015. We invested N307.4 billion on roads in 2016 and N208 billion in 2017.
“Capital spending for the Transport sector has also been remarkable. It was N6.49 billion in 2015, N143.1 billion in 2016 and N133.9 billion in 2017. From where we are coming from, it is a huge chunk, taking it from N6 billion to N133 billion. And there are so many other projects and sectors like that”, Adeosun added.
In his address at the Investors Forum, which has as theme “Consolidating the Gains and Accelerating Growth”, Governor Ibikunle Amosun disclosed that the State attracted 148 new investors with capital outlay of between a minimum of $200 million and in excess of $2 billion in the past seven years.
He noted that the State Government had improved the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“No investment can flourish in an unsecure environment. We made significant investments in our security infrastructure and architecture, and built strong collaborations with the security services, so as to guarantee the security of lives and property,” he said.
The Forum was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former President of Mexico, Mr. Felipe Calderone and eminent persons and captains of industries.