The federal government has said that it is no longer in a position to borrow more money but will rather seek to create a stable macroeconomic environment.
The minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Wale Edun disclosed this at the end of the maiden Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday.
He said the goal of the ongoing reforms is to focus on equity and to attract investment.
Edun explained: “Clearly, the federal government is not in a position to borrow at this time. Rather, the emphasis has to be on creating a stable, macroeconomic environment.
“Stable inflation, stable exchange rate. An environment within which people can come and invest and thereby increase production and further grow the economy. Improve and create jobs and reduce poverty.
“So, the aim of all reforms at this time is to focus on what we call equity to focus on investment to attract investment investment by Nigerians. Investment by foreign direct investors and even investment by portfolio investors that want to invest in the financial aspects of the Nigerian economy, such as the stock market, such as the bond market.
“And so that is the plan. That is the expectation and it is that there will not be a reliance on borrowing. Rather, as revenues increase, as the benefit of removing fuel subsidy and the subsidy on the exchange rate, mean more money for government at all levels.
“Because, of course, through oil revenue, the federation earns dollars and if those dollars are feeding through, at let’s say, 700/750 or so naira to one dollar as opposed to 460 where it was before; clearly, that is repairing the finances of government are federal state and local government levels. So, that’s the plan.”
The coordinating minister for the economy, had presented the “Roadmap for the economy,” which was considered by the council.
He added that the council agreed that the economy is not where it should be.
Edun said FEC examined eight priority areas and identified targets to deliver in the next three years.
He affirmed that President Tinubu has charged the ministers to roll out policy and programmes to turn around the economy.
He said: “First he congratulated everybody and emphasised the high expectations of Nigerians and he encouraged us to be bold and courageous and innovative and to act with urgency in delivering a better life to all Nigerians.
“Essentially, we went through an exercise of looking at where things stood regarding the economy, the growth rate, the exchange rate, inflation, unemployment and so on.
“The overriding conclusion is that we’re not where we should be and we also examined the President’s eight-point agenda, that is, the eight priority areas for moving the Nigerian economy forward and for delivering to Nigerians and those are basically food security; ending poverty, economic growth and job creation, access to capital, particularly consumer credit, inclusivity in all its dimensions, particularly as regards youths and women, improving security, improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies operate, rule of law, and of course, fighting corruption.
“It is around those matrix that the plans and the targets of what will be delivered in the next three years or so were identified, discussed and inputs were given by various ministers and we’ll now go away with the marching order to refine further the targets in particular and within weeks to start rolling out policies and programmes to turn around the economy and make things better for all Nigerians.
“That really is the substance of what the discussions was all about.”
President Tinubu had earlier given the FEC a marching order to marshal the revival of the economy and make life more bearable for the people as he observed that Nigerians expect a lot from his government.
While noting that he has delegated some powers to them, Tinubu stated: “You are a very lucky person to be selected among millions of Nigerians and we will use the opportunity to show that Nigeria has what it takes to dig ourselves out of our problems.
“We must find a homegrown re-engineering of our finances, manage our resources and let the economy work for the people of this country.
“There are so many things some cynics will say is impossible. But in your dictionary of service, everything is possible and must be possible.
“We have the talents; we have the level of intellectual capacity to turn this country around.
“You and I know that the expectation is high and it’s a tough time right now. We must work hard, commit ourselves and create a buoyant economy that will serve every Nigerian.
“We have an employment level that is unacceptable. We are threatened by climate change. We still have underemployment. But to turn things around, you have been selected to perform your utmost best.”
“We must unlock the energy and natural resources of this country. We must start producing for ourselves, and dig ourselves out of the hole. We must focus on education, healthcare and social investment that is essential for the development of our people.
“Our priority areas are defined in our economic programmmes. Every area is our priority and you belong in the driver’s position to realize and make that priority a fulfilling promise to the entire nation and the continent of Africa.
“You must achieve the economic growth that is expected of us. We must feed our people. We must leverage on what we have and grow more to satisfy Nigerians. It is all in your hands now. I am ready to listen.”
Also speaking on the marching order for action, the coordinating minister for health and social welfare, Ali Pate, said the president has told the ministers to ensure that the expectations of Nigerians are met.
He explained: “The president’s vision is that of economic growth, prosperity for all, ending poverty. I think the coordinating minister of the economy laid out those important priorities, which were discussed in the Council Chambers today.
“One element that is key and underlying all of those efforts is the people. Nigeria’s most important asset is its people, its youthful population and the human capital that is bestowed in that youthful population.
“So, Mr president’s vision includes the idea of harnessing the human capital of our youthful population, to achieve the prosperity for everyone.
“To mobilise the social capital that is in our country, uniting us as a people, to drive this transformation that is his direction for the administration, that includes dealing with nutrition, food and we have the minister of agriculture and food security, health, preventive diseases, but also quality of health, not only as an area that supports people to live healthier lives, but a healthier people also drive economic growth.
“Education, to ensure that people are not left behind, so that the child of anyone can aspire to the highest levels so that we’ll have an inclusive economy as the minister of finance and coordinating minister indicated.
“The poorest and the most vulnerable populations; girls, women, children, disabled are an important element in that human capital agenda of this administration.
“The bias is towards action so that we’ll get things done and he’s very clear on that, the president wants us to domesticate our efforts within our own national context, but also to be very practical in the interventions that we’ll make.
“With those marching orders, we now have our jobs cut out for us and we’ll continue to define, as the coordinating minister of the economy indicated.
“The president has high expectations and he urges us to ensure the high expectations of Nigerians are met and I believe that the entire cabinet is enthused to follow the president’s directions and to start to deliver for Nigerians.”
In his remark, the minister of agriculture and food security, Abubakar Kyari in government will focus on availability, accessibility and affordability of nutritional food.
However, he noted the challenges in the effort to ensure food security such as insecurity, flooding and migration of predatory pests.
In her contribution, the minister of industry, trade and investment, Doris Anite, said Tinubu has mandated her ministry to improve on the number of jobs created, saying that they will work towards producing 50 million jobs.
She added that the ministry has a comprehensive plan to roll out soon.
Anite also said that the ministry will pay attention local investors and only bring in foreign investors in areas where local ones cannot be found.
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