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Nigeria Not Broke, Has Revenue Problem – Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that Nigeria is not broke, and has continued to generate revenue on a monthly basis.

Although Ahmed admitted that the country is not earning enough. She cited oil revenue as a reason, disclosing the sector is underperforming due to criminality.

In the absence of growth in oil revenue, the minister, during a nation briefing on her ministry’s scorecard in the past seven years on Thursday, in Abuja, said non-oil revenue has increased significantly.

She stated that with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited curbing oil theft, revenue from oil pick up. According to Ahmed, about 1.3 million barrels per day is now produced by the NNPC, rising from about 800,000 barrels per day.

Speaking to the press, Ahmed said, “Nigeria isn’t broke. We continue to generate revenue on a monthly basis and these revenues are distributed at FAAC. We also disclose how much is distributed monthly to the three tiers of government.”

Ahmed said, “We have also witnessed a significant increase in non-oil revenue. Unfortunately, oil revenue has underperformed because of the criminality but recently the NNPC has reported that has been curtailed and we are beginning to see the pick-up with the production levels. This means more revenue will come to the government.”

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The minister also said the current revenue recorded by the government is low, giving President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration no choice but to borrow.

“What we have isn’t enough to cover what we need hence the borrowings,” Ahmed said, adding that, “There is a debt management board chaired by the Vice President. The debt management strategies are being followed judiciously. At 33 per cent to GDP, we are still the lowest within countries that are our comparatives.”

Nigeria has revenue problem

Despite stating Nigeria is not broke, she explained that the country has revenue problem, regardless the increase in non-oil revenue, and needs to increase its consumption level.

Ahmed disclosed that Nigeria’s consumption level is low, and there’s need to incentivize micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to grow their contribution to the gross domestic product.

“But again, I still say we have a revenue problem in spite of the increase in non-oil revenue because our performance 8-9 per cent of GDP, the revenue is not enough.

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“We are a population of about 200 million who deserve service. Our consumption level is low. So we need to keep looking ways to incentivize the business so MSMEs who are the largest contribution to labour and economy continue to grow.”

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