Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun has said that Nigeria was already getting out of the economic recession as a result of some positive measures the Federal Government was putting in place.
Adeosun, who spoke with journalists after the closing ceremony of the 2016 National Council of Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said the economic recovery process would be driven by local, state and federal governments.
She disclosed that the recovery plan of the government was to invest more infrastructure and stop wastage in government, stressing: “We are investing more in capital expenditure than we have ever invested. We are sorting out infrastructure, we are stopping wastage and so the sign of recovery is already there.
“We are already getting out of recession because of the actions the Federal Government is taking. If you are in a problem, the day you start to step towards progression, you are already getting out of it.”
The minister, who expressed optimism that the efforts of the government towards diversification of the economy from oil to agriculture and solid minerals were already yielding positive results, further said: “Agriculture and solid minerals are already starting to grow and so they are responding to our policy initiative and we are expected to continue in that direction.
“Nigeria is getting out of the trouble that we have found ourselves; we are turning things around and I believe everybody is united and this recovery will be driven from the state and local governments.”
She, therefore, urged the finance commissioners from the 36 states and other stakeholders that attended the conference not to see the task of economic recovery as that of the Federal Government alone but rather join hands to save the economy.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his speech at the opening ceremony of the conference on Tuesday threw his weight behind the sale of national assets as one of the major steps to revamp the economy.
He said that he foresaw the recession two years ago and hinted the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration but did not take any proactive measures against it.
According to him, he saw no reason why some of the country’s assets could not be privatised or sold to raise money to fund the economy, stressing: “If we sell some of the assets, we will be able to re-organise the economy.”
His words: “I see no reason why 48 per cent of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) cannot be privatised. I think the fear people are harbouring is the process by which the assets will be sold and how the money from their sales will be spent. ”
“We should prevent reoccurrence of the past where assets were sold to cabals and friends of the government. We should also limit the number of shares that will be sold to either individuals or corporate bodies.
“I think government should come out and explain to the people how the assets will be sold to allay their fear.”He also expressed worry over the growing number of jobless Nigerian graduates, saying they represent the most dangerous and potent “bombs” to the nation today than “bombs made with gun-powder.”
Governor Ibikunle Amosun attributed the recession to over-dependence on oil and decline in its revenue as well as attacks to the oil pipelines.
He, therefore, urged all tiers of government to imbibe the culture of diversification of the economy from dependence on oil.