Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said that Nigeria does not have a debt problem, despite misgivings amongst experts over the country’s rising debt profile.
Mrs. Zainab decried what she termed ‘insensitivity’ concerning the country’s debt situation, saying, what Nigeria had at the moment was a revenue problem rather than debt challenge.
Ahmad stated this when She spoke at a meeting on Monday evening with the management staff of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. Stating that the federal government will convene a meeting with all donor agencies in the country so that thee organizations will be given directions as to where their interventions are needed. Stressing the need to improve the generation of revenue in the country.
According to the minister, “There is a lot of insensitivity around the level of our debt. “I want to restate that our debt is not too high; what we have is a revenue problem. “Our debt is still very much within a reasonable fiscal limit. In fact, amongst our comparative countries, we are the least in terms of borrowing”.
Noting that, the Federal Government hoped to raise its revenue performance from the 55 percent that was attained in 2018 to 85 percent in the next four years. Stressing also the new for ministry to effectively coordinate donor agencies which were working in the country
“If we don’t do that we will continue to suffer significantly in our capacity to service the national budget,” she warned.
“Donor coordination rests on the shoulders of this arm of the ministry. We want to call, as early as possible, a meeting of all donors so that we will discuss with them and give them a clear direction on what and where we want their intervention”.
Ahmed informed the permanent secretary and directors in the ministry that they had a major role in delivering the mandate of the establishment, and as a result, would be held accountable for any failure.
She said: “It is a very big work that Mr. President has given to us. It is not myself and the Minister of State that will do the work; it is you that will do it. All we are providing is leadership and the enabling environment for you to deliver on the task.
“Within this week, we will be getting out directives on what we need to achieve. We are going to sign up on these directives and we are going to be held responsible for the delivery of the directives. “There will be consequences, not just on the ministers but on the permanent secretaries and the directors. “The anti-corruption fight continues. TSA, IPPIS are tools that we can use to track corruption in the budget process.”
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clement Agba, who said he was lucky to work with Ahmed, stressed that they would work together to realize the assignment given to them by President Muhammadu Buhari.