Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance has said that the Federal Government is recording a steady macroeconomic stability in recent times, adding that inflation remained on consistent decline while exchange rates also remained stable.
The minister said this at the official inauguration of 2019 African Economic Outlook and West Africa Regional Outlook at the headquarters of African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by Alhaji Mahmood Isa-Dutse, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ahmed disclosed that in addition, the country’s external reserves had been rising and currently standing at over 17 months of import cover.
She explained that the present administration had placed great emphasis on diversification of the economy so as to avoid the pitfall of commodity dependence.
According to her, apart from the massive support for agricultural transformation, government has also committed to accelerate growth of the manufacturing sector, focusing on supporting small and medium enterprises.
She said that FG was also committed to improving the business environment in order to create incentives for private sector productivity and competitiveness.
“Besides, the ongoing infrastructural development in power and transport sectors, there are improvements in the process of business registration aimed at encouraging local and international investors.
“Our investments and reforms in the energy sector are consistent with the recommendations contained in the African Economic Outlook 2019, notably the need to consolidate regional power pools across the continent and strengthen the regulatory bodies and frameworks.
“However, the process of diversification and infrastructural development requires massive and considerable finance, both from the private sector and development partners.
“As a government, we are already utilising the capital market to raise infrastructure financing through the SUKUK bonds. The president recently signed Executive Order No. 8 which allows private sector to invest in infrastructural development with a negotiated tax compensation” she said.
The minister thanked AfDB for coming up with such documents that would be useful for policy makers, researchers and development partners in Africa.
The AfDB’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in his remark said that since inception, the African Economic Outlook and Regional Economic Outlook had served as useful report highlighting the continent’s underlying economic growth prospects and opportunities.
Represented by AfDB’s Senior Director in Nigeria, Mr Ebrima Faal, Adesina said that the reports were reshaping the narrative on Africa’s socio-economic landscape.
He said they had also provoked policy discussions and helped policy makers and investors to make informed decisions in response to country specific developments.