Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday reeled out tasks set by the present administration to achieve its economic objectives.
Professor Osinbajo told reporters in Lagos on Thursday that the government strongly believed in public-private dialogue that would enhance the nation’s dwindling economy.
“Our immediate tasks to achieve our economic objectives are: Reduce fiscal and forex imbalances, boost dollar liquidity, curb inflation, lower interest rate and ensure lending to the real sector (as well as) increase FDIs and FPI by sustaining enabling policies,” he said.
The Vice President also expressed sadness at the present economic challenges which had resulted to inflation and the depreciation of the Nigerian Naira among others.
He also lamented the drop in power output which he said was the outcome of the attacks on gas pipelines in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region mostly carried out by a militant group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers.
“Earnings from oil declined in the past eight months due to pipeline vandalism and export assets in the Niger Delta.
“Power output fell from 5,000MW in February to about 2,500MW recently on account of over 60% loss in gas production due to pipeline vandalism,” he said.
After stating the problems facing Nigeria’s economy, Osinbajo highlighted steps the government was taking to revive it.
“In order to tackle these problems, permit me to elaborate on some of the steps taken in this regard.
“Priority attention was given to assist the states and local governments pay the salaries of workers, which were several months in arrears.
“We have had three such interventions, including the latest loan of 90 billion Naira, as part of a fiscal responsibility plan for states,” he explained while addressing the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said that these interventions had helped to boost household spending, which were key steps to prevent the economy from falling into deep recession.
“We have pledged to keep capital spending in the budget at a minimum of 30%.
“Accordingly, we have already made capital releases of 332 billion Naira, with another 100 billion Naira set to be released in the next few days.
“Other policy instruments used in this regard include the TSA [Treasury Single Account], which has brought transparency into inflows & outflows of government monies.
“A great effort has been made to improve non-oil revenues. This includes bringing an additional 700,000 companies into the tax net as compared to the targeted 500,000 set at the beginning of the year.
“FIRS has achieved 73.17% of its target for the first half of the year. Similarly, milled rice capacity is being increased from three million tons annually to 10 million tons of paddy annually,” Osinbajo added.