Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said, yesterday, that there were no quick solutions to Nigeria’s problems.
Adeosun, who spoke on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise, in Lagos, was reacting to assertions by the former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, that President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policies were archaic.
Ezekwesili had, as a guest on Platform, a programme organised by The Covenant Christian Centre last Monday, advised the President to review his policies, saying they were not benefitting the masses.
However, speaking on the television programme, Adeosun dismissed Ezekwesili’s position, maintaining that the federal government had plans to revitalise the economy, noting, however, that there were no quick solutions to the nation’s current economic woes.
“I disagree with Mrs Ezekwesili …,” Adeosun said. “The present government does not operate a command-and-control economic system as alleged by the former minister.
“What we are now trying to do is reset the economy so that we never end up in this situation again; and how do we do that? We have to have a more diversified economy, a more diversified revenue base.
“If you look at oil, its only 13% of our GDP but it represents 70% of government’s revenue, which means if anything happens to oil, it affects everybody.
“The question we are trying to now resolve is: The remaining 87% of GDP, why is it contributing so little to government’s revenue? If we are able to have those other revenues, which are much more stable, predictable and less volatile, then if the oil price goes down, we’ll be able to maintain some level of stability.
“We have looked at what government has been spending money on; only 10% was spent on capital, while 90% was spent on recurrent items as salaries, travelling, training and so on and those things don’t grow the economy; capital (expenditure) is what grows your economy.
“This budget that is being finalized has a 30% commitment to capital and we have said we want to maintain that commitment.
“There are no quick solutions to the current economic woes. We are going to pump N350 billion into the economy until we see growth. The job will be done painstakingly, and we will come out of it better,” Adeosun said.