Barely 48 hours after the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, appeared before the senators last Tuesday, where he painted a gloomy picture of Nigeria’s economy, with inflation and stagnation being experienced simultaneously, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, last Thursday appeared before the same Senators.
Unlike Emefiele’s session that was held behind closed doors, her appearance was not held in an executive session and she used the briefing to unveil plans and administrative actions that were aimed at promoting private investment in roads, and other infrastructures.
Soon after the Finance Minister was ushered into the Senate Chambers by the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters( Senate), Senator Ita Enang, she went straight to the rostrum from 12.05 to 1.55pm, where she stood to lecture the Senators on the nation’s economy with questions asked by the lawmakers and answers provided by the minister. Mrs. Kemi Adeosun did not hide the fact that the nation’s economy was sick; she told the Senators bluntly that Nigeria as a country was in recession and in a very tough place.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun’s official and point blank verdict on the nation’s economy came two days after the International Monetary Fund, IMF, forecast on Nigeria in its latest World Economic Outlook( WEO) titled “ Uncertainty in the Aftermath of the United Kingdom Referendum” and posted on its website showed that Nigeria’s growth projection for this year was revised downwards, from the 2.3 percent it had forecast in its April report, just as it also foresees a 1.1 percent growth from the 3.5 percent it made in April.
The Finance Minister was summoned to brief the upper Chambers on the state of the economy and issues relating to the implementation of 2016 budget as well as the Monetary/ Fiscal policies adopted to salvage the current economic situation.
During the session, the Minister, who told the Senators that the President Muhammadu Buhari government inherited negative reserves and heavy salary and wage bill of N165 billion, disclosed that so far, the government has released capital vote of N247.9 billion, with plans to release an additional N60 billion very soon, just as she disclosed that the Federal Government has released N74 billion to works in the last two months, compared to N19 billion the ministry received for the whole of 2015. Agriculture has also got the sum of N21.9 billion, compared to the N4 billion the ministry got last year, adding that transport got N22 billion compared to the N6 billion it received last year.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun also used the session to react to recent report by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, on the nation’s economy when she said that the government was not disturbed over such remarks, urging Nigerians not to always panic every time the IMF speaks against the backdrop that the international body is to carry out global economic surveillance. The Finance Minister, expressed optimism that Nigeria as a country would get out of the recession because Nigeria is not the only country experiencing recession at the moment.