The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has voiced what may be the official position of the Federal Government over the current economic crisis the nation is facing, as she declared on Wednesday that “the times are confusing”.
The minister was reacting to the latest report on the state of the Nigerian economy released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
The NBS, in the report put inflation rate at 17.1 per cent while the number of those who have lost their jobs in recent time grew to 4.58 million.
The economy also contracted for the second time in a row, confirming that the Nigerian economy is officially in recession.
Adeosun, who spoke after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, however insisted that though the times are confusing, government is not confused.
The minister said: “It’s the worst possible time for us. Are we confused? Absolutely not. How are we going to get ourselves out of this recession? One, we must make sure that we diversify our economy. There are too many of us to keep on relying on oil.
“We can see what happened at the output data of the oil and gas sector. What’s happening in the Niger Delta has dragged down the GDP of the entire economy. We’re too dependent on oil whereas 87 per cent of our GDP is oil. So let us drive those other areas.
“No, we are not confused, the time are confusing but we are not confused. We are extremely focused. We know that if we can just bear and get through this difficult period, Nigeria is going to be better for it.
“If we rely on oil and the price of oil remains low and the quantity of oil remains low, we can’t grow. We have to grow our non-oil economy. I think we have a long way to go.
“We’re not confused and we’re not deceiving ourselves that everything is rosy. It’s not. It’s a difficult time for Nigeria but I think Nigeria is in the right hands and if we can stick with our strategy. We still have some adjustments to make. I think we need to make some adjustments in monetary policy. It’s quite clear we do and we will do that. We’re working on that. We need to try and find a way to support the manufacturing sector better and we will do that.”
According to Mrs Adeosun, the high inflation rate in the country is cost-pushed.
“And when you have cost-push inflation, it is structural inflation. It is not going to respond to monetary policy tools such as increasing the rate of interest. We have to address the structural causes of the inflation”, Adeosun said.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews…
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