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‘Nigeria on path of growth’, Lawan tells IMF

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan said on Thursday Nigeria’s economy was being steered on the path of growth despite the prevailing challenges.

Lawan, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ola Awoniyi, stated this at the virtual Nigeria and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article lV consultation anchored from Abuja.

He listed efforts being made by the Nigerian government at ensuring economic growth and poverty reduction in the country.

He told the participants that Nigeria had to confront the challenge of limited resources, not just because of unpredictable revenue from oil but also because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate president said: “The problems have made us improve our efforts in the prudent management of resources, and in transparency and accountability.

“Our focus has been on sustaining investments in infrastructure and utilities, trusting in their capacities to stimulate economic activities, enhancing growth, and thereafter improving the people’s standard of living.

“The government has continued with its anti-corruption crusade, aside a pledge to ensure discipline in public expenditure process.

“Our recent experiences call for further caution in the management of resources, just as it has been another reminder of the need to increase the drive for diversification.

READ ALSO: IMF downgrades Nigeria’s 2020 GDP growth projection, forecasts 5.4% contraction in economy

“Beyond oil, greater regard is now being paid to the steel, mining and the agriculture sectors.

“The potentials in these sectors are significant for revenue generation and for job creation. They are additionally valuable in the bid to engage critical sections of the population, especially the youth.”

He said the youth had lately been at the centre of national conversation, flowing from the #EndSARS protests.

Lawan added: “We believe that the recent crisis we had in the form of youth protest has also given us an additional idea of how much we need to pay attention to the needs of the youths.

“The government has ended SARS, and is now taking steps towards improving social and economic needs of the youth.

“One of such is the re-launch of the National Young Farmers Scheme (NYFS), by the President on November 9, 2020.

“Our youths have become much more involved, and require greater recognition in terms of social and economic engagement.

“The government has been additionally charged to continue with policies that seek to integrate them into the scheme of things.

“In addition to NYFS is the National Youth Innovation Programme, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development which has capacity to generate N25 billion annually over the next three years, among others.

“We prioritise implementation to show a sustained commitment to policies and programmes.”

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