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Nigerian govt blasts Atiku over comments about ‘bleak’ economy

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The Federal Government has alleged that Atiku Abubakar’s assertion that the country’s economic future is “bleak” is just scaremongering.

Atiku, the presidential candidate for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming general elections in 2023, made the declaration when he recently presented his Economic Blueprint to Nigerians.

However, despite Nigeria’s economic difficulties, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, stated that there was still optimism for the country’s future during a media conference on Thursday in Abuja.

“The country’s economic outlook is not bleak. Instead, the economy has been resilient, having recovered from two recessions within five years – in 2016 and 2020.

“The Nigerian economy sustained its recovery from the 2020 recession for the 7th consecutive quarter, growing by 3.54 per cent in real terms in Q2 2022, from 3.11 per cent in Q1 2022.

“Many sectors recorded positive economic growth reflecting the effective implementation of policy measures prescribed in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), Annual Budgets, Finance Acts and National Development Plan (NDP),’’ he explained.

Read also:Atiku campaign organisation downplays PDP crisis, says it’s part of democracy

The minister also faulted Atiku’s position that ‘Nigeria under the APC-led government has consistently run on budget deficits for some time.

it came to power in 2015’, and the ‘budget deficits are often above the three per cent threshold permissible under the Fiscal Responsibility Law’.

“This is a misrepresentation of the facts. The truth is that Nigeria has been running on budget deficits since 2009 (not since 2015), even when oil prices were more than US$100 per barrel.

“You will recall that oil prices fell significantly from mid-2014, resulting in the country’s economic recession in 2016.

“The urgency to recover from the recession through an expansionary fiscal policy resulted in the continued budget deficits,’’ he said.

According to the minister, the Buhari administration is actively implementing the debt reduction plan that Atiku outlined.

Mohammed recalled that the former vice president said, ‘we will review the country’s debt strategy by focusing on concessional and semi-concessional sources with lower interest rates and relatively long-term maturity.’

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