Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has told senior staff of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that there are many opportunities for investment in Nigeria beyond the oil sector.
Speaking at a meeting in Washington DC, where he attended the Spring Meeting of the IMF/World Bank, Udoma, who had discussions with senior staff of IMF on technical assistance on budget issues, particularly on forecasting, policy analysis and expenditure management, also met with officials of the African Department of the Fund, where he discussed developmental issues; as well as with some investors interested in Nigeria.
This is coming a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari, speaking at a Business Forum of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, disparaged the country and said a lot of Nigerian youths sit down and do nothing while hoping for freebies from government because Nigeria is an oil producing nation.
The president’s comment had attracted wide condemnation from most Nigerian youths and leaders.
But Udoma who also participated in some events and seminars including the presentation of the African Regional Economic Outlook; a seminar on Debt and Growth: a balancing Act; Attracting Investments in sub-Saharan Africa; Building Human Capital: A project for the world; also that on the state of the African region: leveraging innovation to transform agriculture and energy, made frantic efforts to convince investors and IMF officials of investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Udoma also made efforts to counter negative perception of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the government emphasising the positive growth trend of the Nigerian economy as a result of the policy initiatives in the ERGP.
He said that there was general acknowledgment that Nigeria’s economy has turned the corner and was growing again adding that while the turnaround has been helped by the oil price, growth is now a little more balanced.
While interacting with journalists on the sidelines of the Spring Meeting, the Minister explained that he was in Washington to market the ERGP and interact with colleagues from other countries to share experiences and also to learn from the experiences of others. He was pleased to note that one of the key messages from the presentations at the Spring Meeting of the IMF/World Bank, is general agreement that Sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly, Nigeria, was growing more positively.
He was happy to see the positive projections being made by the IMF on Nigeria. In their recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) they identified a number of positive developments in Nigeria, including the new foreign exchange measures that have contributed to better Forex availability and macro-economic stability; as well as the implementation of various initiatives outlined in the ERGP.
He added however, that in spite of these positive developments, “we still have more work to do as we cannot afford to relax until we achieve our national growth target of 7% by 2020”.
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