The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has affirmed the commitment of the administration to grow the Nigerian Economy in spite of the challenges of Covid-19 and the dwindling revenue from oil, stating that government is implementing effective strategies to address challenges.
The Minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, spoke during the three-day Fourth National Workshop which theme was “Covid-19 and the Global Economy, implications on the Nigerian National Treasury’ which took place at Ibom Hall, IBB Way, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
A statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Henshaw Ogubike quoted the minister as saying:
“We have on ground strategy geared towards the expansion of government’s activities to cushion the effect of the pandemic with the estimated stimulus package made available by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the tune of 2.3 trillion,” adding that the packages consisted, to a large extent, of a combination of fiscal and monetary policies, sectoral interventions, and social programmes, stating that the fiscal and monetary policies were support to States, businesses, households, and individuals through grants, tax reliefs, payroll support, tariff reduction, and direct support to the health sector.
The Minister commended the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel and the members of the State Executive Council for accepting to Host the 4th National Treasury Workshop in the State, noting that the theme of the workshop was apt and has effectively captured the mood of the Nation, considering the dwindling revenue profile of the country and the attendant challenges in the cash flow occasioned by the pandemic.
“The enormity of the challenges posed by the pandemic calls for prudent management of available resources,” she said, adding that stakeholders must devise better administrative mechanisms that will update and enlighten various principals about the reality staring us in the face which is the paucity of funds and how to resolve the revenue challenges,” Ahmed said.
While saying that government has taken deliberate steps to increase non-oil revenue generation, she explained that the steps include VAT reforms in finance Act 2020, maintaining the increase in VAT rate to.7.5%, custom Administration Enhancement, tax incentives and exemptions, increased remittances, and recovery of unremitted revenues from cross-border business transactions among other measures.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, called on managers of the Nigerian economy and economic experts to evolve strategies and practices that could be deployed in the effective management of inevitable financial challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the reality of the pains inflicted on the Nigerian economy and the national treasury by the pandemic has made it overtly imperative to fashion out ways to effectively manage the economy during pandemic and tackle pandemic-induced financial challenges.
Idris tasked the economic experts and government officials to come up with viable ideas that will, among other things, help the country withstand financial shock caused by the pandemic, and also help control aggregate cash flows within fiscal, monetary and legal limits to improve the management of critical government borrowings.
According to him, strategies and approaches should be evolved that will also help establish and sustain the consciousness of accountability for public expenditure, efficient budget execution and resource allocation as well as effective public service delivery that accords value for money at all times.
In his address, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel thanked the Accountant General of the Federation and his team for bringing the Fourth National Treasury Workshop to the State saying: “Let me also, specifically welcome the Honorable Minister of Finance, Dr. Mrs Zainab Ahmed to our State. It is assuring and proactive in context and breathe, the desire of the organizers of this workshop, as part of the global financial architecture , to look into ways and means of positioning the Nigerian Economy in the post-Covid-19 era.
Governor Udom, who was optimistic of the success of the workshop, maintained that the workshop is timely and will help to fast-tract national economy recovery.
Goodwill messages were delivered by government functionaries and stakeholders in global economy reformation sector. There were also resourceful paper presentations by seasoned scholars.