Abuja, Nigeria – Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, addressed the state of Nigeria’s economy during a press briefing held in Abuja on Friday. He pointed out that the last time the country enjoyed a stable foreign exchange rate and affordable interest rates was approximately a decade ago.
Edun emphasized the adverse impact of a weakening and depreciating exchange rate, coupled with security concerns, on an economy that has struggled to achieve growth and alleviate poverty. He remarked, “If we think back to when was the last time when the economy was stable, when it was growing, when inflation was low, when the exchange rate was stable, and when interest rates were affordable; that period was about a decade ago.”
He noted that during this period, economic growth reached approximately 6 percent around 2013 to 2014, attributing this growth to the global commodity boom that commenced around 2010. “Oil prices were high; volumes were high,” Edun explained, emphasizing that Nigeria earned significant revenues, including over $80 billion annually, compared to the current figure of approximately $25 billion.
The Minister highlighted the significance of having sufficient foreign exchange and naira revenue for meeting government obligations and fueling economic growth. He stressed that, in the absence of government funds, facilitating and encouraging private investments becomes essential.
Edun recommended that the government explore various funding sources, including foreign direct investment and domestic investment by Nigerians across various sectors. He cited the example of Lagos, where President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during his tenure as governor, opened up several sectors to private investment, including power, roads, infrastructure, waste management, and even cemeteries.
Edun outlined President Tinubu’s priorities, which include improving food security, eradicating poverty, promoting job creation, facilitating access to capital, particularly consumer credit to make essential goods more affordable, and harnessing human resources through inclusivity, with a focus on women and youth. This comprehensive approach aims to provide opportunities for all Nigerians to contribute to economic and societal growth.