Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the minister of Budget and Planning has highlighted two key reasons that have made it inevitable for Nigeria to keep borrowing from external bodies.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Fiscal Policy Roundtable and Tax Investment and Competitiveness Policy Commission on Saturday, she highlighted the reasons as the dual reality of COVID-19 pandemic and the drop in the price of oil in the international market.
She added that before the global health and economic challenges, Nigeria had been grappling with low revenue, noting that the crises had put the country in a difficult situation, which had made it difficult for the government to meet some of its obligations.
The minister, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy, Mrs Sarah Alade, also added that more than 21 million jobs could also be affected by the impact of the pandemic.
“We’ve had to grapple with low revenue, even before the pandemic. We had high debt, weak infrastructure base, low human capital and low revenue that is largely dependent on the foreign exchange earned from oil. So, there are many things we have loved to do that we cannot do.
“Due to the global economic slowdown and the revenue issues, what we are expecting is a GDP that would contract, in the best case scenario, by about 4.4 per cent and in the worst case scenario, it could be about eight per cent or more.
“We are in a very difficult situation but we are trying to manage that because if nothing is done, up to about 21 million jobs could also be affected by the impact of the pandemic. So, with all these statistics, we cannot overemphasise the importance of raising revenue.”
Source: News update