Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, has called for a review of government’s expenditure, hinting that the country is spending too much.
Ahmed made the call on Monday in an interview with the National Television Authority, Bloomberg reports.
The Finance minister, who received knocks recently for alleged N60bn illegal printing by the Central Bank of Nigeria, was quoted as saying that the federal and state governments have to cut back on spending to deal with their declining revenue, instead of depending on CBN for financing.
“We will make sure that we don’t have to do that,” Ahmed was quoted to have said.
“As a nation, the federal, state and local governments must review expenditure patterns. We are spending too much and we are not generating enough,” she added.
Nigeria emerged from its second recession in four years in the fourth quarter, but revenue remained subdued as a fall in crude prices curbed the main source of income for Africa’s top oil producer.
Ahmed, however, said the government aims to triple its revenue ratio to 15 per cent of gross domestic product.
After revenue collapsed during the last oil shock of 2015, Nigeria turned to its Central Bank, borrowing about a third of its debt from the Abuja-based lender to cover a budget deficit that tripled during that time.
Ahmed said the government would limit deficit monetisation and convert those loans into long-term notes.
She said the Nigerian government has set up a presidential committee to streamline public salaries, mostly those at state-run enterprises.
According to her, the committee has no set deadline but is working to come up with measures to rein in public wages, which account for nearly a third of Federal Government expenditures.
It will be difficult for states to increase domestic revenues when economic growth remains slow, although the government remains confident it can reach its projection for an expansion of three per cent this year, Ahmed said.
She further hinted that the government would maintain its decision to get rid of fuel subsidies, but is in talks with unions about measures to mitigate higher costs on the most vulnerable.
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