The federal government remains hopeful of an economic revival the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has said, even as the country slides into recession.
Low global oil prices have helped push Nigeria’s economy into its worst economic crisis in decades. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrank 0.4 per cent in the first quarter while second-quarter growth figures – expected this week – are to reflect a deepening crisis due mainly to lower oil receipts amid militant attacks in the Niger Delta.
Adeosun told the Financial Times that the government did not dispute the IMF’s forecast last week that the economy would contract 1.8 per cent. “We’re simply saying that we have a very credible plan for dealing with the challenges we are facing, which we’ve been very honest about,” she said.
Although Adeosun thinks “there is still a long way to go”, the government is convinced that “diversifying and repositioning” the oil-dependent economy will bear fruit.
Part of that diversification includes the agricultural sector, where a boost in output is expected this year. “Aggressive” management of food price inflation, which includes low cost loans to farmers and improved distribution of fertiliser, will help bridge the shortfall in oil revenues.
Meanwhile, Adeosun has also called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to see the current economic realities in the country as good opportunities for them to participate actively in the ongoing efforts to reposition the nation’s economy.