President Muhammadu Buhari has said that with the high price of oil in the world markets, producing at about half our OPEC quota has deprived Nigeria of much needed revenue and foreign exchange.
The President said this Friday at the State House, Abuja, while inaugurating the Presidential Committee on the National Economy.
He, however, said that the government was working “tirelessly” to reverse this situation.
President Buhari said the Nigerian economy had continued to grow and maintain an upward trajectory despite the disruptions in global economy and internal troubles.
He, nonetheless, said the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the loss of substantial volumes of oil had had negative impacts on the Nigerian economy.
He said some of the problems could be addressed internally, making the constitution of the seasoned economic experts expedient.
“It is however important to note that some of the issues we must address are peculiar to us. For example, the decline in our production of crude oil. It is estimated that last month, August 2022, we produced less than 1mn barrels. The fall in production is essentially due to economic sabotage.”
President Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, assured Nigerians that despite these hiccups, necessitating borrowings from financial sources, the current administration remained committed to the welfare of the citizens, especially the implementation of the Social Investment Programmes.
According to him, “While citizen concern about borrowing is well understood, our resort to borrowing must also be appreciated in the context of the resources required to deliver on the infrastructure, health and other socio-economic needs of our citizens.”
He stressed the need to upscale resource mobilization and utilization in the country as more could be achieved in this direction.
“Tax revenues are approximately 8 per cent of our output. This compares very badly with those countries against which we measure ourselves that achieve 15-25 per cent. In the absence of revenue, our ability to deliver the most basic services is limited.”
President Buhari said that while he understood the concerns arising from the huge expenditure on fuel subsidy, it was expedient that a right balance be struck not to scare away investors and protect citizens.
On the mandate and constitution of the Committee under his headship with representations from State Governors, the President said he is convinced that it will deliver as expected for the benefit of the populace:
“The Presidential Committee of the National Economy, which I am inaugurating today, aims to bring together all policy makers responsible for the economy. In this way, we share a common understanding and approach to resolving the issues I have identified and many more.
“This Committee, will provide our nation an opportunity to be bold, more proactive, and innovative in tackling persistent challenges. The work with which I have tasked the assembled team will enable us respond more swiftly and efficiently.”
Presentations were made at the event by Dr Doyin Salami, Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, as well as Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.
Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, represented Chairman of the Governors Forum.
The Presidential Committee on the Economy is chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and has as members the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN; Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum; Dr. Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget, and National Planning; Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment; and Chief Timipre Sylva, Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum.
Other members include Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President; Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Dr. Mohammed Sagagi, Vice Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.
The Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Doyin Salami, is Member/Secretary of the Committee.