We are in a much better place – Finance Minister Edun tells Reps

Elizabeth AtimeFebruary 6, 20245 min

Where we are as a nation is a much better place than we were on May 29, 2023, according to the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun.

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun; the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso; and, Zacch Adedeji, Chairman,  Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have all assured Nigerians of better days despite high inflation rate.

These assurances were given when they appeared at the sectoral debate organised by the House of Representatives for the finance sector and stakeholders on the current cost of living in Abuja on Tuesday.

Edun, who is also the coordinating Minister of the economy, insisted that Nigerians were at a much better place than where the country was in 2023, adding that the economy was in shambles by way of the subsidy removal.

“Where we are as a nation is a much better place than we were in on May 29, 2023,” he declared.

“As things improve, there will be further intervention on behalf of the vulnerable to assist in the cost of living. Let us be confident, calm, and assured that Nigeria will change in terms of economic management and that there will be intervention in every sector.”

Edun also noted that inflation had increased and the cost of living had spiked, but stated that President Bola Tinubu was committed to protecting the poorest and the vulnerable.

On his part, Bagudu said the president was committed to nation-building, adding that President Tinubu is doing all in his power to address the challenges currently being faced by Nigerians.

What is happening in our country is obvious to someone visiting a construction site; we are very clear that we are on the right path and the challenges of the moment are being tackled.

“We are getting support from. international partners, and they are all acknowledging the commendable steps that the president is taking.

“We have seen investments in the rail sector, the NNLG (Nigeria Natural Liquefied Gas), and we assure you that we will overcome the challenges of the moment and sustain the economic growth as promised by the President,” he said.

In his intervention, Cardoso expressed confidence about the positive outcomes from policies of the Tinubu administration revealing that yesterday over $844 million in transactions took place in the country which is the first of its kind in many years.

We are at a turning point in our economy and we will address the challenges sustainably. Happily, as of yesterday, we recorded $844 million transactions for the very first time. 

“The concern as per the cost of living is genuine, and the urgency of the matter is not lost on us as the CBN is working tirelessly with the National Assembly and relevant stakeholders to bring a lasting solution to inflation.

He said inflation was expected to decline in 2024, adding that this would be aided by improved agricultural productivity.

He said that the challenges of the exchange rate had been tackled, adding that they were fueled by speculation, increased forex demand, increased capital outflow, excess liquidity, and increased demand, among others and the CBN was addressing the forex demand by clearing forex operations and adjusting the remuneration standard deposit, among others.

Adedeji, the FIRS boss, said the service was not a revenue-generating agency but a revenue-collection agency, adding that the agency was doing a lot to increase the nation’s revenue base.

According to him, the target for 2023 revenue was N10 trillion, and it achieved N12.3 trillion because of the decision taken by the President to rectify the distortion in the economic parameters and remove the fuel subsidy.

According to him, “We have overperformed in VAT collection and company income tax. We have the target of collecting N19.2 trillion in 2024.”

He added that the N19.2 trillion target was based on the fact that it would not collect new taxes but bring more people into the tax rate adding that less than 60 companies, as of today, contribute less than 60 per cent to the nation’s company income tax.

Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia), the Deputy Speaker who presided over the sectoral debate thanked the men for honouring the invitation of the House saying it was imperative to recognize the urgency and importance of the agenda.

“I want to thank you for coming. You honoured Nigerians by being here. I thank honourable colleagues for proving you are honourable, by carrying the burdens of Nigerians by asking questions bordering Nigerians. We must also confront the stark realities of the economic, fiscal, and revenue challenges that our beloved nation, Nigeria, is currently facing.

“In the face of global economic shifts and domestic challenges, it is clear that robust reform measures are not just beneficial but imperative. We are at a pivotal moment where the decisions we make and the policies we implement will impact the lives of millions of Nigerians,” he stated.

Elizabeth Atime

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