Nigerians are in to see a future where the majority have been sustainably lifted out of poverty, and have access to fundamental services, including education, health care, water supply and sanitation, according to Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget And national Planning.
Speaking recently at the BusinessDay Investment and Capital Market Conference: ‘Market Recovery, Innovation and Regulation In Nigeria’, held in Abuja, she said the country looks to a future where all are financially included, with affordable access to financial products and services. A future where we have left no one behind.
Considering the Nigerian capital market as the spring board, Ahmed stated that it is crucial to actualizing this future, and to achieving the sustained, inclusive and equitable socio-economic growth that the Government aims to achieve.
In her words: “It allows for the mobilisation of long-term savings for investment as well as efficient pricing of financial instruments. Further it has provided a necessary platform through which the business sector and Government have been able to source for capital to expand their operations and provide public goods and services for the citizens.”
“Therefore, we recognise the importance of maintaining a competitive, resilient and innovative capital market through, in part, the development of appropriate policies, and a strong regulatory and enabling environment, and continued implementation of the 10-year Capital Market Master Plan (2015 to 2025), aimed at positioning the Nigerian capital market for accelerated development of the national economy.”
Having recognised that Nigeria’s past failure to plan and execute for sustainable, diversified, inclusive growth and development led to the inevitable recession precipitated by external shocks (oil price collapse) and other factors, she disclosed that Government remains committed to executing the Economic recovery growth plan’s (ERGP) priorities programmes such as: developing the investment-driven non-oil sector that is not dependent on oil earnings; and using oil and non-revenues to transition away from past dependencies on the oil sector.
Ultimately, it is, as she posited, about building a more resilient foundation, moving forward. It is also about a strong, innovative and thriving capital market which is integral to such a future.
She stated: “As we continue towards sustainable, diversified and inclusive growth and development, Government remains mindful of the following: Current and prospective Economic Headwinds; Slower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and recovery due to challenges in the agriculture (e.g. security, floods, etc.) and oil sector (e.g. technical issues, underinvestment in production, etc.); The lingering impact of politics and the 2019 elections on investor sentiment, economic recovery and growth; Revenue challenges as economy recovers (e.g. tax revenues to rise in tandem with economic recovery, although with a one-year time lag for corporate and trade related taxes); and the issues of sustainability relating to the debt service to revenue ratio.”
According to Ahmed, Government is currently focusing on the implementation of policies and programmes in line with the following 11 priority areas that highlight (a) Economic and governance reforms: Macroeconomic stability through coordinated economic, monetary, fiscal and trade policies; Fight corruption and improve governance; (b) Enhanced investments in physical infrastructure, human capital development, to spur job creation and economic growth, improve health, education and productivity of Nigerians, and ensure energy sufficiency (power); Ensure energy sufficiency (petroleum products); Improve transportation and other infrastructure; Drive industrialization, focusing on macro, small and medium-sized enterprises; Optimize investments in physical security and food security to drive inclusive socio-economic development; Improve security for all citizens; Enhance agriculture self-sufficiency to achieve food security; Enhance social inclusion by scaling-up social investments; and improve access to mass housing and consumer credit to enhance financial inclusion.