…As US-Nigeria Investment Summit: SystemSpecs set to showcase Nigerian ingenuity in Fintech
In spite of the warning by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that debt levels in African economies were rising, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun on Friday said Nigeria’s debt level was still sustainable and under control.
Speaking to newsmen on the sideline of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings at the ongoing 2018 IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington DC, Adeosun said Nigeria had nothing to worry about.
“It is correct that debt level in low income countries is a threat but Nigeria is better described as a middle income country.
“The concern that has been expressed, and it’s a legitimate one, is that debt levels in those countries are at 55 per cent of GDP which is very high but Nigeria’s is at less than 20.
“So we are not one of the countries they have expressed concerns about. However we will continue to manage our debt very very responsibly.
“We are at 20 per cent of GDP and we do not intend to grow it aggressively. We are doing well at the moment as debt rate to revenue is going down gradually as we replace debt with revenue and refinancing our debt,” she said.
Adeosun said the government would keep monitoring and analysing its debt levels at every stage so that they don’t fall into the trap that most African States had fallen into.
The Minister reminded Nigerians that due to recession and near collapse of major sources of income, which it had inherited, from the former administration, the government had no choice but to borrow in order to save the country.
“There were two options. One was austerity, cut back, lay people off, and wait for the oil prices to rebound.
“The other was to be more aggressive by expanding the budget, take on more debt and invest in infrastructure in the hope that you will get growth going and then you will be able to develop more revenues.
“Step one, two and three of that has been done. We expanded our budget, we pumped money into the economy, we made sure that recession wasn’t prolonged and we are now back into growth.
“What we need to do now is to accelerate that growth and focus on revenue mobilisation which in turn will reduce our debt pressures.
“Some of the ministers that I was in the meeting with are still in recession. And that means real pain for a long time.
“”In Nigeria, to shorten it, we had to borrow in order to do so and I make no apologies for that, that was the right thing to do,” she said.
On Thursday, the IMF Managing Director, Ms Christine Lagarde opined that Global debt stood at 164 trillion dollars which was 25 per cent of global GDP.
She said the rising debt levels presented risk to low income countries.
Lagarde said such countries may face hardship and be unable to repay these debts if they do not look for alternative measures to borrowing.
In the meantime, SystemSpecs, owners of Remita, the software infrastructure which facilitates payment into Nigeria’s Treasury Single Account (TSA), will fly the Nigerian flag alongside representatives of our the Federal Government and a host of other Nigerian business delegates at the 2018 edition of US-Nigeria Investment Summit.
The two-day summit, organised by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United States of America, will commence on Friday, April 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.
The theme for this year’s Summit is “Nigeria is Open for Business”. Hosted by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor, the Summit attendees will include senior Nigerian government officials and business leaders, who will provide U.S. investors with the necessary assistance and guidance on investment, establishment, and operation of enterprises in Nigeria. Vice President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN, GCON) is expected to deliver the Summit’s keynote speech.
The Summit will be held on the sidelines of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meeting in Washington, DC, U.S.A. Attendees will include ministers and governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, captains of Nigeria’s industry, and their counterparts from the United States, including: The U.S. Department of Commerce, The U.S. Department of State, The U.S. Import-Export Bank, The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, among others.
According to the organisers, “US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018 will be an opportunity to capture Nigeria’s share of foreign direct investment (FDI) into an African market where household consumption will total $2.1 trillion; business spending will increase to $3.5 trillion; and, Africa’s manufacturing output will nearly double to $930 billion by the year 2025.
The US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018 (UNIS) is also the bridge to commercial engagement with Nigeria, Africa’s gateway country and largest economy”.
Nigerian business delegates will include top executives of Dangote Group, Honeywell Group, MTN Nigeria, Forte Oil, Transcorp Hilton, Oriental Energy Resources Ltd, among others.
Participating agencies and government officials include Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works & Housing; Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture; Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation; Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State Petroleum; Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance; Minister of Health Minister of Science and Technology; Minister of Trade and Investment; Governor of Central Bank and Minister of Education.
SystemSpecs’ participation in the event is highly significant, considering the increasing global focus in innovative technology in various sectors and more recently in the financial service sector. Nigeria has a lot of home-grown world-class products and initiatives to promote to the international community.
Nation with additional report from Vanguard