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Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance Says Buhari Inherited An Empty Treasury



Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, has rejected the position of Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, who recently said President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policies are archaic.

Ezekwesili had advised Buhari to review his policies, saying they were not benefiting the masses, during a programme organised by The Covenant Christian Centre in Abuja.

But speaking on Channels Television on Thursday, Adeosun dismissed Ezekwesili’s position, maintaining that the federal government has plans to revitalise the economy even though there are no quick solutions to current economic woes.

Accusing previous administrations of failing to save when the country had massive revenue from high crude oil prices, she said things were currently difficult because the federal the government inherited an empty treasury in addition to a high debt profile.

“I disagree with Mrs Ezekwesili… The present government does not operate a command-and-control economic system as alleged by the former minister,” she said.

“What we are now trying to do is reset the economy so that we never end up in this situation again; and how do we do that? We have to have a more diversified economy, a more diversified revenue base.

“If you look at oil, its only 13% of our GDP but it represents 70% of government’s revenue, which means if anything happens to oil, it affects everybody.

“The question we are trying to now resolve is: the remaining 87% of GDP, why is it contributing so little to government’s revenue? If we are able to have those other revenues, which are much more stable, predictable and less volatile, then if the oil price goes down, we’ll be able to maintain some level of stability.

“We have looked at what government has been spending money on; only 10% was spent on capital while 90% was spent on recurrent items like salaries, traveling, training and so on and those things don’t grow the economy; capital (expenditure) is what grows your economy.

“This budget that is being finalized has a 30% commitment to capital and we have said we want to maintain that commitment.

“There are no quick solutions to the current economic woes. We are going to pump N350 billion into the economy until we see growth. The job will be done painstakingly, and we will come out of it better.”


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