Monday, 1 January 2018

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN, FEMI ADESINA, EXPLAINS HOW NIGERIA’S TRADE BALANCE INCREASED FROM DEFICIT IN 2016

Femi Adesina
Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina says that Nigeria’s trade balance increased from deficit in 2016. Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, made this known when he unveiled 17 achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2017. According to him, Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves grew by 12 billion dollars, reaching the highest level since 2014. He revealed that Nigeria, in 2017, added additional 250 million dollars to its Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

Adesina said Nigeria exited its worst recession in decades and rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business. “Nigeria exited its worst recession in decades. After five quarters of negative growth, the economy bounced back into positive territory. Also, inflation fell for ten consecutive months during 2017 (February to November),’’ he said.

The presidential aide said agriculture was one of the stars of 2017, posting consistent growth levels even throughout the recession. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), he said, recorded its highest-ever revenue collection among other things. “The Nigeria Customs Service recorded its highest revenue collection, crossing the one trillion naira mark, the target for 2017 was N770 billion, and 2016 collection was just under N900 billion,’’ he said.

Adesina noted that on the back of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 per cent. He also stated that the country witnessed bumper food harvests, “especially in rice, which local production continues to rise significantly (States like Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano leading the pack, with Ogun joining at the end of 2017).’’

According to him, the price of a 50kg bag of rice, a staple in the country has fallen by about 30 per cent since the beginning of 2017, as local production has gone up.

Adesina further stated that the Federal Government had inaugurated a N701 billion Intervention Fund (‘Payment Assurance Programme’) aimed at supporting power generation companies to meet their payment obligations to gas and equipment suppliers, banks and other partners.

He said the impact was being felt, adding that the amount of power being distributed was steady at about 4,000MW – higher than previously recorded. He also listed the payment of pensions to police officers who were granted Presidential pardon in 2000 after serving in the former Biafran Police during the Nigerian Civil War as part of the Buhari administration’s achievement in 2017. According to him, the officers and their next of kin have waited for their pensions for 17 years since the Presidential pardon.

The Federal Government’s fight against corruption took a new turn in 2017 as the successful implementation of a Whistleblowing Programme saw millions of dollars recovered as another achievement in 2017.

He said: “To change the narrative on infrastructure deficit, the government successfully issued two Eurobonds (US$4.5 billion), a Sukuk Bond (N100 billion), a Diaspora Bond (US$300 million), and the first Sovereign Climate Bond in Africa, raising billions of dollars for infrastructure spending. By March 2018, the Federal Government’s inauguration of a Tax Amnesty scheme is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues for investment in the country.” (NAN)