At noon today, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, took to Facebook to address some of the questions about the economy on the minds of Nigerians. She’s the first minister to take this initiative in Nigeria. The Senate has been doing the same as they regularly broadcast their plenary sessions.
Here are some key takeaways from her Facebook Live session, where she also took questions from the audience.
On the recession and how Nigeria will get out of it
Kemi Adeosun said part of the federal government’s plan to get Nigeria out of the recession is through an overhaul of the country’s infrastructure through massive funding of capital projects. The finance minister said that the government, which will continue to use 30 percent of its budget to fund capital expenditure, has released a trillion naira for capital projects. She said that with the proper infrastructure in place, especially for power and roads, Nigerian businesses will thrive as the cost of doing business will be reduced. To achieve this aim, she said that the country needs to borrow and has already identified borrowers with low-interest rates.
She also mentioned that Nigeria has not borrowed internationally since 2013 but is now looking to do so from the likes of China.
Diversifying the economy is another step vital to getting Nigeria out of the recession. The minister said that the current administration has taken measures to reset the economy. She added that the government’s policies are targeted at encouraging local production of goods, promoting agriculture and exploring other natural resources.
Re-assessing the YouWin programme and promoting entrepreneurship
The finance minister said the YouWin programme, renamed YouWin Connect, has been redesigned to allow businesses thrive on ideas as against the idea that funds alone are the livewire to a successful business enterprise in Nigeria. She said the new initiative is aimed at creating more jobs, which will, in turn, stir economic growth.
Kemi Adeosun disclosed that the YouWin Connect funding structure will see government part-funding business ideas from young Nigerians through venture funds. She explained that this will allow the government acquire equity in these businesses as opposed to the erstwhile solely-grant structure of the programme.
Adeosun also identified enterprise education as the bedrock of the success of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. She placed emphasis on the need for Nigerian youths to acquire pertinent business skills, technical know-how to run a business, as this will enable them judiciously use the grants that will be made available to them from the scheme.
On the whistleblower policy
Adeosun said that the whistleblower policy has begun to achieve its aim of deterring stealing of public funds. She said that the Ministry of Finance has been able to follow up on tips from whistleblowers and funds recovered are being used to fund capital projects across the country.
On the federal government’s rotund wage bill
The minister put the total wage bill of the country before the current administration at 200 billion naira per month. She disclosed that the government, through verification exercises, has been able to fish out ghost workers while it has also taken steps to clean up the pension register. She noted that as agencies such as the police and army are vetted, the wage bill will drop considerably. So far, the government has taken 53,000 people off its payroll, but she made no mention of how many new people might have been added.
Watch the full video below: