By Patience Danjuma
The federal government has described the recent recession experienced by the country as a blessing in disguise.
Minister of finance in an article circulated among media houses on Sunday was optimistic that “not very long from now, Nigerians and the world will look back on this recession we have just emerged from, and realise that it was the turning point in Nigeria’s journey to true growth and greatness.”
Adeosun pointed out that the most important elements of any reform effort tend to be the least flamboyant. The Buhari administration she said, is “confident that in the months and years ahead” and Nigerians and the world will see the full impact of the “foundational resetting that the Buhari administration has been focused on since 2015.”
According to the finance minister, “what is remarkable, yet not as talked about, is the way we have worked so hard to exit the recession, reset the economy and reposition it for a brighter future for the present and future generations of Nigerians.”
“The Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is laying the foundation for the kind of economic growth that makes a real impact in the lives of citizens.”
The downturn in the nation’s fortunes she noted “has inspired unprecedented levels of fiscal responsibility, in line with President Buhari’s determination to fight Nigeria’s endemic corruption.”
She noted that one strong demonstration of the present administration’s will to combat corruption “has been a Whistleblowing Scheme we launched months ago that empowers citizens to report public corruption.”
The impact in terms of recoveries she stated “has exceeded our expectations. The tighter rein on public finances allowed us invest US$500 million in our Sovereign Wealth Fund, during a recession.”
A lot of the work the Muhammadu Buhari administration have done over the last two and half years, Adeosun said “has been focused on dismantling the old ways of doing things, rebuilding them, and empowering and fortifying our institutions with technology to block loopholes, discourage abuse, and prevent a relapse into the destructive ways of the past.”
The new Nigeria that is desired she said, “will not happen without this kind of foundational reform that imposes on us new ways of thinking and of doing things.”
The early results the finance minister said “are already being seen. A concerted focus on agriculture has seen our rice imports from Thailand dropping by 90 per cent between 2015 and 2016, and replaced by locally grown variants.”
The government, Adeosun pointed out is “pursuing unprecedented cooperation with foreign governments and powers, as part of our transparency and anti-corruption drive. For the simple reason that a disproportionate amount of public funds looted in Nigeria end up in the United Arab Emirates’, Nigeria has signed bilateral agreements with the UAE Government on extradition, exchange of information, and repatriation of stolen public funds.”
Adeosun lamented that “there is of course a lot of resistance to reform, by vested interests within and outside the system. But we are not fazed. The work of reform goes on. It is, to borrow from the Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe, morning yet on Creation Day.”
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