The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has said that Nigeria is not in a debt crisis but only facing “a liquidity problem”.
Adesina made the clarification while addressing State House Correspondents after a delegation of the bank met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Economic Management Team (EMT) in Abuja on Monday. He said that although the country is facing tough times, it is not falling apart as is being feared in some quarters.
“We are here to provide very strong support for the Nigerian government. And let me just say that Nigeria has tough times, but Nigeria is not falling apart. And when people talk about the debt crisis, Nigeria is not in a debt crisis.
“If you look at the fiscal deficit of this country with regard to the GDP it is just about 3 per cent or 3.5 per cent; it is still below the 5 percent for the Fiscal Responsibility Act.”
“If you look in terms of the debt to GDP ratio for Nigeria, it’s 15 percent. So there is no debt crisis in Nigeria, what you have is a liquidity problem and we are trying our best to be able to help the country to solve that to be able to drive down inflation. To be able to also make sure that working with the government, they provide the necessary incentives to the private sector because coming out of recession needs more than the government.”
“It needs the private sector; so incentives are going to be very important. The Minister of Finance talks of all rafts of incentives they are going to give and I think that is the right direction. Am I happy to be here? I just want to say that Nigeria is not falling apart; I think we are here to support Nigeria. Nigeria will come out of this as a better more diversified and more resilient economy than it went through a recession. I believe that.’’
The AfDB president said the organisation was not a fair weather friend of the country but was there to provide very strong support for the Federal Government.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, stated that the Federal Government is elated to receive the Nigerian head of the AfDB, describing him as one the country is proud of. She said that the government would work in harmony with the AfDB to grow the economy of the country.
“I think what has been a great relief to us in the Economic Management Team (EMT) is the amount of synergy between what we are trying to do and what the AfDB repositioned and Dr Adesina is focusing on. And most of the sectors and the specific programmes that the bank has are the various areas that we feel we want to focus on for the growth of the economy.’’
The minister said that the Federal Government was looking at the assistance from the $1 billion budget support.
She said that beyond that there were a number of loans and initiatives around agriculture, job creation for youths, solid minerals development, and women empowerment through access to finance for small and medium scale ventures.
Adeosun said that the programmes were key targets of the economic management team in particular and the present administration as well. The minister described the bank as a great partner and supporter as it is providing the administration with technical support in various areas of the economy to aid recovery.