Nigeria’s Minister of Finance who also doubles as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said the country’s growth could slow by about a percentage point in 2015 as the nation adjusts to falling crude prices, Thisday reports.
The Goodluck Jonathan administration has already taken initiatives to curb the effects of the falling crude prices by reducing government expenditures and increasing taxes paid by the country’s elites.
Okonjo-Iweala said: “The tightening will shrink growth to around 5.3 per cent, delaying some infrastructure, and will force the country to tax a booming informal economy that has long escaped oversight.
“Undoubtedly, it is going to be tough times. We are beginning to feel the impact,” the minister told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ.
Nigeria’s spending needs are increasing daily as oil prices move in the opposite direction. The government’s first major spending next year is the general elections billed for February which will no doubt be costly.
It is not all gloomy though as the country’s middle class is steadily growing and major cities are expanding fast.
Okonjo-Iweala added that, “Nigeria’s problems are starting to add up. If not for Boko Haram and dropping oil prices, Nigeria would be registering 6.8 per cent growth.
On the savings side, yes, we could have done better, thank God we had the four billion.”
As a priority, Okonjo-Iweala hinted that the government will focus spending on security and infrastructure projects then limit cuts to health and education spending.
“A fifth of the country’s budget is spent on the military, and that is unlikely to change. Do we have a choice? Should we say no, let us allow the insurgents to take over?” She concluded. It will be recalled that about a month ago stated that Nigeria is not broke as being reported in the media while stating the government is doing everything within its power to ensure economic stability in the country