The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday said that two years of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation programme has helped build a stronger Nigerian economy with verifiable growth indices in all sectors. The Minister, who was presenting a review of some of the achievements of the administration during the presentation of the mid-term report card as part of the 2013 Democracy Day, said the government has been able to overcome some of the challenges that Nigerians were concerned about prior to the coming of the Jonathan administration, while efforts are on to resolve others.
According to her, some of the problems on the economy the government have been grappling with through transformation agenda include insufficient jobs, poverty, dependency on one export commodity (oil), high food importation, huge housing deficit, poor infrastructure, high inflation, falling foreign reserves, rising domestic debts and high recurrent expenditure.
She said that within the last two years, the administration was able to achieve stability in the exchange rate of the Naira to the dollar and other international currencies, with Naira attracting between N155 and N160 to the dollar, while inflation has come down from about 12.4 per cent in 2011 to the single digit of about 9 per cent today, and foreign reserves risen from $32billion in 2011 to about $50billion today.
“Nigerian economy is today one of the fastest growing in the world at the rate of 6.5 per cent,” the minister said. “We need the economy to grow and the stability to be able to solve the big problems of job creation for the teeming population our youth.” She said government has been working on reducing the high cost of government to barest level, with recurrent expenditure coming down from 74 per cent in 2011 to 68 per cent in the 2013 budget, adding that government is committed to take it down further using the budgeting system…