Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun speaking at an interview in Abuja has admitted that she cannot tell when the country will be out of a recession.
“I don’t want to predict when we will get out of recession. Let me tell you that we will get into growth and that’s how you get out of recession, because of the stimulus that we are providing,” she told reporters.
Mrs Adeosun went on to say: “And it may take longer than we would like, but we will definitely get out of it. We are already seeing some positive signs in agriculture and solid minerals;and with what we are trying to do with other sectors, I am very sure we will get out of it soon.”
Her statement places a pessimistic turn on comments by the governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, who said last week that the country would begin exiting the recession during the year’s fourth quarter.
The CBN chief had said: “We are already in the valley, the only direction is to go up the hill and the government is doing everything possible to ensure that we move up the hill. I am optimistic that based on the actions being taken by the monetary and fiscal authorities, the fourth quarter results will show evidence that we have started to move out of recession.
“The worst is over. The Nigerian economy is on the path of recovery and growth. So, please if you are a bystander or sideliner, you are losing; join the train now before it leaves the station.”
The Finance Minister also shed some light on the Federal government’s plan to concession national assets, “I think there are a number of assets that are being considered and I don’t think we have said this one or that one. There are some unused assets that are just lying idle, which people have come and suggested that ‘these things you are not using, can we lease them from you for money?’
“Hence, when they lease them from us, the taxes are still going to come to us. So, there are some things the government is sitting on, we don’t have money to do it, it makes sense for me to unlock those things. So, they bring money into the economy at these difficult times so that we can move forward.
“We have not got to the stage of saying it’s this asset, or that. But it’s more of the conversation around should we just keep on borrowing or shall we know that things are a lot more difficult than we envisaged and turn on to an alternative strategy, which is looking at some of the underutilised assets and releasing them.”