Over-dependence on oil revenue hurting Nigeria – Okonjo-Iweala

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Tuesday in Abuja said Nigeria must plan differently in order to generate non-oil based revenues.

Speaking at the ongoing Public Affairs Forum, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said the present administration is working towards developing infrastructure and roads for businesses to strive.

“We must help the businesses in setting up, in the sectors, in manufacturing, in agriculture, in other sectors; we must have that so that we can have the non-oil base to task,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said.

She also said that the present administration has been able to get a lot out of Nigeria’s non-oil revenue; in agriculture and other sectors.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria’s borrowing has reduced drastically since 2010 when Goodluck Jonathan’s became president.

“By 2010, we borrowed N1.3 trillion to help finance our spending.

“We have brought it down from N1.3 trillion to N571 billion and we will continue to take it down even if it is by N1, we will continue trending down.

“Of course, the cost of debt is still high because of what we borrowed in the past,” she said.

She said the President Jonathan administration’s policy is to keep Nigeria’s borrowing going down by being prudent in expenditures and also realizing additional sources of revenue.

“We are too dependent on oil, I said it at my ministerial platform and now we all see that the price of oil is coming down, the quantity are also not as large as they used to be,” she said.

Also speaking at the forum, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, said the administration improved federal roads from 4, 500 kilometres of roads in 2011 to 25, 000km in December 2013 out 35, 000km of federal highways in Nigeria.

He said over 70 per cent of Nigerian road networks are motorable especially when compared to about 16 per cent at the inception of the present administration.

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