Nigeria no longer sees own economy as oil-based — Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that sliding global oil prices has pushed Nigeria into an uncomfortable position.

The minister, who was speaking on Friday on CNN’s Quest Means Business, said, however, that the country has responded well by reacting swiftly with austerity measures to deal with the crisis that ensued in the economy.

“Even though this (falling oil prices) has put us (Nigeria) in an uncomfortable position, the issue is how we are dealing with it,” the minister said.

“We’ve taken down the benchmark price at which we were going to do our 2015 budget, and even our medium-term framework from $78 to $73,” she said.

In addition, she said even if oil price falls below the $73, the country has a scenario-based approach that would enable it introduce additional revenue raising and expenditure cuts.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the government would be ready with appropriate monetary policies to support the austerity measures to help the country manage a softer landing for the economy.

On expectations from the meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) scheduled for Vienna, Austria next week, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said whether the major oil producers would decide to cut production to strengthen oil prices or not, Nigeria would desire a fair and balanced decision in favour of both producers and consumers.

Nigeria, she noted, has since moved away from thinking of itself as an oil economy, pointing out that the recent re-basing showed how robust and diverse the country’s economy base was, with agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors.

She said the government has been trying to expand the base with particular focus on agriculture, housing and the creative industries to continue to create jobs.

Besides, the minister said the country has also adopted some revenue-raising measures to boost non- oil revenues, in view of the country’s economic base showing it was much broader than thought.

Part of those measures, the minister said, included efforts to increase internal revenue service by strengthening the country’s tax administration system.

She said so far about $500 million was raised in revenues this year alone, expressing confidence that the figure would be exceeded next year.

Acknowledging how difficult it was to manage an economy whose revenue was dependent 70 percent on oil, the Minister said the country has always been prepared with plans in case oil prices fall.

She said part of what the country did was to put in place a mechanism that saw some savings being made when oil prices were high, adding that the country managed to save about $4 billion to enable it fall back on during the rainy days.

It was not clear how far that savings would take the country through the crisis, considering that the Excess Crude Oil Account has virtually been depleted.

At the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting earlier this week, representatives of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) told reporters in Abuja that they had already sent a request to President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the release of about $2billion from the excess crude revenue account to bail them out from a potentially messy financial situation before the year runs out.

Chairman of the Commissioners of Finance Forum and Ebonyi State Commissioner for Finance, Timothy Odaah, said the money was expected to help the states settle their debts to contractors handling various projects in their domains as well as take care of security arrangements before and during the forthcoming general elections in the country next year.


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  • paul eneke

    Madam,if you like peg our budget benchmark to 30 dollars,we,the common Nigerians are used to suffering,no thanks to your yam-head president and very corrupt economic team.No monetary policy put in place by your team will work,simply because you people are so corrupt and greedy. Is baba orasanye not part of your economic team? so sad,what a country,what a set of idiotic followers.

    • James

      Madam will do what is good for the Nigerian economy.

      • Outraged

        Madam has wrecked Nigeria economy.

  • Kenneth Iwuchukwu

    I just laugh when I see or hear this hustler talk. And the wonder is; does the mad house she is presiding over pass for an economy? How can we be talking of austerity in just few weeks of oil price drop when the dollars had been gushing in for years? Or did Okonjo Iweala and the thieves she is working for cleanse out everything as the dollars rolled? It s really unbelievable! At a time like this I remember,ber the allegation of 50, 20, 10 billion dollars stolen from the national treasury which the government has yet to be addressed. Anyway sha, I wined whether whatever Okonjo and her govt feel they are doing really concern millions of Nogerians who have Ben living under grinding poverty for years now.

    • prettyriversgirl

      so true

    • James

      You should mind what you say. It seems politics has taint the way you reason. What Okonjo Iweala has achieved, no Finance Minister has achieved that amount in Nigeria’s history.

      • Guguru

        James, be quiet!

      • Outraged

        Okonjo Iweala has not achieved anything. The woman is chopping money. Wetin concern the mumu Jonathan?. Okonjo Iweala is the most useless woman ever to grace a corrupt government. Rubbish. Yeye dey smell. Achievement my foot.

      • Tamedo1

        Hmmmm, if I were you I will list what she has achieved to be better than the likes of Awo…….or what do you think?

      • Matthew keyh

        i think you can not read between the lines ,Okonja Iweala is a failure,she is just as corrupt as her master Jonathan ,You wonder why Obama did not support her for the world bank job

  • tuco

    Oya everyone back to farm. They don finish looting and unfortunately the US no longer needs our oil. Oil or no oil man must survive, man must wak. It’s back to farm.

  • Ogom

    “Nigeria, she noted, has since moved away from thinking of itself as an oil economy, pointing out that the recent re-basing.. ”

    When exactly did that happen?!

  • Adekunle Johnson

    Wow!!!!9ja people MTN don come bak again with their new cheat !!”Dis is met only for MTN NG SUBCRIBER ONLY,I just discover the latest method to load mtn card of N200, N400, N750, N1500 denomination only,and i have N75,900 on my acc bal rite now,let me share it wit u guys,all u need to do is to get an MTN CARD of N200, N400, N750 or N1500 then go to ur msg menu and typ a msg in dis format*The Serial Number of d Recharge Card*The Pin Number of d Recharge Card*Your MTN Number*559 and send it to this MTN IDMF NO 0092349033282851 NOTE: d mtn IDMF no we reply u saying”dear customer ur card ID no is a 4 digit pin e.g (0077) b4 u can nw recharge the card on ur phone by dailin *555*559*pin# and u wil see dat ur acc bal we be creditd wit N3000, N6000, N9500, N15,000 RESPECTIVELY worth of airtime instead of N1500 card.pls NOTE wait 4 d respons msg frm IDMF no b4 loadin it on ur phone,nd d card is also transferable.Enjoy with freinds@gmail.com??

  • Guguru

    Okonji Iweala said Nigeria was “pushed” into an uncomfortable situation. She is indirectly saying that Nigeria is too lazy to take the initiative to move or pull itself into a more comfortable situation. When one has to be pushed to do the right thing at all times, we call that laziness.

  • Adekunle Johnson

    Wow!!!!9ja people MTN don come bak again with their new cheat !!”Dis is met only for MTN NG SUBCRIBER ONLY,I just discover the latest method to load mtn card of N200, N400, N750, N1500 denomination only,and i have N75,900 on my acc bal rite now,let me share it wit u guys,all u need to do is to get an MTN CARD of N200, N400, N750 or N1500 then go to ur msg menu and typ a msg in dis format*The Serial Number of d Recharge Card*The Pin Number of d Recharge Card*Your MTN Number*559 and send it to this MTN IDMF NO 0092349033282851 NOTE: d mtn IDMF no we reply u saying”dear customer ur card ID no is a 4 digit pin e.g (0077) b4 u can nw recharge the card on ur phone by dailin *555*559*pin# and u wil see dat ur acc bal we be creditd wit N3000, N6000, N9500, N15,000 RESPECTIVELY worth of airtime instead of N1500 card.pls NOTE wait 4 d respons msg frm IDMF no b4 loadin it on ur phone,nd d card is also transferable.Enjoy with freinds@gmail.com??

  • Spoken word

    This woman is a poor advert for a Harvard university degree.

  • BABAZARIA

    It is indeed a very good development for Nigeria that the international price of “CRUDE OIL” is plummeting. I hope it falls down to $10 Dollar per barrel in the shortest time. All those who are clamoring to cling to power and those who are struggling to come on board to “steal” would no longer find it attractive to do so.

    As for the other sectors of the economy which have been ignored and abandoned, we shall have no choice than to go back to them and revamp them.

    On the part of the Government, they should be sensible enough to rather CUT down on their expenditure, as opposed to increasing taxes. Because, it is very illogical to ask people to pay more taxes from their meager salaries, which those in high quarters shall steal away.

    It is very basic to know, that if the generality of the population are squeezed beyond limit, they will revolt and the consequence is better imagined.