“I want to restate that our debt is not too high. What we have is a revenue problem."
Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, says there is a lot of insensitivity around the country’s rising debt profile, admitting that there will be "consequences" if she did not do what President Muhammadu Buhari asked her to do.
Speaking at a meeting with the management of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ahmed said, “There is a lot of insensitivity around the level of our debt.
“I want to restate that our debt is not too high. What we have is a revenue problem.
“Our debt is still very much within a reasonable fiscal limit. In fact, amongst our comparative countries, we are the least in terms of borrowing.”
She added, “If we don’t do that we will continue to suffer significantly in our capacity to service the national budget.”
Ahmed also talked about the need for the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to coordinate donor agencies operating in the country, saying: “Donor coordination rests on the shoulders of this arm of the ministry. We want to call, as early as possible, a meeting of all donors so that we will discuss with them and give them a clear direction on what and where we want their intervention."
Speaking further, she stated, “It is a very big work that Mr. President has given to us. It is not myself and the minister of state that will do the work; it is you that will do it. All we are providing is leadership and the enabling environment for you to deliver on the task.
“Within this week, we will be getting our directives on what we need to achieve. We are going to sign up on these directives and we are going to be held responsible for the delivery of the directives.
“There will be consequences, not just on the ministers but on the permanent secretaries and the directors.
“The anti-corruption fight continues. The TSA, IPPIS are tools that we can use to track corruption in the budget process.”