There is no way Nigeria’s foreign reserves will not shrink as long more than 30 percent of the country’s earned foreign currency is used in importing fuel products annually, so says Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.
She said also that food importation is the next item, which has been taking the bulk of the foreign reserves.
Adeosun, who disclosed this on Friday in Lagos stated that nothing could be more discouraging than seeing Nigeria, which exports crude oil, spend more in importing refined petroleum products from outside.
The Central Bank had in its quarterly report confirmed that the country’s external reserves had been on a constant decline, falling to $24.21bn in the second week of October, from $25.8bn in September 2016
It said the most disturbing scenario is that the reserves had its worst fall within two weeksending Friday October 16 2016, shedding more than $600 million within the period, a situation that has seen Nigeria lose a total of $1bn in four weeks.
But the Minister insisted that government was working very hard to transform the country from consumption driven to an investment–driven nation.
She said, “We lose a lot of money exporting unprocessed raw materials. We don’t have the power to process and that’s why we need to build infrastructure to export processed products in order to earn more foreign exchange.”
According to her, all funds borrowed by the government must be tied to capital projects to boost infrastructure development and meet the conditions attached to the loans.
Confirming that government revenue had reduced, she attributed this to the sharp drop in price of oil at the global market, adding: “It’s a difficult time but we will get out of it. We will survive and get better. Nigeria we are very resilient.”
According to her, women were very critical to the country’s development as they represent 52 per cent of the country’s population constituting about 70 per cent SMEs operators in Nigeria.
The wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, in her comment at the event urged women to take advantage of any opportunity created by the recession in improving their economic status.
sources: Ripples Nigeria.