From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, has stated that the government has sufficient funds to settle debts compared to when the administration initially took office.

Edun also revealed that President Bola Tinubu has approved an urgent economic plan set to be executed within the next six months.

He further noted that outstanding payments of $200 million have been made with the Islamic Development Bank in shareholding.

The Minister made these known during the sectoral briefing on President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office

on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, “What that means is that the government can now pay its way. The government is paying its debt service without resulting in Ways and Means, particularly international debt service.

“That process that has been put in place, is one that we have mandated not just by Mr. President, but even the national assembly in passing the 2024 budget, insisted that Nigeria’s money that was in the hands of parastatals, agencies, or other enterprises needed to be brought in.

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“That has been done by the government, not in as comfortable a situation as we would like to be, but onwards where we have paid our way domestically, internationally.”

Commenting on the emergency economic plan which he said the president just recently approved to further stabilise the economy, the Minister said: “A fresh intervention approval from Mr. President today is the economic emergency plan for stabilising the economy and to be implemented over the next six months,” Edun said.

“This was put together by the president’s economic team, by the private sector representatives, by the sub-national or the state governments. We have all sat together in recent weeks and we had a package from the President’s desk this afternoon for his approval.

“Why it was afternoon was because it was this morning that we got the final clearance from a state governor who had said he wanted the final chance to review the inputs. With that clearance, we are now good to go in terms of the major economic plan for mr. president to approve.”

Edun mentioned that Nigeria’s economy is currently showing a positive gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 2.98 percent, an improvement from the 2.3 percent growth in the first quarter of 2023. He emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector’s marginal growth in stabilizing foreign exchange rates, providing leverage to the monetary authority.

“This growth in agriculture provides the monetary authority with the leverage needed to stabilise foreign exchange (FX) rates.By continuing on this path and intensifying our efforts, we are on track to lift many Nigerians out of poverty.

“This sector’s progress is expected to play a significant role in combating inflation, especially through a favourable wet season harvest that should stabilise food prices,” he said.

He added that the ministry’s aim is to lower inflation, which would allow monetary authorities to stabilise the exchange rate, lower interest rates, attract investments, boost productivity, create employment opportunities, and ultimately reduce poverty.

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