Leadership: 2015 budget: Nigeria’s economy remains strong — Okogu

The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu, on Wednesday in Abuja said that the Nigerian economy was still strong in spite of global economic uncertainties.

Okogu made the statement while making a public presentation on the proposed budget for 2015.

He said that while monitoring the recent uncertainties in the global economy of the country, it was noted that certain sectors in the economy were still growing in spite of the recent oil price shock.

” Our economic indicators have shown that our domestic economy remains relatively strong.

“Growth continues to be driven by the non-oil sector, contributing about 68 per cent prior to re-basing and about 86 per cent thereafter.

“We still have greater room to borrow if we want to since statistics show that our debt to GDP has dropped from 19 per cent to 12.8 per cent.

” We will, however, maintain our prudent and conservative debt management policy,” he said.

Okogu said the Federal Government was doing all it could to ensure that ordinary Nigerians were protected from economic shocks.

“Our efforts can be seen that despite everything, food prices remain the same.

“Inflation has gone down. It was at 7.9 per cent at the end of November 2014, down from 12 per cent in December 2012.

Inflation has been at single digits since January 2013,” he said.

Okogu said that the Federal Government was making adjustments on its expenditure due to the recent development in the oil international market.

” Fiscally we are not sustainable unless we reduce the cost of governance. This is why we are proposing to reduce FG expenditure from N4.7 trillion to N4.3 trillion.

“We are pushing for more non-oil revenue drive, introduction of surcharge on luxury items such as private jets, luxury yachts, cars, champagne, wines, spirits among other things,” he said.

Okogu urged Nigerians not to panic in the face of declining international crude oil prices, which was critical to the nation’s economy, because there were safety nets in place against possible hardship.

He said that labour organisations, civil societies, the legislative, executive, and judicial arms would have to work together to achieve the goals of the 2015 budget. (NAN)

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