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How we pulled Nigeria out of recession-Minister

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed on Monday while appearing before the National Assembly, explained how Federal Government’s efforts that helped the country exit recession in the fourth quarter of this year.

She however lamented that the challenges brought about by COVID-19 made government’s revenue to drop by 65 per cent in 2020.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had said that harmonious relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms of government made Nigeria exits recession.

The Minister added that the government spent more than was budgeted for on debt servicing for both local and foreign debts in 2020 by about two percent.

In her words: “Another key development for Nigeria was the massive output cut by OPEC in the international market, which was designed to stabilise the crude oil market prices. This meant that the 2020 budget had to be revised.

“The impact of this development is that revenue went down by about 65 percent.”

Ahmed added that a number of measures were taken, such as the review of the exchange rate.

The minister added: “The effect was that our country went into recession in the third quarter. However, due to the significant stimulus as well as other interventions by the fiscal, monetary and trade authorities, a mild recovery has been recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a positive growth of 0.11 percent. This means that the country has technically exited recession as we had projected.

“Oil price was fixed at $28 per barrel; oil production was 1.8 million barrel per day, but the performance was 1.7 million barrel per day. Exchange rate was set at N360, but we closed the year at N375.”

Acccording to her, inflation was targeted at 14.13 percent, but “we closed the year at 14.89 per cent.”

She said that “GDP growth rate was targeted at 4.2 per cent negative growth, but we were able to improve on that and at the end of 2020, it was -1.9 per cent.”

She noted that as at the end of 2020, Federal Government’s retained revenue was N3.94 trillion, adding that this represents 73 percent of targeted revenue.