President Bola Tinubu, who on Monday was sworn in as Nigeria’s president, has said his administration is aiming to expand the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by “not less than 6 per cent”.
The president also unveiled a plan to harmonise the nation’s multiple exchange rates as part of the broad plan to transform Africa’s largest economy.
The target growth rate is almost two times that of last year, put at 3.1 per cent by the statistics office.
The World Bank expects the Nigerian economy to grow by 2.8 per cent this year, while the International Monetary Fund’s has projected it will enlarge by 3.2 per cent.
President Tinubu said during his inauguration speech in Abuja he is counting on budgetary reforms and a raft of other policies to achieve that objective.
“First, budgetary reform stimulating the economy without engendering inflation will be instituted,” he stated while presenting the key highlights of his programme, which he said his team will be providing more details for in the days and weeks ahead.
At 22.2 per cent, the new administration is inheriting an inflation rate fast approaching its peak level in 18 years and a fiscal crisis in which virtually all of the government’s revenue goes to servicing debt.
The administration also faces a debt burden, now about N70 trillion, that raises concerns about fiscal sustainability.
“Industrial policy will utilise the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency,” the president added.
He vowed to review the complaints by both local and foreign investors on multiple taxations and “various anti-investment inhibitions.”
President Tinubu affirmed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under him will aim at harmonising Nigeria’s multiple exchange rates. He also expects the monetary policy structure to undergo “housecleaning.”
Pursuing a single exchange rate, he disclosed, will help divert funds away from arbitrage into productive endeavours such as investment in plant, equipment and job creation.
He is nursing the ambition of cutting interest rates to drive investment in ways that will foster economic growth.
The president took a swipe at the recent botched currency swap, which he noted as being hastily executed by the CBN.
“The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender,” he said.
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