The Federal Government is pleased with Nigeria’s encouraging Gross Domestic Product (GDP), saying its policies are working and the economy is on the right track.
This follows a meeting of the Federal Executive Council chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Council Chambers of the State House in Abuja.
The meeting, which started at about 11 am and lasted for about four hours, was attended by federal ministers, including the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, whose comments regarding the 2019 elections set tongue wagging across the country.
The Council, however, focused on the recent report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which suggested that Nigeria has come out of recession.
With the GDP growth in the positive direction for the first time in five quarters, the government says a lot more needs to be done.
After the meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, told reporters that the growth only indicated that the economy was on the right path.
He said, “We realise that the growth is very, very small, it’s not a growth that has an impact; it just shows us that we are in the right direction.”
“But the growth is yet to have the kind of impact which we would like and because we have a population growing at about three per cent, anything less than three per cent is not likely to be impactful.”
On government’s drive to shore up revenue, the Council was happy that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) remitted N5bn, with a balance of N3bn still to come.
According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the amount paid by the examination body was the highest remitted in 40 years.
She, however, said the figure raised concern over past remittances by JAMB, a situation which led to the Council ordering the probe of former heads of the examination body and similar agencies.
“This year, so far, they (JAMB) have done N5bn and the Minister of Education reported that they have an additional N3bn that they are ready to remit, which will take this year’s figure alone to N8bn,” she said
“Now, they have not increased their charges, they have not increased their fees; so the question that FEC and Council members were asking is where was all this money before?
“So, the directive was given that we must call those who were the heads of those agencies and similar ones to account and that’s what we intend to do.”
According to the minister, the meeting also approved for Nigeria to join the Africa Trade Insurance Agency, an A-rated regional body said to provide long-term risk guarantees.
On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said the Council was taking seriously the warning from authorities in the Niger Republic on possible flooding.
He informed that government was already keeping an eye on its two observatories in Niamey and Lokoja, which he said were providing information by the minute in real time.
The minister admitted working closely with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), other agencies and state governments to avert flooding like the Benue incidence that washed away properties and left many residents without shelter.
”We are monitoring the situation (to ensure that) if there is any indication that there is going to be a significant rise (in water level) or it’s going to get to an emergency situation, we’ll be able to give an early warning to NEMA.
“And NEMA is poised also to inform the affected states along the River Niger, particularly Kogi, Anambra, Delta, down to Bayelsa and Rivers,” Adamu said.