Finance Minister Blames Fuel Subsidy Removal for Economic Crisis
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, has attributed the current economic crisis in the country to the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu, though he assured that the federal government would intensify efforts to tackle the problem of hyperinflation in the economy and boost the gross domestic product (GDP).
Speaking at a two-day retreat of the presidential committee on fiscal policy and tax reforms in Abuja on Thursday, Mr Edun assured Nigerians that better days are ahead with the implementation of the Renewed Hope agenda of President Tinubu.
According to a statement by Mr Stephen Kilebi, the Director of Press at the Ministry of Finance, the Minister, a former investment banker, acknowledged that the removal of petrol subsidy had slowed down the economy but said there were interventions in place to cushion the pains of the reform and plug leakages on subsidy management.
“It is the wish of Mr President to create jobs, reduce poverty, control micro and macroeconomic policies to create a stable environment to attract investors, stabilise the exchange rate and drive the economy to reduce poverty to the lowest level,” the Finance Minister, who worked with Mr Tinubu as Commissioner for Finance while he was the Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007, said.
He added that, “The era of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita falling by 30 per cent over the past 10 years will be a thing of the past with Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.”
He said the fiscal policy committee was on course to execute deliverables in line with the President’s 30-day deadline, noting that the economy is not growing as fast as expected and it was important to fast-track its assignment, saying there is no time to waste.
On his part, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, chairman of the committee, said the terms of reference of the panel include fiscal governance, revenue administration and tax policy review.
According to Mr Oyedele, the deliverables from the committee include optimum taxes, harmonised revenue collection functions, a revised national tax policy, and a national fiscal framework.
He also said the preparation of bills for a constitutional amendment, revenue optimisation, production of a model template for sub-nationals and establishment of the national tax amnesty scheme were top priorities.