- Foreign reserves in 2015 had $28.3 billion.
- ……. President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the urgent need for improved revenue performance.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has revealed that Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood at $44.69 billion as at May 13, 2019.
It could be recalled that the foreign reserves in 2015 had $28.3 billion when President Muhammadu Buhari took over governance from ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Minister, who unveiled the position of ministry in her opening remarks at the quarterly World Press Conference, held in Abuja said also that year-on-year inflation rates continued to improve from a high rate of 18.7 percent in January 2017 to 11.37 percent in April 2019.
The minister also revealed that states will soon receive their outstanding balance of the Paris Club debts refunds based on the verification made on a total sum of N649.434 billion by the Ministry.
“For the final phase of the Paris Club debts refunds, the total sum of N649.434 billion was verified by the Ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the State Governments.
“The payments made by the CBN as at March 2019, is N691.560 billion. The increase in CBN payments partly arose from exchange rate differential at the point of payment.
“Although, some states still have outstanding balances, which will be refunded in due course,” she added.
According to Zainab, with the implementation of Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) which the Buhari’s administration developed in 2017 has led to the economy’s exit from recession and moved upwards on a path of sustainable, inclusive and diversified growth.
The minister who maintained that it is the resolve of the Ministry to address the long-standing issue of “unsatisfactory revenue performance” in Nigeria, particularly in the non-oil sector, in order to ensure appropriate financing for critical sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure, and ultimately of co-creating a Nigeria where no one is left behind said: “Our External Reserves on the other hand, grew from $28.3 billion in 2015 to US $44.69 billion as at May 13, 2019 representing significant improvement that has helped stabilize the economy, including our currency exchange rates.
“Our FX market remained relatively stable from 2017 with the convergence of the NIFEX and NAFEX windows witnessed by November 2018. ”
Speaking on the role of domestic revenue mobilization for continued economic success and inclusive growth in Nigeria, she said President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the urgent need for improved revenue performance during his 2019 Budget Speech, and he directed the acceleration of all revenue initiatives.
“As Minister of Finance, I have taken on the President’s important call to action, by prioritizing revenue generation, and formally launching in January 2019, the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives, a suite of comprehensive and cross-cutting interventions aimed at boosting revenue performance.
“I am pleased to share that we have made significant progress since launching the initiatives.”