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Investment in infrastructure will get Nigeria out of recession – Udoma

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The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma says massive investment in infrastructure is the surest way to get the country’s economy out of recession.

The assurance was given in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by Media Adviser to the minister, Akpandem James.

The statement stated that Udoma gave the assurance at the Annual Forum of the laureates in Abuja at the 9th Award Winners Lecture.

It stated that government was looking at various strategic ways of restoring revenue and getting the economy back on the path of sustainable grow

It added that in spite of the revenue shortfalls experienced during the 2016 budget year, N753.6 billion had so far been released for capital expenditure.

According to the statement, the the revenue was targeted at the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, as well as the Ministry of Transportation, adding that the revenue exceeded the aggregate capital expenditure budget for 2015.

The minister, however, told the forum that government had been having difficulties funding the budget because of the disruptions of oil production in the Niger Delta.

“At one time, almost half our production was shut in because of pipeline vandalism.

“This compounded our economic situation and pushed us into the current recession we are experiencing in the country.

“We are looking at ways to restore our revenues and get the economy out of recession and back on the path of sustainable growth,” the statement quoted Udoma as saying.

According to him, exchange rate stability has been a major issue which the Federal Government has been grappling with due to the reduction in foreign exchange earnings caused by the fall in crude oil exports.

It stated that the Federal Government would welcome every genuine idea from experts on how to address the economic challenges.

Government will be looking forward to receiving the various papers and recommendations from the lecture.

Dr Obodiah Mailafia, a development economist, traced the root of the current economic situation largely to dependence on a mono-cultural economy, fiscal indiscipline and delay in implementing enabling policies.

Mailafia, in a paper titled “Diversifying the economy and re-engineering growth in an age of diminished expectations’’, explained that the reckless fiscal indiscipline subsequently resulted in “massive dollarisation” of the economy which eventually snowballed into recession.

“What we call recession is just dollar scarcity; print dollars today and recession will go,” the statement quoted him as saying.

He said that when President Muhammadu Buhari took over the helm of affairs in May 2015, he expressed shock at the grim spectre of a virtually empty treasury.

(NAN)