Nigeria not immune to global financial crisis

1 Comment » December 24th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



 

 

TRIBUNE

 

My regrets as finance minister – Usman

Gbola Subair, Abuja – 24.12.2008

The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudden Usman, has highlighted his regrets while he was in office.

Usman, now the Minister of National Planning, while handing over to the new Minister of Finace, Dr. Mansur Muktar, stated his regrets on Tuesday in Abuja.

He expressed his regrets that he was unable to carry out reforms in the ministry.

According to him, much as he would like to carry out reforms in the ministry in line with the ongoing civil service reforms, lack of fund scuttled his ambition.

Apart from this, he said he was unable to carry out the much expected reforms in budget monitoring, while led to the poor implementation of 2008 budget.

Also, Usman said the reforms process in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Customs Service had not been brought to conclusion

Dr. Muktar, in his speech at the ceremony, accepted that the global economic crisis had a negative impact on economic development in the country.

According to him, everybody was gropping in the dark. The oil price, which was at $140 before, was now between $30 and $40.

“That is part of the danger facing the ministry. Yes, we have some amount of reserves, but that is not going to take us anywhere.

We have to think again. Things that have worked in the past will not work this time,” he said.

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PUNCH

 

Nigeria not immune to global financial crisis ––Minister

 

By Everest Amaefule, Abuja

Published: Wednesday, 24 Dec 2008

The global financial crisis has the potential to escalate into unmanageable proportions for the country, newly appointed Minister of Finance, Dr. Mansur Muhtar, has said.

Muhtar, who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday while taking the mantle of leadership in the ministry from the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, said the global crisis has shaken Nigeria only a little in the short run.

The new minister said in the middle and long run, the crisis could snowball into a worse scenario if the situation was not tamed.

The minister’s comments came just as the International Monetary Fund’s top economist, Mr. Olivier Blanchard, urged governments around the world to boost domestic demand in order to avoid a Great Depression similar to the downturn that shook the world in the 1930s.

“Consumer and business confidence indexes have never fallen so far since they began. The coming months will be very bad,” Blanchard said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde.

“It is imperative to stifle this loss of confidence, to restart household consumption, if we want to prevent this recession developing into a Great Depression,” he added.

Muhtar, who was the founding Director General of the Debt Management Office, also said the Nigeria needed to seek alternative means of raising funds as the excess crude account would not be sufficient to support the economy.

According to him, the Federal Government has spent a lot of time planning while Nigerians have waited long enough for results.

He said, “The global financial crisis has shaken us a bit. We have somehow managed to wriggle out. It could be worse in the middle and the long term. We don’t know what could happen next. Some Central Banks around the world have already run out of ideas.

“There are issues, serious issues that need to be addressed urgently. The excess crude account cannot take us anywhere. We have to see how to raise more resources. We have to think ahead into the future.”

Muhtar identified the challenges that need to be addressed to include poor budget implementation as well as huge infrastructure deficit. He added that there was no time and things needed to be done very fast.

Usman, who has been reassigned to the Ministry of National Planning said he was ready to collaborate with Muhtar and the Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola.

“I am ready and willing to work with you in the interest of Mr. President’s Seven-Point Agenda and in the interest of the nation.”

He identified the challenges facing the ministry to include accommodation for the Investment and Security Tribunal and the National Insurance Commission.

Babalola, on his own part, said there were daunting challenges ahead of the ministry. According to him, the nation needs to do much to get the double-digit growth that is needed to achieve Vision 20-2020.

 

 

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NATION

 

Minister: economy in bad shape

24/12/2008

 

 

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THIS DAY

 

Muhtar: We Must Act Fast on Global Crisis

•New ministers get portfolios

The new Finance Minister, Dr. Mansur Muhtar, has said to avert the imminent danger that might befall the country from the protracted global financial crisis, the Federal Government should act fast and speed up the implementation of the various reforms it had embarked upon.
Muhtar who gave this advice yesterday in Abuja at the official handover by the erstwhile finance minister and Deputy Chairman/Minister, National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, obse-rved that in recent times, there had been some slippages as against stability that had been achieved from previous reforms implemented.
“We have key challenges because we are on a critical path in relation to the seven-point agenda and we are at a point when the global environment is changing. Oil price was $147 but now hovering between $30 and $47.
“We started reforms earlier on and we managed to achieve some stability and now we are having some slippages that tell us we need to do something fast. And that is part of the mandate of the Finance ministry,” he said.
As a way forward, Muhtar told workers in the ministry and its agencies to be innovative as well as upscale their performance and be proactive by evolving measures to overcome anticipated challenges.
“Things that have worked in the past may not work in this environment. So, we also need to think ahead; think across other countries, other ministries and other sectors to learn from experiences,” he pointed out.
Muhtar gave stern warning to those who think it would be business as usual, as he told them that the ministry of finance was being watched by all and as such could not afford to perform below expectation.
He said: “We need to have agile processes in place to deliver. We need to have able people. We need to have incentives and also look at the structures.
“On the vision 2020, we should start to develop another vision that is vision to achieve AAA rating. Let’s have a vision that we want to build a ministry that will get a triple rating and deliver on its mandates.”
Usman advised Muhtar to continue with the reforms in tax, insurance and the capital market. According to him, such reforms are all critical to the development of the country.
He also told the new finance minister to ensure that the nation achieves its aim in the reforms of the Nigeria Customs Service, especially the 48 hours clearance.
Meanwhile, six days after swearing in 16 new ministers and assigning old and assigning the portfolios, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua yesterday swore in four more at a special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The meeting was called specifically for the swearing-in of the four ministers, which now brings the number of cabinet ministers to 41.
The new ministers are former Imo Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa (Commerce and Industry), former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette (Niger Delta Affairs), former Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Muhtar (Finance) and Rilwan Babalola (Power).
Yar’Adua reiterated his administration’s total abhorrence to corruption and said “nothing short of honesty, transparency, accountability, the fear of God and hardwork” in the discharge of their public functions were expected of them.
He said: “Six days ago, we swore in your colleagues and with your swearing-in today, this exercise has been almost concluded but for two ministerial nominees that are still with the senate for clearance.
“At that time, I charged the newly sworn in ministers to recognise the times we are in and the challenges this country is facing. We have evolved for ourselves a clear vision which is vision 2020-20 and clear programmes in the seven-point agenda to guide us towards the realisation of this vision.
“Now the current executive council has the enormous responsibility and burden to begin with a serious work to lay a solid foundation for the accomplishment of this vision. And I believe and I have confidence that all four of you will do your best to contribute to ensure that we work towards the accomplishment of this vision.
“Of course, this will require the cherishing of exalted values of honesty, transparency, accountability, the fear of God and hard work in the discharge of our public functions and the total abhorrence of corruption in our public conduct both officially in office and our person conduct because we need to set exemplary standard as leaders. But as I have said, I have full confidence in your ability, determination and commitment to do your best.”
The President, while congratulating the new ministers, reminded them to remember “at all times the oath of office you have taken that will guide you in the conduct of your functions. May God bless you and let me wish you happy Christmas and new year in advance.”
In a chat with State House correspondents after the ceremony, the new Niger Delta Minister, Ekaette, said the staffing of the ministry was not going to be restricted to the region.
“As you are aware is a brand new ministry and we are going to start from the scratch to build up the structures and carry on staffing and establish an office. That is going to be our target. Shortly after that, we will have to make contacts with the various stakeholders. My initial aim is to ensure that we carry everyone along, I want to have an all inclusive organisation. I want an opportunity to meet with the people to let them appreciate that government is now determined to make a difference in the Niger Delta by creating this new ministry which is also one of the seven-point agenda of Mr. President and appointed two indigenes of the Niger Delta region as ministers.
“It is a clear demonstration of the President’s faith in the region and is determined to make sure that we there is a difference. We are going to work closely with him and give him all the support to make sure that achieve the vision for Nigeria 20-2020 and the vision for Niger Delta,” he said.
On the physical location of the new ministry, he said Abuja would be “the seat of government”, with branches in the states “because we are going to deal directly with the states of the Niger Delta zone. Staff will be from all over Nigeria. The ministry is a federal ministry and is going to be staffed by competent officers from within and without the Niger Delta region”.

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From Kunle Aderinokun and Juliana Taiwo in Abuja, 12.24.2008

From John Ofikhenua,

Abuja

Fresh in the saddle as Finance Minister, Dr. Mansur Muhtar yesterday noted that the management of Nigeria’s economy has faltered. He also said the economy is facing some danger.

He spoke in Abuja as he took over the mantle of the Federal Ministry of Finance from Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, lately redeployed as National Planning Minister.

Muhtar, a member of the prestigious Economic Management Team (EMT) of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, said: “We managed reforms earlier with some measure of stability, but now there is a little bit of faltering and the economy is facing some danger.”

He cited low electricity generation, falling oil prices, capital market instability and the not too stable financial system as some problems confronting the economy; saying the task ahead is “a very daunting task”.

The minister explained: “We have key challenges because we are on a critical path in relation to the Seven-Point Agenda and we are at a point when the global environment is changing. Oil price was $147, but it is now hovering between $30 and $47.

“The Ministry of Finance is on a critical time path in relation to achieving set targets. There has been a lot of dissatisfaction that by the end of the year, the budget

has not been satisfactorily implemented.”

Muhtar, a former Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO) who was recalled for ministerial job from the African Development Bank (AFDB) where he was Executive Director, said Nigeria would need to fast-track her various reform measures to ensure she is not overrun in the current global financial meltdown.

He urged the managements and staff of Finance ministry and its parastatals to be innovative, upscale their performance, think ahead and evolve measures to overcome anticipated challenges.

“Things that have worked in the past may not work in this environment. So, we need to think ahead, think across other countries, other ministries and other sectors to learn from experiences,” he said.

The minister cautioned that the ministry is being watched by all, and so it cannot afford to perform below expectation. “We need to have agile processes in place to deliver. We need to have able people. We need to have incentives and also look at the structures,” Muhtar said.

He added: “On the Vision 2020, we should start to develop another vision, which is to achieve AAA rating. Let’s have a vision that we want to build a ministry that will get a triple rating and deliver on its mandates.”

Usman urged Muhtar to intensify on-going sectoral reforms like the tax reform, such as insurance sector reform and the capital market reform. These, according to him, are all important and critical in the life of the nation now.

Finance Minister of State Remi Babalola enjoined all in the ministry to join hands with the minister and “work as a compact team” to achieve the corporate mandate.

He said: “We are not working against each other, we must realise the Ministry of Finance is one. We have daunting challenges ahead of us. To get the economy to the double digit growth rate is challenging, especially in trying to meet the Vision 2020 target. Capital market is suffering, financial market is ill; we all have to be up and running.”

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One Response to “Nigeria not immune to global financial crisis”

  1. Malan Danjuma E. says:

    current issues on nigerian public policies

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