Nigerians have been urged to brace up for a tough 2016 just as the government would be forced to make equally tough decisions in the interest of the country, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has said.
The Minister, who gave the indication at the opening of the 7th Annual Bankers Committee retreat yesterday in Lagos, disclosed that Nigeria was faced with some fairly significant micro-economic challenges that required some fiscal house-keeping to keep her afloat.
“It is going to be tough and we are going to have to make extremely tough decision. We have got the resilience and space to do that”, she said.
The Minister, however, noted that the country fortunately has some head-room, as the debt to GDP ratio is at 12 per cent, which means there is some space to run a deficit budget with the specific objective of stimulating economic growth.
“To do so, we need to do some fiscal housekeeping. We have to control the significant challenge we have around recurrent. If you look at recurrent at a percentage of our total budget with the just approved supplementary budget, it is about 90 percent. If we continue in that trajectory, every penny we borrow will go into recurrent”, she said.
While emphasizing that she was not going to attempt to white-wash the situation or paint a rosy picture, the Finance Minister, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria can over the challenges.