Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, gave a speech on “Sustainable Economic Opportunities” at the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja. The speech majored around a recurring theme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration viz diversification of the economy and the shift from oil.
Highlights of her speech:
- FG is committed to “diversifying the economy, from growing agriculture, mining, as well as ensuring that the right infrastructure are put in place to support businesses.”
- Nigerian economy is back on the path of growth but “also exposed to fragility by external shocks.”
- Growing unemployment is a threat, and young people are the country’s most important resource: “What we have to do as policy makers is to engage and make the youth to be productive,’’ Ahmed said.
- Infrastructure priorities and the plans to concession the major Airports
The false remark: The Minister made an attempt to talk up the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and said that the government was on track to achieve the targets. Making an example of the electricity sector, she noted that the government has attained over 7000 megawatts from 3500 megawatts which it met.
That statement is incorrect.
Ahmed said: “Our target is to attain 10,000 Mega Watts (MW) electricity by the year 2020, and we started up with 3,500 MWs and we have 7, 200 MWs, so we are on target and we will surpass the target that we have set.’’
The fact is that the Buhari administration inherited about 4517MW from the Jonathan government according to documents from the Ministry of Power. By August 25 2015, a few months into the Buhari administration, power reached peak generation at 4,748MW according to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), another evidence that contradicts the Minister’s claim.
But maybe she has records that disputes these other sources. In that case, it would be great if she could share.