The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday said the huge amount that the Federal Government was spending on infrastructure projects across the country was attracting fresh investments into the country.
The minister stated this when a delegation of about 20 investors visited her at the headquarters of the finance ministry in Abuja to discuss investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Adeosun told the delegation, which was led by a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, that in 2017 alone, the sum of N1.2tn was released by the ministry for implementation of capital projects.
She added that the ministry was ready to make such a huge release this year once the 2018 budget, which is currently before the National Assembly, was passed and signed into law by the President.
One of the cardinal focus of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, according to Adeosun, is to address the infrastructure deficit in the country.
This, she added, would be achieved through targeted spending on projects that would unlock the economic potential of the country.
She described the level of interest from foreign investors in the Nigerian economy as huge, adding that very soon, the interests would translate to massive investments that would create jobs and reduce the level poverty in the country.
Adeosun stated, “It’s a great time for investors to be in Nigeria. For us, it’s a better time now than last year because, finally, we think that we are beginning to address through deliberate policies some of the most stubborn problems that have held back Nigeria’s growth.
“We’ve gone through very difficult adjustments but we are seeing that the macroeconomic fundamentals are much more positive and the outlook is that they will remain positive.
“The good news is that we have actually begun to take steps in terms of reducing our (crude oil) benchmark price by keeping it low, allowing us to rebuild some of our buffers.
“Our budget is predicated on lower oil price, and for me, we are focusing on revenue because we think that is the missing part of the Nigeria jigsaw.
“We also want to increase our tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio from six per cent to an initial target of 10 per cent and the long-term goal is to be around the 15 to 20 per cent range.”
She said the economy had started seeing the impact of the expanded budget of the Federal Government with massive infrastructure investments in power, roads, and rails.
“Our commitment to solving the infrastructure challenges in Nigeria is firm, because we think that is what will unlock growth in agriculture and solid minerals, and make us move away from our over reliance on oil,” she added.
Usman gave some of the sectors where the investors were interested in to include power, manufacturing, agriculture and solid minerals, among others.