Lai Mohammed: TSA Prevents Nigeria from Imminent Collapse

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the judicious management of the Treasury Singles Account (TSA) plus the unrelenting war on corruption is why the country, hard hit by economic hardship, has not collapsed.

Mohammed made this allusion Thursday at the All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) 2016 in Port Harcourt, where he listed the economic challenges and the efforts to steer the country’s to safety.

He said that the Buhari administration is applying prudent management in the use of scares resources made possible by the anti-corruption fight, TSA and elimination of ghost workers.

The minister predicted that the increasing emphasis on agriculture will soon reduce the nation’s scandalously high dependence on food importation , saying that the country is facing the consequence occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil by failing to save for the rainy day as well as not investing in infrastructure.
”Nigeria has nothing to rely on to cushion the effects of the lost earnings,” he said.

“Many other oil producing countries and fellow OPEC members are faring better, because they saved for the rainy day. Saudi Arabia, with about one fifth of Nigeria’s population, has in foreign reserves about 600 billion dollars (which is 23 times what Nigeria has in
foreign reserves). United Arab Emirates, with less than 10 million people, has 75 billion dollars in foreign reserves. Qatar, with 2.4 million people, has 36 billion dollars in foreign reserves. Even Angola, with just 24 million people, has about 25 billion dollars in
foreign reserves.

”Here in Nigeria, with oil selling consistently for over 100 dollars a barrel for many years, we simply failed to save for the rainy day, with the result that a country with a population of over 170 million today has just 26 billion dollars in foreign reserves. To compound
this, the fall in the price of crude is having a ripple effect: the scarcity of foreign exchange, which has resulted from the oil price crash, means that industries are struggling to get foreign exchange to import raw materials and machinery.

With falling imports, the Customs Service, which is another source of revenue, is collecting less Duties. Taxation is also affected, as industries with no forex to import can neither employ more people nor produce more goods. Then, Nigeria has had to fight an existential battle to root out Boko Haram in the North-east,” he said.

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