Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, declared at the weekend that the outgoing administration tackled numerous challenges, implemented transformative policies, and laid the groundwork for sustainable and inclusive growth and development.
Ahmed, who spoke at a send-forth ceremony in Abuja, where friends, associates and development partners, among others, applauded her contributions to the nation, said the ministry under her watch implemented notable reforms to support economic recovery and resilience in the country.
According to her, the ministry was committed to medium-term revenue and expenditure frameworks to strengthen public finances, create fiscal space and keep public debt on a sustainable path.
“Our dedication to revitalising revenues over the medium term led to improved non-oil revenue under the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI).
“In spite of revenue challenges, government consistently met its debt service commitments, while post-financing assessments showed adequate capacity to repay loans,” she said.
The minister noted that under her watch, economic growth received further impetus, with focus shifted towards fiscal consolidation.
“This included streamlining new taxes and intensifying expenditure control measures, with a resolute commitment to advancing expenditure rationalisation initiatives.
“The passage of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which took effect in early 2022, and the consequent establishment of the NNPC Limited, are expected to increase investments and strengthen oil revenues.
“Additionally, there were executive orders on promoting procurement by government agencies, the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment,” Ahmed said.
The outgoing minister stated that her achievements in office were made possible through collaborative efforts.
“None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the strong support of all our critical stakeholders too numerous to list here.
“I acknowledge every contribution made by everyone to the work of fulfilling the ministry’s mandate, which I believe will ultimately result in improvements to the lives of all Nigerians.
“To the vice-president and my esteemed colleagues in Federal Executive Council, and our friends in the legislature, I cannot thank you enough for the exceptional collaboration we have shared.
“I am grateful for the camaraderie, and shared determination we have experienced throughout our time together,” she said.
Economic diversification, she noted, remained a key priority for Nigeria, adding that consequently, development plans encompassed initiatives for developing supportive infrastructure and reforms aimed at reducing dependency on oil, alleviating inequality and unemployment, establishing robust and effective institutions and addressing governance issues.
The minister stated that major achievements and ongoing initiatives, which would accrue to the benefit of Nigerians if carried forward by the incoming federal government, had been documented.
At the ceremony, torrent of goodwill messages poured from her counterparts, friends, old school mates and representatives of international financial including the World Bank.
In his goodwill message, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, said: “Though we faced a lot of challenges, we pulled through.
“We developed the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025, a medium-term plan and agenda 2050 for the country,” he said.
The ceremony was attended by governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly and first class traditional rulers, among others.