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President Tinubu Has Shown Transparency In Financial Dealings ~ Vice President Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shettima has said the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led federal government has performed well in its fiscal responsibilities and management, as the administration maintains transparency in financial dealings.

He cited the recent ranking by global credit rating agency, Fitch, which upgraded Nigeria’s credit outlook to positive, describing it as a reflection of increasing confidence in the nation’s economy.

Senator Shettima spoke on Thursday during the 141st meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“There is no doubt that this government has demonstrated transparency in its financial dealings and protections. Therefore, it is not surprising that just a few days ago, Fitch Ratings upgraded Nigeria’s credit outlook to positive, citing reform progress under President Tinubu.

“This reflects the increasing confidence in our economic trajectory, especially in light of policy changes aimed at reducing our debt service burden,” he stated.
NEC also had members of the Institute Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in attendance to “shed light on the accountability index and their ranking of states on public financial management (PFM)”.

This, the VP said, would guide the government at all levels to adjust their “finances and planning for the rainy days based on realistic projections”.

NEC deliberated on the general state of the economy and resolved to do more to improve the situation across the country, especially supporting the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Urging Council members to assess the administration’s journey so far and acknowledge the impact of their decisions, Shettima drew attention to the nation’s MSMEs, describing them as the backbone of the country’s economy.

“As we plan for stability, we must remember that the backbone of our economy isn’t solely comprised of our big corporations. While these entities play a vital role in tracking the nation’s productivity and employment data, it is our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that should keep us awake at night.

“Accounting for about 96% of all businesses in the country and contributing 49% of the national GDP, MSMEs are the backbone of our economy. The past few months of our efforts to mend the economy have caused disruptions that have sent shockwaves throughout the industry. We cannot afford to ignore this reality; immediate intervention is essential to mitigate the damage and ensure their survival,” he pointed out.

To achieve President Tinubu’s promise to create jobs and eradicate poverty, VP Shettima noted that access to capital must be a central driver of the target.

“Therefore, our agenda today revolves around the ongoing and proposed interventions we have designed to support our small businesses.

“Whether it is addressing the inflationary impacts of the inevitable solutions proposed to save the economy or tackling the issue of high-interest rates at our financial institutions, our focus is on ensuring the survival and prosperity of these enterprises.”

The Vice President underscored the role of digital technology in the growth and sustainability of small businesses, tipping Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) as “a work in progress to upscale these businesses.

“The potential of our creative and digital economic sector is vast, and iDICE presents an opportunity to explore it and offer our people an advantage to compete fairly with their counterparts from other parts of the world”, he explained.

Senator Shettima also called for proactive measures in tackling flooding this year, cautioning that incident reports of Nigeria’s vulnerability to flooding in 2024 are such that it requires constant vigilance and preparedness.

“We cannot afford to be caught off guard by a disaster that we are all too familiar with, one that has devastated various communities across the nation, including our urban centers.

“We must not merely prepare for a cure; instead, we must take proactive measures to prevent this annual cycle of loss of lives and properties. While the tragedy itself may be natural, the management of the emergency is within our control,” he declared.

On the Human Capital Development (HCD) Programme launched by the immediate past administration, Vice President Shettima disclosed that the federal government “is set to commence its implementation phase tomorrow (today) under this NEC dispensation, with the inauguration of the steering committee and core working group”.

On the account balances, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, briefed the Council on the update of the Excess Crude Account (ECA), Stabilization and Development of Natural Resources accounts.

The CBN Governor put the ECA as at the end of April 2024 at $473,754.57, while the Stabilization account was put at ₦17,209,155,588.20, during the same period. The Development of Natural Resources Account was put at ₦62,307,926,804.17, also at the end of April, 2024.

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