* Graphic on Nigeria's economy bit.ly/2oqjkHJ
By Chijioke Ohuocha
ABUJA, April 20 Nigeria plans to get out of
recession by boosting government revenues and cracking down on
corruption, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said on Thursday, and
will also issue more international debt to pay for
The country is in its second year of recession, brought on
by lower oil prices, which have slashed government revenues,
weakened the currency and caused dollar shortages frustrating
business and households.
World Bank chief economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, on
Wednesday said fiscal adjustments in Nigeria would be "extremely
challenging" and that the country needs to reform its finances
to ensure it can hedge against any future currency
Nigeria also ranks well into the bottom third of
Transparency International's global corruption index. On
Wednesday, for example, more than $43 million found in an
apartment complex in Lagos was said to be related to an
investigation into the handling of humanitarian aid.
Adeosun said her aim was to get the non-oil sector of
Nigeria's economy which accounts for around 90 percent of GDP to
contribute to government revenues.
"Improving non-oil revenues is something we are working hard
on. We are rolling out measures to get more people into the tax
net," Adeosun told CNBC Television.
"We are get out of recession because we are following the
right type of policies. We are improving our revenues, we are
improving our efficiencies in how we spend money.
"We are investing in the infrastructure that is needed,
power, rail, road, the big enablers of growing sustainable
Adeosun said liquidity on currency markets has been
improving as the central bank has boosted dollar supply, thanks
to recently rising oil prices. She added that government was
harmonising fiscal, monetary and trade policies to get the
economy growing again.
However, the central bank, worried about the currency
effects on inflation, has so far resisted calls to lower
interest rates for 14 percent to enable the government borrow
cheaply to spend its way out of recession.
Adeosun said Nigeria plans to issue long-term debt on the
international markets more regularly for infrastructure
projects, taking advantage of the country's debt to GDP ratio of
13 percent. But the interest burden is rising due to low
(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)