No plan to control population, says FG

Dikwa

Following the new population figures for Nigeria put at 201 million by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities(UNPFA), the Federal Government has said it has no immediate plan to control population growth.

The Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mohammed Dikwa, gave the indication at a press conference after the public presentation of the International Monetary Fund(IMF), Spring 2019 issue of the Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa, in Abuja, yesterday.

Reacting to a question on whether or not government was planning to cut population growth, now put at about 3.2 percent growth per annum, against the Gross Domestic Growth(GDP), growth rate of about 1.9 percent, Dikwa said: “The issue of population is an issue we have to take into consideration to a level consultations are being made and there must be legislation.

”As at now, government is not even sure to make any policy to control population growth, because we believe that is the reason why government has to come out with sound policies whereby as we move every year as an indicator to see what we have achieved and what we have not achieved, what measures to take in order to achieve what we want to achieve.

“This vision runs for four years by the group and there already are indications that we will achieve and we won’t have much problem with the population growth for now. But if the need be Government has every right to look into it and make consultations for us including state government on what to do.”

He added that the present administration has committed about N4. 5 trillion into capital projects in its efforts towards bridging the wide infrastructure gap in the country.

He added that the avenues of expanding revenue were being explored in order to better fund the federal budget, while cutting areas of wastages.

According to him, the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit has made tremendous progress in ensuring that Nigerians got value for money on all publicly-funded projects.

Dikwa disclosed further that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, policy and other online platform initiatives in public financial management had improved transparency and accountability in public revenue and expenditure management.

In his remarks, the Central Bank Deputy Governor, Policy, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, disclosed that the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Fixing Mechanism (NAFEX), otherwise called Investors’ & Exporters’ (I&E) window, has recorded transactions amounting to $109.1billion.

The apex bank had introduced I & E forex window in April 2017 to improve access to the dollar and other international currencies, at the foreign exchange market.

According to him, inflows at the window, to date, stood at $16 .5 billion; while outflows was put at $10 billion.

Nnanna said: “The I & E window is a window that manifests the freedom of choice. It gives the relative power of the Naira. It gives us, in the short and medium term what the value of the Naira would be.”

…as CBN disagrees with NGF on 2020 recession

Contrary to the position of the Nigerian Governors Forum, the CBN deputy governor expressed optimism that the economy would grow on the positive side, rather than go into recession next year.

He said: “Are we going to witness increased inflation or are we sliding back into recession? My answer is no. We are making smooth progress towards growth and by end of 2019, all things being equal, we are going to likely have between 2.8 and 3 percent GDP growth rate.

“But is that adequate? My answer is no. Three percent GDP real growth rate is not enough for Nigeria where our population growth rate is 3.2 percent. So, per capita growth rate is still negative but definitely, we are not going through the era of 2016 when we had a recession. That won’t happen. Hopefully, not under CBN watch

“We will grow, unlike in 2016 when we slid into recession. Hopefully, not under the CBN watch. We are going to maintain the policy interest rate in real terms.

“For the money market, our promise to external investors be they portfolio investors or foreign direct investors is that we are going to continue to maintain positive relationship. And the yield in Nigeria is comparative if not more superior to the yield in other emerging market economies.

“Those who want to invest in the frontier market, the place to be is here. We have kept the capital repatriation policy. The promise we made in 2005, we have kept since 2005 and it is a promise that we will continue to keep.

“If you come with a trailer-load of dollars or Euros and you want to go back, you will be allowed to go back with a trailer-load of dollars of Euros, after you have paid the legitimate tax, with your profits.”

The IMF Director, Africa Region, Mr. Abebe Selassie, urged African countries to reduce conflicts, public debts and make efforts to grow their economies better.

He noted that 17 African countries were heavily indebted and that debt service was eating far too much into revenues, across the continent, thereby drastically reducing available for infrastructure and social expenditure.

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