• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Senate drills Wale Edun on recipe for economic turnaround

Nigeria expects $10bn inflows in few weeks- Edun

The Senate Tuesday weighed the potential of Wale Edun, presidential adviser on monetary policies to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu in spearheading economic reforms at the federal level. They also looked at his potential in addressing critical financial challenges facing the nation.

The consideration was part of the ministerial nominees screening process.

Led by Godswill Akpabio, the senate presdident, members of the Red Chamber drilled Edun, seeking insights into his potential impact on the nation’s economy if he emerged the Minister of Finance.

Read also: Why Wale Edun’s new job is puzzling

Edun’s track record as the honourable commissioner for Finance in Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 during Tinubu’s tenure particularly drew the attention of the Senators.

At that time, Lagos State had a population of 10 million, and its monthly revenue was ₦1.2 billion. However, Edun’s financial expertise led to an economic turnaround, and the state’s internal revenue surged to N6.9 billion monthly, an increase of 469 percent.

“If given the opportunity, I will do my best to ensure that it is not wasted,” Edun said while addressing the screening committee.

The four key elements that contributed to Lagos’s financial success and prowess were outlined by Edun during the Senate screening to include technology, civil service reforms, public private sector partnership and financial market.

Technology: A strong commitment to technology was instrumental in boosting revenue generation. Through its strategic application, loopholes were plugged, and efficiency was significantly improved, Ẹdun explained.

Civil Service Reforms: Edun highlighted the total computerisation of government operations, which amounted to a comprehensive civil service reform.

Public-Private Partnership: The reliance on the private sector and private investment played a crucial role in driving the state’s economy, he said.

Financial Market: Efficient utilisation of financial markets allowed Lagos State to access domestic financial resources for long-term financing, further contributing to its economic progress.

Senators, including Gbenga Daniel from Ogun, also raised questions about Nigeria’s mounting debt and sought Edun’s insights on addressing this issue if he were appointed as the Minister of Finance.

“When you look at what has happened with revenue, it is like having a bucket with a hole in it and pouring water in it. The minute you block the hole, the revenue piles up. I’m sure your state governors will tell you that their fiscal situation has turned around and same with the federal government,” Edun said.

“It is not quite a question of how do we spend it, but I assure you, there will be a continuous improvement in the fiscal situation at the federal and state level and that takes care of the debt situation.

Read also: Tinubu names Wale Edun, Special Adviser Monetary policy

“Owing is not a bad thing, as long as you have the revenue to service and it was and it still is the commitment of President bola Ahmed Tinubu. to curtail spending, to curtail inefficiencies and also to stay within the law in terms of borrowing to finance government operations,” he said.

Speaking further, Edun made some reservations about how to kick the dragging Nigerian economy back to life and to its feet to be up and running as the largest economy in Africa.

He said: “As regards the state of the economy, let us remember, where we have come from. In 1990, the wealth, the income per capita, the GDP per capita of Nigeria was higher than that of China as recently as 1990. Today, Chinese per capita income is $13,000 nearly while Nigeria’s is just over $2,000; so you can see the gap that has opened up and the reason why was that growth was stalled by insecurity, by inflation and by wasteful government expenditure to a large extent.

“However, in the last two months, there really has been a turnaround in the Nigerian economy, which is room for tremendous optimism. The subsidy removal and the exchange rate elimination of multiple windows has left us in a very strong perfect position to go forward.

” it is the concern that Mr. President has been raising, in the time between, the several months that it takes for the benefit of economic reform to come through, there is substantial economic pain and that’s why the task of government and the commitment of President Tinubu is to ensure that the poorest, the weakest and the most vulnerable in society are protected through that period.

“Distinguished senators, it is not just a job for the federal government, the states have their role to play, the corporate sector has its role to play, individuals have the role to play.

“The economy has been turned around and put on a positive path, finding bold and courageous monetary and fiscal measures of President Tinubu and what remains is for us to do all we can to support this process so that we stay the course and move this country to the level of a prosperous nation, which is where it rightfully belongs and the people of Nigeria deserve to be.”