Tough call for new Minister of Finance, Adeosun

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Mrs. Kemi Adeosun as the Minister of Finance.
Adeosun succeeds Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is the immediate past Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy.
Before her new appointment, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun was the Honourable State Commissioner for Finance in Ogun State.
An investment banker and accountant with over 23 years experience gained in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, Kemi Adeosun is an Economics graduate and a member of the Institutes of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales, as well as Nigeria.
A lot awaits the new minister of finance especially now that the pressure is still on from international credit institutions for further devaluation of the country’s currency.
Even now, the naira is still on the slide. Consumer inflation is also in double digit figure of 9.4 percent as at September. This is above the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) target ceiling of 9 percent.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this is the highest level of consumer inflation since 2013.
Also, unemployment has increased to 24.5 percent, the highest in six years. States are living on bailouts.
Only recently, the President said that “Nigeria is broke.”
He has never stopped to remind everyone that he inherited an “empty treasury”, with a N7trillion debt from the immediate past government of Goodluck Jonathan.
The national debt is on the rise, price of oil in the international market has fallen by over 52 percent in the last one year.
These are the burdens that await the new minister of Finance.
The last one year has seen the economy dipped from 6.23 percent in the third Quarter of 2014, to 5.94 percent in the fourth Quarter of same year.
In the first quarter of 2015, growth rate further dipped to 3.9 percent and 2.35 percent in the Second Quarter of 2015.
The implication is that recession is imminent. That’s what happens when any economy experiences two consecutive periods of low growth. Gross Domestic Product is now worse than earlier official forecasts by the World Bank.
In addition, business confidence in the country is reportedly low. The World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business Report” released last week shows Nigeria kissing the bottom rung as one the “20 worst countries” globally for doing business.
All of these are warning signals.
Statistics from the Debt Management Office (DMO) also show that Nigeria’s external debt profile has risen to $11bn against the $9.4bn recorded in March this year, while domestic debt has risen to N11trn.
This is a huge challenge to Adeosun, and indeed, the Economic team led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Therefore, turning the economy around is a tough job that requires all hands on deck.
We expect a new economic blueprint that will have an instant positive impact. Also, for maximum output, the minister of finance must study what her predecessor has done and continue from there.

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