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Hyper-inflation, low GDP per capita to end soon- Edun

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The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, said Nigerians should expect significant improvements in the overall economic performance.

The assurances came as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that the unemployment rate had reduced from 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

Edun said ongoing government initiatives would put an end to hyperinflation and a decade-long decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

He spoke at the retreat of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms in Abuja.

According to him, the era of GDP per capita falling by 30 percent over the past 10 years is over with the president’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’.
He also assured that the issue of “hyper-inflation in the nation’s economy would soon be a thing of the past”.

Nigeria’s inflation rate rose by 129 basis points from 22.79 percent in June to 24.08 percent in July, driven by the general increase in prices of basic living costs.

Edun noted that the government’s agenda would “create jobs, reduce poverty, control micro and macroeconomic policies, attract investors, stabilize the exchange rate, and drive the economy to reduce poverty to the lowest level”.

He noted that although the removal of fuel subsidies has slowed down the economy, interventions have been put in place to cushion the pain of reform and correct subsidy leakages.

Edun reminded members of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms of Tinubu’s 30-day deadline to deliver something tangible on their assignment, urging them to fast-track their assignment as there was no time to waste.

Incidentally, the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, broached the same issues at the 15th BRICS Summitwhere addressed world leaders at the 3rd BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He said the Tinubu administration was structuring its economic reforms and diplomatic alliances to attract investments and partnerships to Nigeria.

The Vice President, who led a high-powered delegation to represent Tinubu at the 15th BRICS Summit, addressed world leaders at the 3rd BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Shettima said while the administration repositions the economy and diplomatic alliances, it will also be working to align with international and regional cooperation.

“The new government, which began less than three months ago, is examining the variables and evaluating the scope and level of regional and global cooperation to pursue in order to establish Nigeria as the desired friend and partner,” Shettima said.

He addressed a large audience, which included the presidents of China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Russia’s Foreign Minister.

He noted that the theme of the dialogue, “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism,” underscored the profound realization that the cornerstone of stability within an intricate multipolar landscape lies in fostering developmental partnerships.

He commended the organizers, saying the agenda aligns with “the aspiration of the people we represent, the future citizens of a world that can ensure our collective prosperity”.

Shettima said the dialogue provided a unique platform for deliberation, note comparison, and exploration of a mutually beneficial partnership that could evolve into a novel driving force for development.

“The international global governance structure to which we currently adhere was established prior to the independence of the African continent and many countries in the global south.

“So, it’s indeed imperative to reform global governance to align with the realities of today’s world and to acknowledge the necessity for partnerships that ensure shared prosperity, inclusivity, and sustainable development,” the Vice President said.

He assured that the Tinubu government “is committed to shaping and fortifying the global framework and governance concerning all major international issues, particularly in the fields of finance, climate change, bridging the digital divide, adopting a comprehensive strategy towards debt alleviation, addressing food and energy insecurities, instituting post-pandemic recovery measures, and fostering financial inclusion within developing countries”.

Stressing the need for revitalized international cooperation that is effective, representative, and inclusive to tackle the challenges facing the world, Shettima said Nigeria is ready for collaboration and partnership that guarantees a world governed by acceptable rules and norms.

“We seek partnerships that provide opportunities for all to engage in trade, prosperity, and shared progress with no marginalization based on geography, race, or legitimate sovereign affiliations,” Shettima said.

Reflecting on the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Vice President explained that several nations confront historical developmental vulnerabilities and challenges that are beyond their control and thus need to unite within regional groups and forge a novel form of international cooperation to foster the SDGs.

He added that global partnerships would also strengthen vibrant private sector participation among the countries of the global south and nurture youth employment and skill building as a deterrent against terrorism, organized crime, and related challenges.

Earlier in his address on the 3rd day of the summit, the Chair of BRICS and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed the commitment of South Africa to advance the interests of the global south.

He announced that as part of the outcomes of the summit to expand its objectives, the group has approved the admission of six new full members, including Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates.

In its report on the Nigeria Labour Force Survey (NLFS), Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, the NBS stated that the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

The report indicated that more Nigerians are becoming self-employed.

The share of wage employment was 13.4 percent in the fourth quarter and 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

It stated that the proportion of Nigerians operating their businesses or engaging in farming activities rose from 73.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 75.4 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

The report also showed improvement in working hours, with 36.4 percent and 33.2 percent of employed persons working less than 40 hours per week in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, respectively.

The report indicated that this trend was common among individuals with lower levels of education, young people, and those living in rural areas.

In the first quarter of 2023, the NBS said about 76.7 percent of working-age Nigerians were employed, as against 73.6 percent recorded in the preceding quarter.

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