“For the final phase of the Paris Club debts refunds, the total sum of N649.434 billion was verified by the Ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the State Governments.
“The payments made by the CBN as at March 2019, is N691.560 billion.
“The increase in CBN payments partly arose from exchange rate differential at the point of payment. Although, some states still have outstanding balances, which will be refunded in due course.”
“Our External Reserves on the other hand, grew from $28.3 billion in 2015 to US $44.69 billion as at May 13, 2019 representing significant improvement that has helped stabilize the economy, including our currency exchange rates.
“Our FX market remained relatively stable from 2017 with the convergence of the NIFEX and NAFEX windows witnessed by November 2018.
“Let me first underscore the vital role of domestic revenue mobilization for continued economic success and inclusive growth in Nigeria.
“Indeed, President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the urgent need for improved revenue performance during his 2019 Budget Speech, and he directed the acceleration of all revenue initiatives.
“The time to act is now – if we do not address the long-standing issue of “unsatisfactory revenue performance” in Nigeria, particularly in the non-oil sector, we will never realize our shared goal of ensuring appropriate financing for critical sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure, and ultimately of co-creating a Nigeria where no one is left behind.
“As Minister of Finance, I have taken on the President’s important call to action, by prioritizing revenue generation, and formally launching in January 2019, the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives, a suite of comprehensive and cross-cutting interventions aimed at boosting revenue performance.
“In 2018 our budgeted revenue was N7.2 trillion this is against the realized figure of N3.96 trillion, signifying a negative variance of 45%.
“Despite this shortfall, we have been able to fully pay salaries and service 100% of our debt. We have also released seven months overhead for 2018, two months for 2019, and N2.079 billion capital expenditure as at 14th May 2019.
“We have adopted a prudent debt management strategy which ensures that we invest what we borrow in capital projects.
“Although our debt by international standards, at 19.09% Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is well below the threshold of 56% for countries similar to Nigeria.
“The government is addressing the issue of reducing the debt service to revenue through a combination of debt substitution strategies.”
“We will continue to monitor key global risks, and the Federal Ministry of Finance is focused on taking key mitigating actions to safeguard the economy and ensure it is resilient to external shocks.
“As anticipated, the global economy has slowed down in 2019 with a revised growth projection of 3.3%.
“This trajectory is mirrored in Africa, with the continent projected to grow slightly more at 3.5% in the same year. Commodity based economies including Nigeria are expected to continue recovery from the rapid commodity crash witnessed from 2014 to 2016.”
“This development represents challenging times amidst this year’s volatility in oil prices that has fallen from $86/barrel in October to $62/barrel in December when I gave my last Press Conference, and risen to a five-month high of above $71/barrel as at April 2019.
“While oil prices are expected to remain within the average range of $70/barrel, continued volatility is expected through the end of 2019.”
“Through reforms at the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and the Joint Tax Board (JTB), we have been able to harmonize the Tax Identity Number (TIN) database to cover Federal, States and Local Governments to establish a unified identity number system for uniquely identifying tax-payers.
“The country’s taxpayer database has been expanded to 35 million from 9 million at the beginning of the administration.
“It is anticipated that this figure will grow to 45 million individual and corporate payers when the ongoing integration of different biometric database is completed"