By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
The federal government is making arrangement to settle the debts it owed local contractors in a bid to assist the ongoing reforms in the banking sector. The Minister of Finance Dr. Mansur Murhtar disclosed this at a press briefing organised by the Nigeria delegation to this yearâ€™s IMF/World Bank meeting in Istanbul Turkey.
The Minister who
is the head of the Nigeria delegation said that the federalÂ ministry of finance is undertaking the verification of all federal government debt to local contractors and that government would pay the contractors to enable those owing the banks to pay off their indebtedness. He stated that this is part of the process of ensuring adequate liquidity in the economy.
He said that the government has suspended discussion with the International Monetary Fund IMF on the 2nd policy support instrument pending when the necessary policy frame work will be ready.
He started that the second policy support instrument will be based on the vision 2020 document which has been finalised by the National Planning Commission. The policy he said has to be home grown and owned by Nigeria. The IMF will only endorse it. The first policy support instrument for Nigeria was based on the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy,
NEEDS. It was articulated by the National Planning Commission and the office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President then. Nigeria since 2004 had talked about vision 2020 without any documentation and policy framework to back it up. On coming on board, the present government headed by Umaru Yarâ€™adua decided to articulate the policy framework for the vision. It is the document that will now be adopted by government and presented to the IMF for endorsement for purposes of monitoring, technical support and advise to the federal government by the multilateral institutions.
Dr. Mansur said that the Nigeria team is in Istanbul to pursue broad based goals that will enable the country achieve macro economic stability that will enable Nigeria derived the maximum benefit of its membership of the Bretton Wood multilateral Institution. He said that both the management of the IMF and the World Bank have acknowledge the progress so far madeÂ by Nigeria in economic recovery efforts though the future is being viewed with cautious optimism.
He also said that Nigeria and other Africa countries are pushing for an increased Africa voice at both the World Bank and IMF stating that an addition executive seat is being asked for at both institution for Africa. He said that at the World Bank level Africa caucus is pushing for an Executive board member which the Bank board has conceded while at the IMF, the Africa group is calling for an alternate board member.
Dr. Mansur said that the Africa caucus is equally urging the Bretton Wood Institutions to liberalise their employment policies in order to accommodate more Africa personnel in these institutions. He said this has become imperative as it is Africans who actually know the real problems of the continent and be favourably disposed to committing resources to tackling such problems.