Abuja – The Presidency on Sunday in Abuja said that the Federal Government’s Economic team is strong and competent to discharge its duties.
Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, said this in Abuja.
He was reacting to the allegation in some quarters that the country remained in recession due to poor handling of the economy by officials.
According to him President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic team is composed of competent and tested people with significant private sector experiences.
“The major problem of Nigeria economy is a problem of vandalism of our oil installations and also the drop in the prices in the international oil market.
“Look at what we have been able to do in spite of all these problems. In spite of the drop in revenue we have paid out almost N800 billion for infrastructure, for capital projects, more than what was budgeted for last year.
”As a matter of fact, If you go and compare it, I am sure that you will find out that the last couple of years it is the highest that has been paid for capital expenditure in recent years.
“We have almost paid about N735 billion or thereabout. Because we understand infrastructure must play mostly a leading role, if you look the way we have spent our resources in the last several years.’’
Akande noted that in the past when the country earned more from oil most of the budget went into recurrent expenditure with less attention to capital projects.
He said:“When Nigeria had money, and selling oil for over 115 dollars, when we should have developed infrastructure, this did not happen.
“But now that money is hard, we are spending more on infrastructure.“That should tell you that we have a capable team.
“Now the money is hard, we are now managing within that scarcity, we are managing to do what we are supposed to do and try to set a template.
“This is to say that a budget must at least 30 per cent committed to infrastructure.’’
Akande, however, said that people were not paying attention to the gains so far made by the economic team in the area of investment.
He said that due to present economic policies foreign investors were seeking for ways to invest in the country.
“The Chinese are coming, General Electric is going to invest billions in the railway, we have people coming from Mexico to start agricultural production here in Nigeria.
“There are all kinds of interests, but people focus only on those hot money portfolio people who just want to make money and go out now.
“But if you look at those who wants to be in Nigeria for that long they are coming and they are coming heavily.’’
He expressed confidence that the administration was on the right economic direction.
He assured Nigerians that the Economic Team led by the Vice President had integrity and solid understanding of what public policy ought to be.