We won’t despair —Okonjo – Iweala
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Gulf Co-OPERATION Council countries adequately prepared for the current crashing crude oil prices with a war chest of about $2.7 trillion, the Minister of State for Finance, Amb Bashir Yuguda, disclosed yesterday.
He said this while addressing the nation’s treasury managers at a workshop on how to face the challenges of dwindling oil revenue, in Abuja.
He said the current challenge required full implementation of various reforms towards diversifying the nation’s economy and prudent resource management.
Amb. Yuguda said: “I was at the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, meeting last December. Even if the crude oil price is at $20 per barrel, Saudi Arabia will still be making money.
“The GCC nations have $2. 7 trillion war chest to deal with the dwindling crude oil prices. Here we are faced with the challenge.
“How do we increase our revenue and at the same time reduce the cost of governance through judicious utilisation of available resources? These are the challenges before us. It requires commitments from all of us to make sure it works.”
The GCC nations include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Crude oil price has fallen to about $47 per barrel at the international market, while the nation’s gross official external reserves as at December 31, 2014, stood at $34.25 billion.
In a message to the workshop, the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the public should not listen to detractors who wanted Nigerians to despair over the current revenue challenges.
Her words: “We will not listen to those who want us to throw up our hands. We have repositioned ourselves to face the challenges of volatile oil prices. We have to strive harder to be on the same page with the realities of economic development.”