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FG plans debt restructuring

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Niger Delta leaders demand restructuring as panacea for peace

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

Faced with mounting debt servicing obligations, the federal government is planning to push for debt restructuring.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who gave the indication while featuring on a   Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, programme, yesterday, said the current debt servicing obligations were taking too much of the nation’s resources, especially at a time of low revenue generation.

“We are looking forward to restructuring our debts to reduce our debt servicing obligations, especially now that our revenues are low,” she said.

Mrs. Ahmed did not give details of the restructuring but noted that going forward, the government would focus more on local borrowing and concessionary loans.

In order to improve federal government revenues, the minister disclosed that the administration would sell some public assets that had been lying dormant.

She said the government would strengthen its Public Private Partnership, PPP, policy with a view to giving private investors more opportunities to play greater roles in the provision of  infrastructure in the country.

‘’The proposed Infrastructure Company (Infraco) would be very useful in that regard,’’ she added.

READ ALSO: FG spends N609.134bn on debt servicing between Jan-March

Infraco, she said, would provide a platform for private investors to invest in infrastructure facilities such as roads and rail lines.

According to the minister, the federal government is working to make it easier for mass transit buses to be imported into the country to reduce the cost of transportation which impacts heavily on the rate of inflation.

Mrs. Ahmed also stressed the   need for peace and harmony across the country to enable the economy  exit recession quickly.

She said:  “We must have peace and harmony.     Insecurity has the potential of slowing down growth.”

The minister said government’s policy on Ease-of-Doing Business would be sustained, listing the items to include reduction of taxes, duties and levies to enable businesses expand and hire more workers, rather than close down or sack workers, as would otherwise, be the case.

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