Watch: Nigerian presidential candidate Peter Obi on his plans to transform Nigeria’s economy by investing in the country and by using science and technical expertise.
“This is a great moment. Nigeria is the fastest growing economy in Africa and it is the only major oil producer in Africa. But we are not fully benefiting from this growth. We are suffering from severe budget deficit.”
“You see that the budget deficit is now close to 300 billion dollars or close to one and a half trillion dollars. It is far too large for our budget for the next few years. So I think we need to have some of that surplus in order to bring the deficit down.”
The report, entitled “Why Nigeria needs a new fiscal strategy,” was compiled by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and released on Monday.
While Obi said the IMF was not “fixing” the budget deficit in Nigeria, he said that the country’s development and growth could be promoted if the country’s public spending was reduced by 45 percent.
Obi warned that unless the country’s budget deficit was reduced in the next two years, poverty would worsen and the growth gap would increase to 17.3 percent in 2015-16 from 12.2 percent in 2014-15.
On government spending, Obi said, “We spent more on the military, and on the education system. The education system could have been better. The economy could have done better.”
He said the government spent more on the military because it was under pressure to meet the growing demand for oil.
“We need to reverse the economic development pattern so that the economy develops in a way that the public spending is not going over the amount of the revenue,” he said.