The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said federal government has suspended its $22.7 billion external borrowing plans due to current realities in the global economic landscape.
Ahmed made this known in Abuja on Monday at the 2020 International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market, organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
She said: “The parliament is still doing its work on the borrowing plan. One arm of the parliament has completed theirs and the other arm is still working and it is a process that is controlled by the parliament itself, so we are waiting.
“However, we are not going out immediately because the market indication is not in favour of external borrowing at this time. Even if we get approvals we will defer it and watch the market and go out only when the timing is right.
“Several national plans, programmes and projects have been directed at diversifying the production and revenue structures of our economy.
“While some levels of achievements have been recorded in this area, more still needs to be done to ensure that our production and exports base become more robust, less vulnerable to external shocks and provide more opportunities to our teeming population.”
Also speaking, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the government was taking steps towards developing the Nigerian commodities market, using it as a major driver for its economic diversification efforts.
Osinbajo said: “As we are all aware, Nigeria is working on diversifying its economy as well as its revenue sources. The need to develop other channels of generating revenue and foreign exchange is critical.
“This need is further underscored by the recent drop in the global price of crude oil, which also constitutes a major threat to achieving planned government expenditure.
“There are various other initiatives towards mapping, quantifying and efficiently exploring the nation’s solid minerals deposits. Such efforts are equally necessary to diversify the country’s revenue sources from oil and create more opportunities in the regions where such solid minerals are deposited.
“No doubt, some of these developments in Nigeria’s agriculture and solid minerals sectors present emerging opportunities to be further enhanced and fully explored, all to the benefit of everyone in the country, as well as our foreign partners.”