Maku rates Nigeria’s Economy Higher than USA, UK, Japan

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Labaran MakuThe Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku, Tuesday said the country’s economy fared very well in 2013.

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Maku, while speaking at the December edition  of the ministry’s monthly  media briefing in Abuja, stated that if the nation’s  economic prowess as witnessed in 2013 continues for another 10 years, Nigeria would become the strongest economy in Africa.

While comparing economic fortunes of the Nigeria with other nations of the world, Maku said the national debt burden of Nigeria was 21 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to South Africa’s 42.7 per cent, USA’s 106 per cent, United Kingdom’s 90 per cent, Japan’s 225 per cent.

The minister explained that Nigeria remains one of the strongest economies in the world, adding that the GDP rate of 7.2 per cent in 2013 is one of the fastest growing globally.

He also said the inflation rate had declined to single digit, giving the current inflation rate of 8 per cent as at September 2013, as against the 9.0 per cent recorded in January 2013.
The minister stated that Nigeria’s foreign reserve had increased to $48.4 billion from $32.08 billion in May 2011, adding that the excess crude account also rose from $4 billion in 2011 to $9 billion at the end of 2012.

“The dollar exchange has remained stable in the last two years (between N155 and N160). As at May 2013, Nigeria’s foreign reserve was $48.4 billion up from $32.08 billion in May 2011.
Excess Crude Account (ECA) rose from $4 billion in 2011 t
He added that the Capital Market had improved tremendously as, according to him,  the stock market index rose by 71 per cent from May 2012, and stock market capitalisation also had increased by 66.2 per cent since May 2012.

According to Maku, eight out of the 14 broad sectors including solid minerals, financial institution and insurance, building and construction,  transport, education,  roads, and surpassed their growth targets for  the federal government’s transformation agenda.
In the road sector, Maku said the  most visible of the achievements within the past two months included the commencement of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Bida-Mokwa Road performed on November 14, 2013, the commencement for the rehabilitation of Akure-Ilesha Road performed on November 15, 2013, and the commencement of the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway sections 1 and 11 performed on November 30, 2013.
“How can we do all these things and people will say nothing is happening? What else do they want from a responsible government? Please don’t listen to them when they say nothing is happening, they are only playing politics,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maku said there was no alternative to the state of emergency declared in the three North-east states currently battling the scourge of insurgency.

The minister, who observed that the state of emergency and other security strategies of the federal government had succeeded in stamping-out the attacks beyond the three states under emergency rule, said the increase in capacity of the troops had succeeded in reducing the attacks.
“They were already striking Abuja, at the UN House, Force Headquarters and ThISDAY office, they struck Kaduna severally and even at Okene, but the spread was forestalled due to increase in deployment,” he said.

He added that those who called for an end to the state of emergency imposed on the three states could not suggest an alternative strategy to combat the menace.
“Those who are saying that the state of emergency should be relaxed, when we ask them to provide an alternative could not give any,” he said.

Maku said the federal government had not been able to win the terror war due to their style of operation, adding that other countries that had similar experience had not been able to win the terror war.

“We have not been able to win the terror war, not because of lack of capacity, but because they are different type of enemy. Insurgency is not a standing army, if they were to be a standing army, I promise that Nigeria will subdue them in five minutes,” he said.

Maku who caution politicians from using youths as thugs, urged state governments to ensure adequate security in their various states, as he said breach of security in any state would threaten the nation’s security as currently is in the North-east.

The minister described last Saturday’s local council elections in Yobe State which was won landslide by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a charade.
Maku said a situation where a ruling political party in a state would win all chairmanship and councillorship seats in the local government elections shows that there was no election conducted in the state.

“To say that a single political party won all elections in troubled states where over 20 per cent of their schools are closed is worrisome. There was no election in Yobe, if that had happened in a PDP controlled state, some people by now will be calling for Jega’s head. He who comes for equity must came with clean hand,” he said.
The minister urged Nigerians to show commitment to the country’s unity and Nigeria enters its centenary year.

“This year is the 99th year of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the hope of the rest of Africa rests on this great nation, Nigeria. We have a historic duty to maintain this country into perpetuity, Nigeria has made tremendous progress from 1914 to date, we are one of the best countries in Africa today; both in terms of infrastructure and human development,” he concluded.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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