Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, the country’s external reserve has continued to rise , the Federal Government has revealed.
President Muhammadu Buhari in a broadcast to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day said the external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
He said that efforts are on to stabilize the economy, especially as the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.
President Buhari said that government efforts at growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results, explaining that, “in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.”
He said Africa presents a huge opportunity for Nigeria’s export base diversification and the government is developing a strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Nigeria, he explained, has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.
“This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%. We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating,” he noted.
Buhari said that the government remains committed to expanding the country’s mining sector, adding that, “to this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.”
He said with foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, the government is harnessing the supply value chain in gold production, adding that the government would be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages.