The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has said the federal government will not be bothered by fluctuations in the price of crude at the international market.
Adeosun told Bloomberg in an interview yesterday that the federal government has learnt to live with a low crude oil price. Oil price which had sold as low as $25 per barrel crossed $70 per barrel this week on a bullish streak.
“We have gotten to a point where we don’t care whether oil prices will be sustained at the level that they have recently risen to.
“We have been able to balance our budget at $45-$46 per barrel and we’ve got to learn to live comfortably at that level,’’ she said.
Stating that the country cannot afford to rely so much on the commodity anymore, Adeosun said, “yes, it’s at $66-$67 per barrel today, but we’ve been here before, right? And we can’t afford to be exposed to that, so I really try very hard to ignore the oil price.”
Brent crude has rallied almost 60 percent since the middle of last year as OPEC and allied producing nations stick to agreed output curbs. The global benchmark traded at about $70.80 a barrel in London on Thursday morning.
Nigeria, which derives about two thirds of its revenue from crude, is seeking to diversify its economy. The government’s efforts include pushing for agricultural expansion to reduce a heavy food-import bill and boost exports.
Adeosun while noting that the government is seeking to plug an infrastructure gap of $25 billion, said “the infrastructure gap is significant, it is far bigger than anybody had imagined, in power, in roads, in rail.”
Nigeria’s foreign-exchange reserves have been boosted by the rise in crude prices, combined with an increase of oil shipments and improved investor confidence.
Barring any shock, the Central Bank of Nigeria could build its reserves to $60 billion in the next 12 to 18 months, from $40 billion currently, Governor Godwin Emefiele said in an interview Wednesday.
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