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Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande

The Presidency on Sunday in Abuja said that the Federal Government’s Economic team is strong and competent to discharge its duties.

Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, said this when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
He was reacting to the allegation in some quarters that the country remained in recession due to poor handling of the economy by officials.

N800 billion spent on infrastructure

According to Laolu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic team is composed of competent and tested people with significant private sector experiences.
 
“The major problem of Nigeria’s economy is the problem of vandalism of our oil installations and also the drop in the prices in the international oil market,” Laolu explains
“But look at what we have been able to do in spite of all these problems.
“In spite of the drop in revenue we have paid out almost N800 billion for infrastructure, and for capital projects. This is more than what was budgeted for last year.
“As a matter of fact, if you go and compare it, I am sure that you will find out that this is the highest that has been spent for capital expenditure in recent years.
Akande noted that in the past when the country earned more from oil most of the budget went into recurrent expenditure with less attention given to capital projects.
“When Nigeria had money, and selling oil for over 115 dollars, when we should have developed infrastructure, this did not happen,” Akande said.
“But now that revenue has dropped drastically, we are spending more on infrastructure. That should tell you that we have a capable team.
“We are now managing well within our scarcity, we are managing to do what we are supposed to do and try to set a template.
“This is to say that our budget commits at least 30 per cent to infrastructure.’’
Akande, however, said that people were not paying attention to the gains made so far by the economic team in the area of investment.

Investor influx

Laolu said that due to present economic policies, foreign investors were seeking for ways to invest in the country.
“The Chinese are coming, General Electric is going to invest billions in our railway, we have people coming from Mexico to start agricultural production here in Nigeria.
“There are all kinds of interests coming in, but many Nigerians just want to focus only on those ‘hot money’ portfolio; people who just want to make money and leave.
“Those who want to make long term investments in Nigeria are coming, and they are coming heavily.’’
He assured Nigerians that the Economic Team led by the Vice President had integrity and solid understanding of what public policy ought to be.