About 30% of Nigeria’s forex spending is for the importation of premium motor spirit(fuel) according Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance. The minister disclosed this in Lagos at the launch of “FirstGem” , a product of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., aimed at empowering women through wealth creation. She regretted that it was disheartening that Nigeria exports crude oil and imports petroleum.
She said, “We lose a lot of money exporting unprocessed raw materials. We don’t have the power to process and that’s why we need to build infrastructure to export processed products in order to earn more foreign exchange.”
“If we have an enabling infrastructure such as power, roads , among others, cost of doing business in Nigeria will reduce drastically.”
Mrs Adeosun promised that funds borrowed by the government would be tied to capital projects to boost infrastructure development while acknowledging that government revenue had reduced due to drop in the price of oil at the global market.
“Its a difficult time but we will get out of it. We will survive and get better. Nigeria is tough but we are very resilient, ” she said.
The minister highlighted the important role of women to the country’s development and advised that women needed to be financially independent as they represent 52 per cent of the country’s population, adding that, 70 per cent SMEs operators were women. She therefore urged women to save and stick with their budget in order to prepare for tough times, noting that, women must not spend all their monies on consumables.
According to her, “Women have to open their eyes, your children are not your pension because it doesn’t work any more.”
Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, wife of Nigeria’s vice president, who was the special guest of honour at the event, commended the bank for the product aimed at empowering women and encouraged women to take advantage of the product and empower themselves, noting that, recession had opened up a lot of opportunities that were yet to be tapped.