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Minister Explains World Bank/IMF Programme

This Day (Lagos), 26 October 2000

Lagos—The new World Bank-/IMF programme being implemented by the Federal Government will promote sustainable economic growth, the Minister of State for Finance, Chief Jubril Martins-kuye, has said.

Martins-kuye said on a national television network programme on Monday that the country had started to implement a new economic reform programme since August 4 in the spirit of the newly approved one billion-dollar stand-by facility granted the country by the IMF.

He said contrary to popular opinion, the country's economic adjustment programme was not really structured by the two world bodies but by Nigerians to allow the country achieve positive economic growth rates.

The minister said that the IMF stand-by facility was not available for use now, but designed to assist the country in case it encountered any macro-economic problems during the period of adjustment.

The facility is not real; it is just nominal. It is just an approval by the two institutions of the efforts of the current administration to reposition the economy, he said.

Martins-kuye said the country might not even touch the facility because of increased foreign exchange earnings occasioned by high crude oil prices in the international market.

What we are touching is the positive symbolism that Nigeria's economy is on the path of positive and steady economic growth, he said.

He explained that the country would also not pay any interest on the facility because it was meant to be invested by the institutions and made interest-yielding until the country was ready for the facility.

With a successful implementation of the new reforms, the country stands a chance of reducing its external debts by 70 per cent through cancellation, the minister said, pointing out that the new reforms were different from the former structural adjustment programme.

He said the three tiers of government, the National Assembly and the National Economic Council were well briefed on the new programme before implementation.