ABUJA - Nigeria’s government is targeting a 60% increase in revenues this year in order to keep debt at sustainable levels and relieve widespread hardship, its finance minister said at Semafor’s World Economy Summit.

Wale Edun, speaking at the event in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, said the target was “very much a stretch target” but one that Africa’s biggest economy needs to reduce its fiscal deficit from around 6.1% of GDP to 3.8%.

Edun said the government is working to increase oil production to at least 2 million barrels per day (bpd). Oil production was 1.47 million bpd in 2023 against the government’s target of 1.69 million bpd, the upstream regulator said.

Increasing oil production is “the lowest hanging fruit” for growing Nigeria’s revenues, Edun said. The 2 million bpd target includes tapping into condensates, a form of oil obtained from natural gas whose output is not restricted by OPEC quotas for member states.

While it is typically Africa’s largest crude oil producer, Nigeria’s ability to gain foreign exchange from increasing oil prices has been hampered in recent years by theft and losses along pipelines.

Nigeria’s government also aims to boost revenues through “greater efficiency in collecting taxes and other fees and charges that the government has a right to impose.” He said the government was using digital technology to improve tax collection.

President Bola Tinubu’s reforms since taking office last May have included the partial suspension of a petrol subsidy scheme and the devaluation of the naira. Those measures have given rise to price increases for consumers, especially for food and transportation. Inflation as of March was at 33.2%, a near-three-decade high.

Tinubu has embarked on multiple foreign trips to Europe, Asia and the Middle East to invite investors into the country but fruits from the trips remain to be seen. “We haven’t seen any headline-making investment commitments but there is a lot of interest from foreign direct investors,” Edun said.