Blame Jonathan For Nigeria’s Economic Crisis, Okonjo-Iweala Says

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Former finance minister under President Goodluck Jonathan, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has blamed the former president for the current economic crisis bedevilling the country.

According to Okonjo-Iweala, the lack of political will to save under Jonathan from 2011 to 2015, when the price of oil surged upward, meant Nigeria had nothing to fall back on unlike in the past.

She spoke on Thursday at George Washington University on the topic ‘Inequality, Growth and Resilience’, and said the foresight shown by President Olusegun Obasanjo saved Nigeria from the global economic meltdown of 2008.

Under Obasanjo, she noted, the country saved $22 billion, which turned out to be a wise decision.

“We saved $22 billion because the political will to do it was there. And when the 2008 /2009 crisis came, we were able to draw on those savings precisely to issue about a 5 percent of GDP fiscal stimulus to the economy and we never had to come to the bank or the fund.

“This time around and this is the key now, you need not only need to have the instrument but you also need the political will. In my second time as a finance minister, from 2011 to 2015, we had the instrument, we had the means, we had done it before, but zero political will,” she said.






     

     

    “So we were not able to save when we should have. That is why you find that Nigeria is now in the situation it is in. Along with so many other countries.”

    On the way forward, the two-time finance minister said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, must ensure that countries include savings in their constitutions.

    “We need to devise mechanisms not just that are good technically but find a way to either embed them in the constitution or find a way to separate them from the political manipulation so that these countries can survive over time.

    “To build resilience, African countries need tools, mechanisms and it is doable and we need to interrogate ourselves why we have not done it,” she said, adding that manufacturing is key to Africa, not just Nigeria, where it accounts for nine percent of GDP.

     

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