Nigeria lacked political will to save under GEJ —Okonjo-Iweala
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Nigeria lacked political will to save under GEJ —Okonjo-Iweala

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Nigeria lacked political will to save under GEJ —Okonjo-Iweala

Erstwhile Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has literally heaped Nigeria’s current economic woes on the ousted administration of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).

She revealed that the Jonathan administration could not save when oil prices were high because it lacked the political will to do so.

She spoke Thursday at the George Washington University, Washington D.C, noting that the Goodluck Jonathan administration differed seriously from the Olusegun Obasanjo administration under whose administration the Nigeria government saved $22 billion.

The former finance minister and World Bank president, who spoke on “inequality, growth and resilience,” with Chile as an example of a country with a saving culture, was quoted to have said: “We tried it in Nigeria, we put in an oil price based fiscal rule in 2004 and it worked very well.

“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 five per cent of GDP fiscal stimulus to the economy, and we never had to come to the Bank or the Fund.

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“This time around and this is the key now, you need not only 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.

“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.

“That is the question that I ask, what do we need to do to these countries to save over a period of long accelerated growth.

“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.”

 

 

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