Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said Nigeria’s worsening economic experience was as a result of sabotage and bad governance.
Mr. Osinbajo, who was receiving the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum in his office in Abuja, said apart from depreciation in Naira value, the country’s economy had no reserves to support it.
“At the height of the oil boom, there were no savings,” he said. “There is no country in the world that can face the kind of stealing that took place in Nigeria without having to deal with the consequences, including the current state of the economy.”
In addition to the massive fall in global oil prices, the VP blamed the situation on vandalism of pipelines, which led to the loss of about one million barrels of oil daily for more than six months.
The destruction of gas pipelines, he said, also resulted in the cut in public power supply.
The country’s economy, which has been battling the negative impact of dwindling oil revenues as a result of declining global oil prices, has officially been confirmed to now be recession, with dire consequences on Nigerians.
But, the Vice President said although the times were hard today, there was “great hope the country will prosper again soon.”
“This country has been badly governed. We are dealing, for instance, with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of $15 billion in one sector alone,” he said
Urging Christian and religious leaders to openly condemn corruption, Mr. Osinbajo said they must stand up against corruption, describing it as the single most important reason of the current state of the country’s economy today.
He said the recent gross domestic product (GDP) figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed growth in agriculture and solid minerals.
In addition, he said the social investment programmes were on course, with about 500,000 jobs scheme expected to take off soon.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, Archbishop John Daniel, who pledged the support of the forum to government’s diversification of the economy, called for access to lower interest rates for businesses.
The forum also asked the federal government to checkmate the activities of violent herdsmen by creating ranches in the states for them and help promote religious harmony.
The Vice President said security agencies have clear instructions to deal with those carrying arms and also deal with anyone causing violence.
He lamented the country’s slow criminal justice system, which was affecting delivering of justice in most cases.