Okonjo-Iweala replies Clinton, Ezekwesili, others, says Nigeria’s economy strong

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The fiancé minister defended Nigeria’s economic performance.

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has replied critics of the Nigerian economy saying the economy is buoyant and strong.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala, in a message put on social media on Wednesday, dismissed reports of the poor performance of the economy and the management of the excess crude revenue.

Her statement comes few days after former American President, Bill Clinton, indicted the Federal Government for not using the huge revenue realised from crude oil exports, effectively, to positively impact on the lives of Nigerians.

Mr. Clinton had on Tuesday in Abeokuta, during the annual Thisday Awards, expressed disappointment at the management of Nigeria’s oil wealth.

“You haven’t done well with your oil money,” the former American President said.

“When I became President, my Secretary for Commerce did a lot of work in Africa before he was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1995. I told him to make the list of the 10 most important countries in the world for the 21st century and Nigeria was in the list. Imagine the future of the entire continent if Nigeria fails or South Africa fails. So, you are a country of great potential.”

But, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said such views were misleading, as the economy was healthy, with other indices, including inflation and foreign reserves, were showing positive levels of performances.

In the statement titled ‘Federal Ministry of Finance Clarifications on the State of the Economy, the excess crude account and related issues’, signed by the finance minister and pasted on facebook and twitter, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said “it is essential that Nigerians understand the exact position of the economy, and the integrity of these important government accounts”.

“This note aims to provide some facts for Nigerians on these issues, to clarify the exact position, and finally to put these concerns to rest”, she added.

Apart from Mr. Clinton, some former public officials, including a Minister of Education under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Oby Ezekwesili, have criticised Nigeria’s management of the Excess Crude Account with Ms. Ezekwesili alleging that the administration of Mr. Jonathan, and that of his late predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua, mismanaged the funds left in the account by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

While not mentioning Mr. Clinton or Ms. Ezekwesili’s names, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said her statement was borne out of “a number of comments…” that had appeared in the Nigerian media.

“In recent times, a number of comments and articles have appeared in the media, which have tended to talk down the performance of the Nigerian economy and question the accuracy and transparency of the Excess Crude Account and the External Reserves of the country,” she said.

According to her, the specific issues that have been raised in recent times include the health and prospects of the Nigerian economy, the composition of the external reserves, and purported discrepancies in account balances reported by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

To back up the claims, the minister highlighted improvements on the nation’s economic indices.

“Inflation is now down to single-digit at 9.0% in January 2013, compared with 12.6% in January 2012. The exchange rate has been relatively stable, and the fiscal deficit at just under 2% of GDP is on a downward trajectory, and below our threshold of 3% of GDP,” she said.

According to her, national debt is at a sustainable level at about 19.4 per cent of GDP. Overall, GDP growth for 2012 was 6.5 per cent, and projected at 6.75 per cent for 2013, compared with the projected global growth of 3.5 per cent.

“The above facts have been independently noted and validated by international ratings agencies (such as Fitch, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s) who have upgraded the country’s economic outlook, even as other countries are being downgraded,” she said.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said the Ministry admits the socio-economic challenges the nation faces despite these seemingly impressive indices.

“We know we still have a long way to go but let us keep working to correct what is wrong and stop focusing on the denigration of what is being done right,” she said.

She highlighted the need create more jobs for to curb unemployment and that poverty needs to decrease at a faster pace, as “we do not want excessive inequality to be a feature of our economic growth”.

According to her, the recent poverty statistics released by National Bureau of Statistics show a slight decline in poverty levels of about 2% between 2003 and 2010.

“This needs to be further accelerated. The cost of governance also needs to be reduced, and the government is taking steps in this direction.

“In conclusion, the Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to stress that the outlook for the Nigerian economy remains good, despite the current global economic uncertainty,” she said.


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  • Philemon A.

    Great arguement. But it is hurting down here madam minister and that makes all these figures incomprehensible.

    • G-beng

      She made an arguement of numbers, numbers dat neva represent what reality is talking about. *sigh*

    • prettyriversgirl

      I agree cause we all go the market. So, she’s the only one that knows where she gets her figures from. To think of her education. What a waste. All because of corruption and bad intentions

  • Dem All Crazy

    Thrash !

  • G-beng

    I did listen 2 President Clintons remark, and i quite agree with him, cos the insurgency in the north and boko-haram, is just due 2 share poverty in the country, which is intense in the north; and like clinton said, the resources of the nation should be harnessed to alleviate the present status of the comon man, dan seeing d rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. So madam, don’t throw thrash @ us, we are also educated enof to know President clinton was right

  • Bimbo

    Nigerians will at the paper all her fine economic projections and indices are typed on. All this big, big grammar will not buy garri in the market?

  • kole

    All na paper,let’s all this economics indices translate to reduction of poverty level pls

  • Dan maikoko

    I have said it before that the economics of Garri we practice at home everyday is far better than this crazy figures that this educated illiterate Ngo was flashing around. It is the height of folly for some one who cant pay for his childs school fees, cant pay the rent, cant pay for his transportation and cant pay his electric bill to embark on a sovreign wealth fund. Nigeria cant provide electricity at whatever cost to its citizens, cant guarantee its citizens education, healthcare and security, yet we embark on these useless ventures organized by Ngo. On Ngo’s paper the economy is strong, how else can she interpret it when she can afford the N100 million ransom that got her mum home from the kidnappers?

  • Why didn’t Clinton tell us how he manage Monica Lewinsky instate of managing the American economy. Since he chose to let go what he was call to do and delve into Nigerian economy.

    • brown charles

      What has Monica Lewinsky got to do with what’s on ground! We’re talking about our economy, not Monica

  • Bem Katungu

    I agree with Tancy Emmanuel. I think since Mr Clinton decided to deviate from the main issue of the day and delved into a matter he does not know much about, it would have also been very very appropriate for him to come out and confess to the whole world about his immoral conduct with Monica Lewinsky…..

    He was using the platform created to honour distinguished teachers to grandstand as well as set Nigerians against the administration of President Jonathan.

    • That is his personal business. Remember you are a nobody to Clinton and you do not have and will never have anything he wants

  • Bem Luu

    Is Bill Clinton suffering from senilility?

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Dr Okonjo Iweala the president Jonathan IMF/WB stooge and agent who is in Nigeria regime implementing poverty-development programs to deepen impoverishment and suffering in the lives of Nigerian people with further foreign loan debts,increase in oil per litre price,devaluation of the national currency-naira to weaken its purchasing power and increase in the power tariff even though there is regular power outages most time.
    What economy is Dr Okonjo-Iweala lying to Nigerians that is growing.A pure Nigeria national GDP growing negatively with no employment for millions of graduates and youths?Roads are death traps while healthcare is archaic.Shameless corruption ridden thieves in public office to loot public treasuries till 2015.