BLAME THE GOVERNORS FOR NIGERIA’S FINANCIAL WOES- OKONJO IWEALA

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Immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Nigeria Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said governors were the reason former President, Goodluck Jonathan, could not save for the future.

Okonjo-Iweala in an interview with Le Monde said “some economists are very concerned for Nigeria, which could greatly suffer from the fall in oil prices. Others say the contrary, that its economy is strong enough to turn the corner.

“Both are right. But one thing saddens me. When I was finance minister the first time, the volatility of oil prices, and therefore state resources, cost at least three points of growth in the country.

“We then established a stabilisation mechanism and opened an account for the oil surplus, which posted up to $22 billion. In 2008, when prices fell from 148 to $38 a barrel, no one had heard of Nigeria because the country was able to tap into this fund. And that, I am very proud of.

“When I returned to the department in 2011, there remained only $4 billion on this account while the price of oil was very high! I tried again to put money aside. The president agreed, but the governors did not accept.

“I suffered a lot of attacks from them and now that the country would really need this account, these same people accuse me of not having saved. If Nigeria had been more careful, we would not be here today. It hurts me. We have the mechanism, we had the experience, but we were prevented to act.”

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