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Is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala leading or misleading the economy?

Supervising Minister of the Nigerian Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said last night May 10, 2015 said that despite the various challenges facing the country, the national economy will not collapse.

But can she be trusted on this in the face of government’s inability to pay workers’ salaries at federal, state and local government levels as and when due plus the many other abnormalities in the economy?

The minister, in a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Communications, Paul Nwabuikwu, said this during a chat with some journalists. In the statement, she said that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had put in place solid economic legacies for the incoming government, noting that allegations that the economy was in ruins were untrue.

But the reality on ground is that petroleum marketers are in dire straits. They are all owing banks huge sums of money. Even some of these banks may collapse anytime soon because of their exposure to loans to the oil and gas industry, a phenomenon directly linked to the oil subsidy scam (or crisis) ostensibly under Okonjo-Iweala’s supervision.

Electricity to drive meaningful living; homes, offices and businesses is just as scarce as petrol at the filling stations, which are already selling fuel illegally for as much as N200 per litre from the pumps. Yet Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala says all is well?

She said, “Despite the economic challenges the country is facing, the Jonathan administration is leaving some solid economic legacies for the incoming Buhari government. So, the allegations that the economy is in ruins are absolutely untrue.

“The significant achievements in several sectors attest to this. We cannot take away the fact that the Jonathan administration, in spite of the challenges caused by 50 per cent decline in the price of oil, has made a clear and measurable difference in many important areas and anyone who says nothing has been done and nothing is being left behind is being very unfair to facts and to history.

“Attempts to rewrite history will not stand. You cannot just wipe the slate clean for political reasons. We are not perfect but no one can take away the fact that we are leaving some good legacies behind.”

The minister also advised politicians and opinion leaders not to denigrate the economy because negative and false comments on the economy could have negative impact on the economy, the exchange rate, the stock market and reduce investor confidence.

She said, “These negative and unsubstantiated comments are not wise because they can lead to what we do not want for the economy.

“There is nothing wrong with factual assessments of the economy; I have always told Nigerians the truth about the economy. But sweeping and negative statements are not in the interest of the country.”

Okonjo-Iweala seems ready to take a bad fall for the Jonathan administration. She is quite bold and often defiant of abuse and criticisms as regards her convictions, and HAMILTONSTYLE does not denigrate her or the government she works for. However, trying to pat herself or this federal government on the back isn’t at tandem with stack reality. Nigeria seems and feels very broke in these times for those of us living in it.

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