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‘Empty treasury’: Amaechi’s comment not supported by facts, says Osita Chidoka

‘Empty treasury’: Amaechi’s comment not supported by facts, says Osita Chidoka
December 28
14:01 2021

Osita Chidoka, former minister of aviation, says claims that former President Goodluck Jonathan left ‘almost empty treasury’ was not supported by facts. 

Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, had claimed that the funds left by Jonathan were not sufficient to last the new government for three weeks. 

Reno Omokri, a former presidential aide, had dismissed the claim, saying Jonathan government left $28.6 billion in the country’s foreign reserves.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Chidoka said Amaechi’s comment is rather unfortunate and not supported by facts readily available in the public domain.


“As a member of the Federal Executive Council that handed over to the current administration, I am disturbed that this urban myth of “empty treasury” is still the subject of conversation by a senior government member,” he said.

“Also, I am confused about what the Honourable Minister means when he says, “By the time we came in”, as he was not appointed Minister until six months after the May 29 Handover. Since he was not a Minister on the handover date, it may be pertinent to present him with the facts again.

“On May 29, 2015, President Buhari inherited a foreign reserve of $28.6 billion, according to official data still present on the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as $5.6 billion Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited dividends. Also, a 2015 budget of over 4 trillion Naira was handed over to the incoming administration by the outgoing Jonathan government.”


On foreign reserves, only a fraction is savings. The naira equivalent of oil receipts are regularly distrusted at the monthly meeting of the federation account allocation committee (FAAC) while the FX is kept in reserves to meet foreign obligations.

The former minister also added that the Jonathan administration left a total of $2.2 billion in the excess crude account on May 29, 2015.

“To further create context, I would like the Minister of Transport to note the country’s economic indices after 1849 days of President Jonathan’s Presidency from May 06 2010, the date he took over from President Umaru Yar’Adua to the Handover date of May 29, 2015,” he added.

“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari inherited an economy that, by the testimony of the World Investment Report, prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Africa. In the five years of President Jonathan, Direct Foreign Investment stood at about 35.25 Billion Dollars. You can compare this to the 11.55 Billion Dollars Direct Foreign Investment received from 2016 to 2020.


“The Jonathan administration handed over a $550 billion economy (largest in Africa and 26th globally) and a diversified economy. On May 29, 2015, President Jonathan left behind an economy with a stable currency, where the Naira exchanged for ₦199 to $1, and Nigeria had a single-digit inflation rate. Today, after 2406 days of the current administration headline inflation rate hovers above 15 per cent.

“Our External debt as of May 2015 stood at $7.3 billion, the Gini coefficient (degree of inequality) was not different from China’s as of 2015. In 343 weeks and four days of the current administration, our external debt has ballooned to $37.9 billion as of September 2021. It is important to point out that over 48% are bilateral and commercial loans.

“With the facts above, I am sure that the Minister of Transport will rethink his fixation on the past and focus on the clear and present danger of an economy on the path to Argentina — sovereign debt default.”



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