Okonjo-Iweala: No political will to save under Jonathan

Okonjo-Iweala: No political will to save under Jonathan
April 14
15:16 2016

mayowa reporting

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance, on Thursday said the zero political will to save under former President Goodluck Jonathan is responsible for the challenges facing the country.

Speaking on “inequality, growth and resilience,” at George Washington University, the two-time finance minister said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must seek means to embed savings in national constitutions devoid of political manipulations.

Okonjo-Iweala added that Nigeria was able to save $22 billion under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which saved the country in 2008, when there was global economic meltdown.

Speaking on the Chilean saving example, Okonjo-Iweala said: “We tried it in Nigeria, we put in an oil price based fiscal rule in 2004 and it worked very well.

“We saved $22 billion because the political will to do it was there. And when the 2008/2009 crisis came, we were able to draw on those savings precisely to issue about a 5 percent of GDP fiscal stimulus to the economy and we never had to come to the bank or the fund.

“This time around and this is the key now, you need not only need to have the instrument but you also need the political will. In my second time as a finance minister, from 2011 to 2015, we had the instrument, we had the means, we had done it before, but zero political will.

“So we were not able to save when we should have. That is why you find that Nigeria is now in the situation it is in. Along with so many other countries.”

On solving the problem of political will and political manipulations, she said: “That is the question that I ask, what do we need to do to these countries to save over a period of long accelerated growth.

“We need to devise mechanisms not just that are good technically but find a way to either embed them in the constitution or find a way to separate them from the political manipulation so that these countries can survive over time.

“To build resilience, African countries need tools, mechanisms and it is doable and we need to interrogate ourselves why we have not done it.”

She added that manufacturing was also critical to growth in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, quoting manufacturing as just 11 percent of GDP in Africa, and nine percent in Nigeria.

“I do not believe that we can be resilient, except if we can encourage manufacturing even on the goods we consume, services, entertainment industry, agriculture.

“I think these are the kinds of questions that policy makers struggle with on a daily basis and that is what we are going to answer to get resilience.

“If we don’t get these mechanisms, we politicise them, find ways to transform the base of the economy and create jobs including in manufacturing, I believe we are going to go into this looming deceleration that is being talked about.”


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Social Comments


  1. Ayo
    Ayo April 14, 18:36

    Okonjo you should have done the savings when you are in government the issue of political will to save is not an excuses.That was the reason you are appointed a finance minister to manage the economy but you fail woefully to perform the duties you are paid wages for. Iweala, you only know economic by reading book and statistics but your practical is zero I recommend you go back to college to learn this practical aspect of the subject.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ed
      Ed April 14, 23:43

      Ayo, as minister of finance Okonjo tried all she could to get govt to save. The governor’s even took federal governemt to court for trying to create a sovereiign wealth fund which was meant to be a savings for d rainy day.

      Reply to this comment
    • Paul
      Paul April 15, 02:46

      Ayo she did a very good job remember the governors headed by Ameachi took the federal govt to court because they wanted to share from the reserves. So why will blame Iweala in terms of not saving. Under her Nigeria was name the largest economy in Africa.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Dodo
    Dodo April 14, 19:12

    Thumbs up Ayo

    Reply to this comment
    • Oba
      Oba April 14, 20:10

      Truth is bitter. Billions were shared under as Minister of finance without raising alarm or resign or give advice to Jonathan but collided with looters.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Tilmeez
    Tilmeez April 14, 21:46

    In Hausa parable this is, ” Tusa bayan kashi”, meaning,” defaecating after gassing”. Madam please why not hold your breath as you’ve lost respect in the eyes of rational Nigerians.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Martins
    Martins April 14, 23:48

    Madam Okonj, pls go and park well. The most annoying part of your job under the last dispensation wasn’t the issue of not was the fact that you encouraged the government to keep borrowing from western lenders thereby increasing our debt burden in the period of oil boom. Now everything has been looted and we have nothing to show for both the oil boom earnings nor the borrowed funds. Pls go away and may God forgive you.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ben
    Ben April 15, 00:23

    I agree with all the other commentators: Ms. Okonjo-Iweala should have resigned her position in protest to the way the economy was being managed or micro-managed. Instead she coluded with the thieves of the Jonathan government, thereby destroying the economic rubric of the nation. She should be held accountable for her actions or inactions as the Finance Minister of the FRN during those massive looting of the treasury.

    Reply to this comment
    • KB
      KB April 15, 09:35

      Just the way she resigned her appointment under OBJ when she was posted to another Ministry

      Reply to this comment
  6. Koka
    Koka April 15, 09:27

    It is easy to blame Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for our economic crisis at the time without considering the political climate that is associated with each decision made in governing the country.
    We have a mall group of individuals who have now become powerful to be able to make the whole Nigerian economic machinery come to a grind halt because of their selfish interest.
    This complexity is interwoven with the fact that over decades it has grafually been aided by those that are suppose to function independently of our judicial and administrative system, it is also compounded by illiteracy and institutionalised corruption.
    Our greed as a nation beggars believe, we thrive on chaos and think the solution will come from heaven.
    The current climate is a good example of how Buhari government is trying to correct a system that is now internally and externally riddled with incorrigible elements which unfortunately is made worse for example by his own fat cow retired colleagues who have siphoned funds meant for military system.
    A simple logic that even a typical Nigerian cannot reason is this ” for every naira that is not accounted for whether as a project to construct a road or for youth service or perhaps to pay police force it will filter back to the whole system in terms of bribery and corruption.
    It is easy to make rash decision as a finance minister it is even easier still for that decision to put the whole economy to a grind halt if it is not considered with our political climate.

    Reply to this comment
  7. DB
    DB April 15, 10:07

    You coordinated the economy.good you know that the present problem is due to mismanaged economy under you. It’s OK then, case closed.

    Reply to this comment
  8. kila
    kila April 15, 11:22

    Your knowledge and wealth of expereriance is in vain to the country and even to yourself. Because what’s the use of medicine when the patient is already in the grave?

    Reply to this comment
  9. YB(Youngest Boy)
    YB(Youngest Boy) April 15, 11:50

    Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is simply trying to guard the stable when the steel is gone. Her case and that of the JEG government is similar to the proverbial seemingly deaf grasshopper that was swallowed by the wood-pecker (bird) after so much noisy warning of the coming danger. I remember the various Nigerian Management personalities that warned her and the government, but she instead berated them. Less than two months after her volt face that our economy was sound, to smear the practical advise of a former Central Bank Governor, she spearheaded the borrowing of fund to pay Federal workers. She is as wise as the elder that watched a tethered pregnant goat deliver its baby.
    With all the God-forced revelations of her whimsical ineptitude and deception of the world and Nigerians, I think the time is ripe for her to be striped of all the princely honours given to her by clearly deceived institutions around the world. For it is clear that she was a villain.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Ultra
    Ultra April 15, 17:22

    I can’t just understand this woman, what is political manipulation? She is advising Nigeria on what she was unable to achieve during her terms….

    Reply to this comment
  11. Oye
    Oye April 15, 18:28

    What economic blueprint has the current administration put in place to save, and why has the Minister not resigned for her inability to stabilize the economy?

    Reply to this comment
  12. Omoh
    Omoh April 15, 21:11

    Too bad to hear such comment from okonjo iweala as the minister of finance of Federal Republic of Nigeria at these moment.

    Reply to this comment
  13. pastor Charlie
    pastor Charlie April 15, 23:31

    Most of you talk like ignoramus. Where you not around when the governors forced the money out of her hands. But your hypocritic minds will not see anything wrong with Buhari bailing states out unjustifiably without accounting for monies given them and internally generated. Please you all talk like informed and enlightened people not educated illiterates-a paradox in terms!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Phillip
    Phillip August 22, 11:28

    The harsh reality is that politics leads, the Law and everything else follow. Everyone knows this.
    Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is simply pointing out the historical internal struggle between Technocrats and Politicians, especially in developing countries with weak compliance culture, and the urgent need to address this by hardwiring minimum economic standards into the nation’s constitution to safeguard growth regardless of who is in power.
    There should be no partisanship when it comes to saving for the rainy day.
    Best Regards

    Reply to this comment

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