NewsExpress advert FCMB banner
Okonjo-Iweala and the politics of political will, By Ebelo Goodluck

By News Express on 17/04/2016

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 2,048

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has had a distinguished public career. Twice finance minister and economic tsar, as the coordinating minister of the economy in her last iteration, she has hands-on experience of the country’s financials. That can’t be denied her. Recently, speaking on the economic crisis in Nigeria at George Washington University, Washington DC, she said that the current economic crunch was down to a lack of political will to foster savings. “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.”

Now, the way this has been reported, and has been latched on to, even by those who have made a career of destroying NOI’s record of service to her fatherland, creates the impression that there was a paralysis in the government headed by Goodluck Jonathan, or at least very little appetite in trying.

This is coming at a time an especially absentee style of governance has taken over Abuja, with senior government officials, like the governor of Edo State, declaring a minister in the previous government of stealing USD6b, with a facetious rider that a senior US government official told him so. Remember, Oshiomhole featured prominently on every photo-OP on the president’s trip to the US. Add to the manic churn of the APC rumour mill: USD 90 billion recovered from the former petroleum minister, USD 200 billion recovered and to be repatriated from the UAE, trillions of naira liberated by the Treasury Single Account. If a quarter of these were true, even a-kite-in-the-sky president like Muhammad Buhari would not risk over 14 hours of flight time for the sights of burgeoning China. Blaming the previous administration seemed to have run its course as poor management of the economy, most especially, a near-blindness to our diversity, has robbed the government of popular support.

This is the fallow land NOI’s comments, inadvertently or not, are coming to water. The “inability” of the previous administration to save was not for want to trying. As we shall see, the previous administration did save. What can’t be argued against is that we could do with much more savings. As it were, the gall in NOI’s comments is what is left unsaid.

A little context: NOI was a stalwart of savings, as was President Jonathan. But they were up against governors who understood and exploited our weak revenue laws and constitutional fuzziness. Bukola Saraki, Rotimi Amaechi and Babatunde Fashola are the trinity of earn and spend governors, who twice took the Federal Government to court on the Excess Crude Account. By some wonderful twist of fate, they are all leading lights of the current ideas-challenged APC government. What kind of political will could have stopped them except an amendment of the constitution, which was an impossible feat given the death-like grip governors wield over the state houses of assembly or a resort to constitutional breaches that made the Federal Government a present danger to our democracy in the Obasanjo years? 

President Jonathan created the Sovereign Wealth Fund, first of its kind in Nigeria. Thanks to NOI herself, Segun Aganga, Adesina Akinwunmi and the support of the Nigerian people. Even here, part of the ECA had to go just to stave off a constitutional challenge.

For any money to be saved in the nation’s financial architecture, it has to get into the ECA first. But this process was ambushed in the legislature by the Aminu Tambuwal (another APC peacock)-led House of Representatives with the unwarranted increase in the benchmark whenever it had to deal with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) or even the budget once it got to the floor of the National Assembly. Raising the benchmark invariably vitiates the savings anticipated and thus less money in the ECA.

The major drain on the ECA through the Jonathan years was the subsidy payments. NOI suffered more than her fair share of name-calling when the Jonathan’s administration moved to remove the fuel subsidy. The removal can’t by any stretch be seen as a lack of political will. Hence, it’s rather bewildering that she would lay the depletion of the ECA on the doorstep of Jonathan. Thank God she has since come out to explain that she was misquoted on the issue.

Indeed, were memories not that short, many would recall that the sponsorship for the Ojota rallies against the removal of the subsidy regime was from the coffers of the Lagos State Government.

And just last year, the Buhari government disbursed two tranches of funds. First, it was dividends from the NLNG which the Jonathan government had saved and, the second, bailouts to near-bankrupt states.

Needless to state that all that happened, once you excuse certain acts of larceny that could be pinned down to some individuals, are to the glory of all that served the government. Collective glory, collective responsibility.

•Ebelo Goodluck, a journalist and public affairs analyst writes from Abuja. Photo shows Okonjo-Iweala.

Source News Express

Posted 17/04/2016 4:28:50 PM


Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+



REVEALED: 3 natural ways to get stronger erections, last 25minutes on bed, and increase manhood size without using drugs. Also, Natural Prostrate Enlargement Remedy.. Get In HERE...


You may also like...
Senate confirms INEC Chairman and all Commissioners

PDP did not lose 2015 presidential election: Ex-Finance...

Rescued schoolgirl Ese Oruru finally returns to Bayelsa...

Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Soludo, Elumelu, others brainstorm on how...

BREAKING NEWS: Soldiers invade Catholic Church near Onitsha,...

Abia House of Assembly for inauguration today, •Speakership...

Operation Python Dance 11 a declaration of war...

Police to charge Rivers State Govt. officials with...

Group petitions NHRC, demands probe of SARS’ alleged...

NEITI, EFCC partner to enforce accountability

Oil company chief declared wanted over $26m FOREX...

2 Abuja estate agents arraigned for N58m land...


Latest News Dog diverts plane Infected meat traced to Shoprite Killer herdsmen: SERAP sends SOS to UN Security Council Kidnappers lay siege to Oyo communities Buhari orders deployment of NSCDC officials to secure secondary schools in North-East Troops kill 4 militants in Bauchi, arrest 9 Desist from embarrassing Bishops, Okonkwo tells politicians BUK admits 140 students for Degree in Social Media 2019: Why Ugwuanyi deserves second term — Group We are closing in on abducted Dapchi schoolgirls— Defence Minister NMA introduce doctors’ stamp to remove quacks Varsity student, 4 others die as killer herdsmen invade Edo communities


Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (332,094 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (324,733 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (260,307 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (214,079 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (197,817 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (192,160 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (167,447 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (150,226 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (142,985 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (132,979 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (132,413 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (125,700 views)


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (34) Business & Economy (2,968) Business Verdict (36) Columnists (814) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (206) Entertainment (455) Features (552) Global Business Monitor (238) International (1,854) Interview (146) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (114) News (33,690) Opinion (895) Pidgin (10) Politics (4,621) Religion (700) Sports (1,456) Stock Watch (28) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update





Football Highlight -- BARCELONA - CHELSEA 3:0


APO Group Partner




REVEALED: 3 natural ways to get stronger erections, last 25minutes on bed, and increase manhood size without using drugs. Also, Natural Prostrate Enlargement Remedy.. Get In HERE...

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera