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Nigeria set to become Africa’s biggest economy

By News Express on 10/06/2013

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Nigeria is poised to leapfrog South Africa and become Africa’s largest economy in the next decade – thanks to the economic expertise of former World Bank Managing Director, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Information Minister Labaran Maku stated this while declaring open this week’s sessions of Ministerial Platform, a programme used by Nigerian government ministers to give periodic accounts of their stewardship.

“Thank God for Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership, the Nigerian economy is now one of the fastest growing in the world. In the next decade, the Nigerian economy will become the largest in the continent,” Maku said this morning at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja, venue of the programme.

Describing Okonjo-Iweala as “the best World Bank President the world missed,” Maku praised her for her stewardship as Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Minister of Finance since she quit her World Bank job to serve her country from August 2011.

According to the Information Minister, thanks to Okonjo-Iweala’s watch over the economy, “Nigeria has continued to be on the front burner of global economic development. During the global economic recession, many countries suffered shocks but here in Nigeria we managed to withstand those shocks and stand firm – thank God for Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership.”

Presenting her ministry’s scorecard shortly thereafter, Okonjo-Iweala expressed gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan as well as to the Finance Ministry’s staff for the sound health and positive outlook of the country’s economy.

“The economy is strong and stable but it does not mean that we do not have problems. We need to move faster to solve problems such as unemployment and poverty eradication,” she said.  

The minister noted that the rest of the world acknowledges the progress being made by the Nigerian economy (which last year grew at the rate of 6.5 per cent compared with global growth of 3.2 per cent) and advised Nigerians not to listen to those who try to deceive them to believe otherwise.

“Nigeria is one of the few countries being upgraded by the international rating agencies such as Fitch while others are being downgraded. Even if you don’t want to listen to us, at least you should listen to external evidence,” she stated.

Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the achievements of her ministry, among them relative exchange rate stability since 2011, impressive GDP growth, speedy passage of the annual national budget, prudent debt management, transparent oil subsidy management, reduced operational cost, reduced inflation, as well as pension reforms.

The minister took out time to reply those who claim that the country’s GDP growth has no relevance to the welfare of Nigerians.

“Do not listen to those who say it doesn’t matter because it does,” she said, illustrating with two cakes – one big and one relatively small – which she brought to the briefing. Using the images of people placed on the cakes, Okonjo-Iweala proved that the more the people that share a piece of cake, the less each person gets but each gets more if the size of the cake increases just as the number eating the cake increases.

Her argument: “As the family grows, if the cake does not grow, all in the family will suffer. Nigeria has a growing population of over 167 million and if the cake of the Nigerian family is not growing, we will all suffer. Growing the cake matters and GDP growth matters. It is because of it that we have had the stability we are talking about.”

Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi also presented his ministry’s scorecard, highlighting achievements which made Maku to declare that “Nigeria has never had it so good in sports in decades.”    

•Photo shows Okonjo-Iweala.

Source News Express

Posted 10/06/2013 6:08:32 PM


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