The former Nigerian Minister of finance, Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala says that the country’s current economic struggle is as a result of the lack of political will from the past Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration to save.
The former World Bank president made this statement at a function at the George Washington University, Washington DC yesterday. Delivering a speech on inequality and growth, the respected African figure urged the World Bank and the IMF to make room for national savings regardless of political ulterior motives.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a 2 time Nigerian minister of finance. She had served in both Olusegun Obasanjo and GEJ’s administration. Comparing both administrations, Okonjo said that while they were able to amass a $22 billion national savings, GEJ’s administration lacked the political will to do such. She adds that the $22 billion salvaged the nation during the 2008 global economic meltdown.
“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… 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.”
Okonjo says that the failure to save during GEJ’s administration is the reason for the present economic challenge in Nigeria. Prescribing a solution, she advises that the idea of having a national savings be made part of the constitution. She says as along as there is the political will to do that, the result will be worth it.
Okonjo generalized the lack of resilience as an African problem at large. The finance management guru also related the lack of resilience to the low manufacturing rates in Africa.
“To build resilience, African countries need tools, mechanisms and it is doable and we need to interrogate ourselves why we have not done it… 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.