News

Dividends of democracy or responsibility of government?

 By Sunday Onyemaechi Eze Dividends of Democracy” is one popular lexicon celebrated by political office holders in Nigeria. It is an unfortunate…

The immediate past Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has explained ways President Muhammadu Buhari can repair the country’s battered economy. She said on Monday that having a handle on Nigeria’s spiralling inflation, foreign exchange problem, fiscal deficit and debts control were key to resolving the country’s current economic crisis. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke on Aljazeera TV programme, The Stream, said focusing on the basic issues of macroeconomic stability was crucial to fixing the country’s economic challenges. “If you don’t pay attention to the fundamentals of having a stable and good exchange rate policy, inflation under control, manageable fiscal deficit and debts, there will continue to be trouble in the economy,” she said. Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The economy slipped into recession after contracting in the first two quarters of 2016. Inflation jumped from 16.2 per cent in July to 17.1 per cent in August 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Since the introduction of the floating foreign exchange policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which freed the Naira from a band of N197-N199 to the dollar, the currency has been in a free fall against other international currencies. From about N281 to the dollar at the beginning of the policy in June, Naira crashed to about N420 to the dollar shortly before the Sallah holidays last Friday. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank Managing Director, told Al Jazeera that she remained optimistic that solutions to the country’s economic decline could still be found. Asked what would be her top three priorities to resolve the country’s current economic crisis if she had remained the finance minister, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she would prefer the current managers of the economy talk about it. “I have contributed the best I could to the country. It is still the most interesting country in the world. It is better to leave those who are managing now to say what they would do. “All I can say is that there are solutions. Nigeria is a vibrant country. I love it so much. I know it is going to come out of this one way or another,” she said. On if President Muhammadu Buhari were to ask her to come and help in resolving the country’s economic crisis, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said: “One of the things you learn as you get wiser is to talk less as you grow older. “I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to leave those managing the economy to do what they know how to do.

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