In an interview in the current business edition of “The Interview”, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of turning the apex bank into the Presidency’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to produce cash for the government.
He also said the Jonathan administration ran the bank like a movie plot from Uganda under the late dictator, Idi Amin Dada. Idi Amin ruled Uganda with an iron fist between 1971 and 1979, and has been described as one of the most corrupt African rulers.
He said it was a regrettable situation where despite the apex bank’s statutory independence, it continued to be a victim of high wire politics, often “electrocuting” its leadership.
Soludo added that,
“Recent revelations regarding the ‘arms-gate’ (short for the $2.1bn scandal involving the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki) and the apparent abuse of the CBN as an ATM by the Presidency should get reasonable people thinking.
“Imagine a scenario where a President can order the CBN to create an intervention fund for national stability and the CBN literally ‘prints’ say, N3tn, and doles it out as cash to the President to prosecute an election campaign, or for just about anything he fancies. It is a scary thought.
“We are going down a dangerous path that ruins the economy. I don’t know any other country where such is tolerated, except perhaps what I watched in a movie about Idi Amin and his governor of the central bank.”
According to a statement by Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of ‘The Interview’, the former central bank governor, is one of the 10 leading business lights featured in the current edition of the magazine, which provides insights into opportunities and threats in business this year, ranging from manufacturing and power, to banking and investment, small businesses, advertising and jobs.
In the same edition of the magazine, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Jacobs, identified foreign exchange restrictions, infrastructure and high cost of business as the three biggest challenges to the nation’s economy.
The way forward, he said, “is to look inwards for the supply of raw materials, prudent management and professionalization of the workforce.”
Jacobs advised against increased taxes, recommending a “widening of the tax net” instead to improve government revenue.