The former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gave details of how utterances and policies adopted by the President Muhammadu Buhari were responsible for the great recession Nigeria survived.
According to Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, it is myopic to think that things would have been worse if ex-President Goodluck Jonathan were to remain President.
In a statement during one of her media appearances, Okonjo-Iweala said:
“The truth about Nigeria’s recession is this; it was caused by the president’s unguided rhetoric and uncultured body language.
“Firstly, there is nothing we are buying today that we weren’t buying 5 years ago, therefore it’s not our purchase that put pressure on Naira but withdrawal of funds by foreign investors.
The ex-finance minister who recently became a Director at UK’s Standard Chartered Bank explained that President Buhari created instability that forced foreign investors to liquidate their investment, change their money to dollars and flee the country due to corruption allegations and jail threats.
The 63-year old continued:
“In the process of trying to flee, they were willing to buy dollars at any price, which lead to high exchange dollar rate.
“Even though some of them were not ready to run away, but want their money in dollars to save their investments from devaluation, the president gave a bad signal by banning deposit of foreign currency into dormiciliary accounts.
“That was enough for free market believers to see the draconian handwriting on the wall, that was the beginning of dollar rush.”
Mrs. Oknojo-Iweala said things became worse when the president enforced the “another outrageous” policy of rationing dollar to certain sectors and blocking others out which facilitated the emergence of free FALL. Hence, foreign investors took over $80B out of the economy within a short period and everything went down to free fall.
Hence, foreign investors took over $80 billion out of the economy within a short period and everything went down to free fall.
“To those who believe it will be worse if Jonathan is still there, you are all wrong. Policy continuity and political stability will not let billions of dollars leave our shores within such tiny time frame.
“Even though the government might have income shortage, the private sector will weather the storm by their confidence in the market.
“The fear of the unknown created by PMB is responsible for the economic downturn not low oil price. Interest rate in America is currently at 0.5% while it is 12% in Nigeria.
“JP Morgan Chase will not mind borrowing $50 billion from Feds at 0.5 and put in Nigeria for return of %2000 profit. Citi bank will do the same, likewise US Bank Corp.
“Chase gave Buhari warning about the repercussions of his fixing policy before they pulled out, but his illiterate cyber warriors and mis-educated e-soldiers said JPMORGAN can go to hell, they no longer believe in economic metrics since their messiah is in charge.”
According to Okonjo-Iweala, if Mr. Buhari continues with his unguided rhetoric, Naira will further plummet to N1000/$1.
“For your information, if your president “continues” with his unguided rhetoric, Naira will go down to N1000/$1. But we thank God, he is no longer talking.”
Meanwhile, the serving finance minister Kemi Adeosun had announced earlier that Nigeria is out the recession, therefore – to an extent, and is now focused on growth.