Report That Nigeria Is Broke Alarmist,Says Okonjo Iweala

okonjo-iweala newNigeria’s Finance Minister,Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has dismissed a report that Nigeria is broke .She described the story as “a complete fabrication”.

The minister who recalled that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan recently presented its mid-term report which is a forthright account of the achievements as well as challenges facing the economy also noted that “The country has $48 billion in reserves, including N5 billion in the Excess Crude Account to help shore up the economy. So the idea that the country is broke is alarmist.”

The minister of finance who spoke through her Special Adviser,Mr Paul C Nwabuikwu said “It is true that the country is experiencing some revenue shortfalls that everyone knows about due to oil theft for which the President is taking some serious measures.

“Also, contrary to the claim in the story that the country has borrowed from local and international banks to finance recurrent spending, the Jonathan administration has in fact reversed the tendency of borrowing to finance recurrent as was the practice in the past”,the statement said.

“Also untrue is the claim that the country has been downgraded by international ratings agencies. In fact the truth is the exact opposite; ratings agencies and international investors have consistently stated, through various platforms, that the Nigerian economy is a well-managed one with good prospects in the medium and long term” the minister added.

“Regarding the country’s debt situation, the overall picture is positive as the Coordinating Minister showed clearly in her recent well publicized statement. The multi-dimensional strategy adopted by the Jonathan administration is leading to positive outcomes.

“The level of borrowing has been brought down, bonds are being paid off through a sinking fund and the country is not taking the kind of high interest loans that led to the debt burden which existed before the historic Paris Club debt deal. The Borrowing Plan which was approved by State Governors and the National Assembly is focused on financing power
transmission projects, inter and intra city rail projects, dams and other key infrastructure.

According to the minister,“The notion that the Jonathan government is ‘eyeing’ the N3.4 trillion pension funds to finance deficits underscores the desperation of this “activist” medium(which raised the allegation in its report) and its sponsors. It is a total invention. In fact, the government is currently engaged in strengthening institutions and critical processes in the sector to enhance security and stability of the funds”

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