Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday said that her former boss, former President Goodluck Jonathan was not interested in saving Nigeria’s huge earnings from oil and other sources between 2011 and 2015.
She said the absence of political will to save under former President Goodluck Jonathan is responsible for the hardship facing the country currently.
Speaking on “inequality, growth and resilience,” at George Washington University, the former minister said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must seek means to embed savings in national constitutions devoid of political manipulations.
Okonjo-Iweala added that Nigeria was able to save $22 billion under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which saved the country in 2008, from global economic meltdown.
Speaking on the Chilean saving example, Okonjo-Iweala said: “We tried it in Nigeria, we put in an oil price based fiscal rule in 2004 and it worked very well.
“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 per cent of GDP fiscal stimulus to the economy and we never had to come to the bank or the fund.
“This time around and this is the key now, you need not only to have the instrument but you also need the political will. 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.
“So we were not able to save when we should have. That is why you find that Nigeria is now in the situation it is in. Along with so many other countries.”