Nigeria: Why Okonjo-Iweala must go – Govs
By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North & Henry Umoru
The reasons why governors are asking the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to quit her job, emerged yesterday.
Vanguard was told that the governors were convinced that the Nigerian economy had been messed up and the decay in the system carefully manipulated by the minister to give Nigerians the false hope that all was well.
Sources close to the meeting of the governors held in Abuja on Tuesday night revealed that the governors were upset to learn that despite a huge revenue earning of over $1.05 trillion reported by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the month of July, the Finance Ministry was unable to remit the statutory allocations in full to states and local governments in the country.
The source pointed out that whereas the CBN boasted that the federally collected revenue rose to $1.05 trillion for the month of July, the finance ministry only distributed a paltry N715.845 billion to the three tiers of government for the month, blaming the shortfall on oil theft and pipeline vandalisation.
It was learnt that the government was unable to pay the stipulated revenue accruable to the 36 states in the country and the FCT, asking them to exercise patience and understanding with the centre.
In the sharing, the centre got N227.516 billion (52.68%) as against N235.778 billion it received for June. The states on the other hand, got N115.399 billion (26.72%) against N119.590 billion in the previous month, while the LGAs received N88.968 billion (20.60%) as against N92.199 billion they shared in the previous month.
The governors, who discussed the development in the financial sector during their meeting, felt that the Coordinating Minister for the Economy was economical with the true position of the Nigerian economy and should give way for the interest of the nation.
A governor, who attended the meeting, confirmed to Vanguard that they were convinced that the minister was merely joggling figures to give Nigerians the false impression that the economy was on a sound footing when the reverse was the case.
“Most of the governors want the finance minister to go because the indices on the ground do not match the figures she continues to churn out on a daily basis concerning the performance of the economy.
“We strongly disagree with the minister that the Nigerian economy has created the kind of jobs and attained the level of stability she claims when most qualified Nigerians are roaming the streets in search of non-existing jobs.
“Last month, we were not paid all our allocations though the CBN released figures showing that the nation even earned more revenue than the preceding months.
“We cannot allow this sort of deceit to continue unchallenged and Nigerians must ask the minister to quit now rather than stay on to manipulate the economy for the benefits of a few influential persons,” a governor said.
But the minister fought back on Wednesday, saying that she would not resign her appointment since she was working hard to move the economy forward and change the conditions of Nigerians.
She said she was not contemplating resigning but helping President Goodluck Jonathan to transform the nation through sound economic policies and programmes.
“She said: “As you see me here, do I look any close to resigning? I dey Kampe.
“We should stop talking about political issues here. The economy should be managed for the good of Nigerians. That is why we are here. Let’s face the facts of the economy,” the minister insisted.