PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Abuja told the visiting Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, that Nigeria was being repositioned to be a bigger player in the global economy.
The country, according to Jonathan, would fall short of the expectations to be one of the world biggest economies if its economy is not transformed to guarantee greater stability and self-sustainability.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, David Mark, yesterday tasked the global financial institution to make its economic and financial policies friendly to Africa because a policy that does not work for a supposed beneficiary will not be acceptable.
A statement issued by Mark’s Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, noted that Mark told Lagarde in Abuja that any economic policy that failed to bring succour to the people was worthless.
He said: “The impression people have about IMF is that of an organisation that prescribes an economic solution that hardly works or practicable in any country.
Jonathan also assured IMF that his administration remained totally committed to engineering a positive transformation of the Nigerian economy.
This, according to him, will ensure that “the country becomes a much bigger player in the global economy as envisioned in its Vision 20:2020”
The president spoke just as the IMF boss maintained that the financial body was interested in Nigeria’s economic programme and leverage on what she called “extremely impressive” transformation programme.
Lagarde is widely regarded to have facilitated the $30 billion debt forgiveness, which Nigeria received a few years back.
Jonathan stressed during the parley that the team established to oversee the implementation of the administration’s economic agenda would receive “all the political support it requires to ensure that the objective of significantly improving the national economy is attained”
The president said: “We are totally committed to changing things in Nigeria. Our vision is that by the year 2020, Nigeria would have become a much bigger player in the global economy. We have established a good team and we will give them the full political backing they need to succeed.”
Averring that Nigerians had become wary and skeptical of dealing with the IMF in the aftermath of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), President Jonathan said he believed that the IMF was now a changed institution, which could contribute positively to the economies of Nigeria and other developing nations.
“I believe the present IMF is different. Our emphasis is on poverty alleviation and job creation. We are also looking at ways of improving education and health-care delivery. I believe we can work together constructively,” he added.
Reviewing international developments with Lagarde, Jonathan said that he believed that the IMF had a key role to play in resolving the ongoing crises in the global economy, noting that events in the developed economies were bound to affect developing countries.
Responding, Lagarde informed the President that the feedback she had received from the IMF team, which recently undertook a review of the Federal Government’s economic programme was “very positive.”
The IMF chief said its team had been particularly very impressed with the government’s prioritisation of job creation, agriculture, power supply, education and health-care.
She said that the team was similarly impressed with the Jonathan administration’s fiscal and monetary policies as well as the reformation of the banking and financial services sector, and the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Lagarde advised, however, that the Federal Government should take further steps to protect Nigeria from the adverse effects of the crises in the global economy.