State Of The Economy: Okonjo-Iweala Taking Nigerians For Granted – Lawmaker

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The House Committee on Finance has responded to a report that the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy (CME), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, needed more time to answer the 50 questions handed to her by the committee on the state of the economy, which she said was like writing examinations.

The committee chairman, Abdul-Mumini Jibrin (APC: Kano) who described the statement of the Minister as a vindication of the decision it took last year when it gave her two weeks to answer the questions posed to her, noted that “the Minister appears to be taking the memories of Nigerians for granted.”

“This was the Minister who walked into the meeting with the Committee and drew everyone’s sympathy the moment she feebly announced that she was not feeling well.

Isn’t it curious then that when she was not feeling well the Minister was prepared to address 50 questions in a session that was to last just about two hours, and now that she is fully fit, hale and hearty, she is saying she would need more time?,” he asked.

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  1. While the House members and their supporters might argue that they are just carrying out their jobs, a study of the questions the minister was asked makes one question the capacity of these legislators.
    For example, question number 4 calls into question the knowledge of economics those on the House Finance Committee have, when they are asking why our economy is not growing at 20% per annum; or when question 5 where they are asking why our debt-to-GDP ratio is low compared to industrialized nations conflicts with question 9, where they are lamenting Nigeria’s high level of debt and wondering if the debt has been productive.
    The question that worries the most is question 7, where they questioned Nigeria’s “rush into wholesale privatization of the electricity sector, when countries like South Africa are generating 54,000MW from a power sector still in public hands.” It is worrisome for me because the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), the law which ended government’s monopoly on the power sector was in the National Assembly for four years until it was passed in 2005, and the privatization process begun from that year until its conclusion last year. Yet, they still called it a “rush”.
    Space will not allow me to dissect each question, especially as there were many repetitions, although some questions are very relevant, such as questions 14 and 16.

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