The Head, Department of Economics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Abayomi Adebayo, has flayed the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s responses to the 50 questions on the state of the economy posed to her by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.
He also adduced reasons why contrary to the minister’s claim, the economy is not healthy.
He said, “The first yardstick for measuring the state of the economy is exchange rate. The naira has been weakened to about N155 to a dollar. At the parallel market, it is around N160.
“Second, inflation rate, accompanied by all the policies of increase in taxation and importation of vehicles started having effect on prices. Beyond that, we have the conditions of employment, which are not favourable. Unemployment rate is high. Those who are employed currently, especially in the private sector, have no guarantee of safety of their jobs”, he said.
The don also cited the banking industry as an example, saying no one in the industry has job security as their jobs had been converted to contract appointments.
He noted that a look at the manufacturing sector indicates it was contributing below five per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the employment level was also very weak, with many manufacturing companies closing shop.
He blamed the problems in the economy on the finance ministry and Central Bank of Nigeria.
“One is the Central Bank of Nigeria. Its posture of institutional autonomy has created an environment where the (CBN) governor becomes very extravagant with the way he spends, like a politician.
“The other is the people that occupy critical positions in the management of monetary and economic policies in Nigeria. The controversy about the Minister of Finance on the discrepancy in her report also shows that many of these people manage the country with some measure of deception. All these are questions of integrity”, he said.