I Contributed My Best To Nigeria, Says Okonjo Iweala

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Ngozi-Okonjo-IwealaA former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has said she would not be available to serve in the present administration if overtures were made to her by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that she has contributed her best to the country.

The former minister made this known in an interview on Aljazeera TV programme, The Stream on Monday.

According to the former World Bank Managing Director, it was better to allow those managing Nigeria’s economy presently to do the best they could, adding that there could be solutions to the present economic decline in the country.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said that having a firm control over the rate of inflation, in addition to ensuring a stable exchange rate, should be the priority of African governments.

She expressed regrets that the economic gains recorded in Africa have started to erode in the last two to three years.

When asked what would be her top three priorities to resolving Nigeria’s current economic crisis if she had remained the finance minister, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she would prefer the current managers of the economy talk about it.

“I have contributed the best I could to the country. It is still the most interesting country in the world. It is better to leave those who are managing now to say what they would do.

“All I can say is that there are solutions. Nigeria is a vibrant country. I love it so much. I know it is going to come out of this one way or another”, she said.

On if President Buhari were to ask her to come and help in resolving the country’s economic crisis, the ex-finance minister said: “One of the things you learn as you get wiser is to talk less as you grow older.

“I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to leave those managing the economy to do what they know how to do.

“I served my country for seven years and it was a great honour. The second time was very tough, but it was still an honour. I am not the only person who is a repository of knowledge. There are other people who can equally try their hands in running the economy”.

On the current unemployment rate and youth restiveness across the country, Okonjo-Iweala advised the youths to create their own jobs and be employers of labour.

“I will advise young people not to wait for employment. They should create jobs to employ six people or more.

“During my time in government, we had a programme called YouWin designed to support young entrepreneurs. The whole idea was to have a business plan competition.

“The idea was that they should create jobs. And each, created 9-10 jobs. The World Bank did an evaluation of it and found it good. I do believe that the government should come in. We started a peer to peer mentoring. Now, one of the things I want to say is that creating employment is not only about struggles, it is about managing success”, she said

On how the anti-corruption war was fought during her time in government, she said “It was a very tough fight”.

“I must thank my team. You don’t do it alone. I had the support of an economic team in the Ministry of Finance. At the end of the day, you need to have some principles”, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala stated.

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