The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, have explained the reasons why they were absent at the Nigeria-Us Investors Summit which was held in Washington, DC on Saturday.
The summit is organised by the Embassy of Nigeria in the United State and the absence of the Ministers had sparked criticism from the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi who described the absence of government officials at the event as carefree attitude to investment opportunities.
The Minister of Finance and CBN Governor, on Sunday, however said they never confirmed attendance at the summit. They said the meeting was not included in their schedule.
“I attend the IMFC which is the highest decision-making body of the IMF. My primary role here as well as having the Nigerian hat on is to represent 23 African countries. So one of the things I have to do is to issue a statement on behalf of those 23 which includes most of the Anglophone countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania,” Adeosun said on Sunday.
“So, my primary role here, as well as having a Nigerian hat on is to represent the 23 African countries. There has been some controversy about the scheduling I wasn’t due at any event. I was here as a governor of the IMF and member of IMFC to represent those 23 African countries and that schedule is what I must adhere to,” she added.
On his part, Emefiele said a plenary session of IMF finance ministers and Central Bank Governors was holding at the same time of the event.
Emefiele said the meetings in the IMF as well as the meeting at the World Bank takes pre-eminence over the investment summit. He added that he wasn’t consulted when the programme was organised.
“Being the governor of the CBN what takes preeminence is the meetings in the IMF as well as the meeting at the World Bank. I think it is important for me to say this when I arrived in Washington, the officials of the embassy spoke with me that there was going to be a US-Nigeria summit and I said will check my schedule because I wasn’t consulted when this summit was being organised.
“What one would have expected is that they would have checked my schedule and that of the finance minister if they thought that our presence at the summit was very necessary,” he said.
Emefiele apologised to the investors and noted that himself and the Minister of Fianace are not irresponsible people.
“The US Nigeria summit was meant to hold between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. whereas the World Bank development committe plenary session which is an assembly of ministers and governors of central banks was to hold between 2:15 p.m. and 5p.m. There was no way how the minister of finance and myself could have been at those meetings.
“We are not irresponsible people and please we apologise to those investors who had gathered at the Nigerian embassy for the summit. My apologies but I know we also held some side meetings with some investors and there will always be lots of opportunities to meet with them.”