Okonjo-Iweala Refutes $63b Debt Claim By APC

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-IwealaNigeria’s Minister of Finance has refuted claims that the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is leaving behind a backlog of debt to the tune of $63 billion.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at a forum organised by finance correspondents in Abuja, the nation’s capital, noted that the explained that the amount was the total debt profile the nation owed between 1960 to date.

While noting that President Jonathan’s administration has the lowest debt profile in the nation’s history, she added that borrowed funds were used to stimulate growth in critical sectors which include the rail, ‎agriculture and power sectors.

The APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, had lamented during a retreat organised for newly elected senators of the APC, that it would take over 228 years to repay Nigeria’s debt, which they said was accumulated by the outgoing administration.

But Dr. Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that the outgoing administration has done measurably well in ‎maintaining low inflation rate, building road networks and improving agricultural productivity, among other accomplishments.

Okonjo-Iweala Tasks Incoming Government On Job Creation

Okonjo-IwealaNigeria’s Minister of Finance has tasked the incoming administration of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), on job creation and infrastructural development.

During a session on Sunday with reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that over 1.4 million jobs had been created annually in the past four years, by the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

She also noted that over 3,000 youths in the country had benefited from the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigerian Scheme, popularly called “YouWIN”.

“That they are 3,900 young people called YouWinners today. You cannot take it away that the mortgage institution was created. The new enterprise bank will provide needed funds for SMEs,” she said, listing the achievements of the administration in the area of job creation.

However, Dr Okonjo-Iweala advised the incoming administration to focus on how to create jobs through the newly established development bank, as well as continue with other policies put in place by President Jonathan’s administration.

The Minister had weeks ago urged the incoming government to look at the economic policies that the current administration had put in place, as foundation and put more policies in place that would further ensure further economic growth.

$25 Billion Of Unremitted $49.8 Billion Accounted For

The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says $25 billion of the alleged unremitted $49.8 billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account have been accounted for.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in a letter to the Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that $49.8 billion have not been remitted to the Federation Account by the NNPC. Sanusi said that the sum accrued over a period of 18 months – January 2012 to July 2013.

At a meeting with the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke and Mr Sanusi, in Abuja on Thursday, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, described the controversy as a misconception.

She however admitted to a shortfall in remittances to the federation account but assured Nigerians that it was a normal incident that requires reconciliation.

“Reconciliation is still on-going between the parties involved,” she said.

Mrs Alison-Madueke said there were efforts to double production and reduce the consistent cases of oil theft which might be responsible for some shortfalls.

The NNPC had denied Sanusi’s claims, insisting that the apex bank boss lacked the knowledge of how monies are remitted to the Federation Account by the corporation.

The Minister of Finance’s confirmation that $25 billion has been accounted for will cushion the effect the alleged missing funds was having on the polity, our correspondent, Gloria Ume-Ezeoke, said.

“This meeting opened up in detail where the nation’s missing $49.8 billion dollar oil revenue has been. It has been established that a large chunk of the money is still missing in spite of the on-going reconciliatory of accounts, but what is unclear is the where about of the balance of the missing fund,” Ume-Ezeoke said.