Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Okonjo-Iweala Says Jonathan Administration Leaving Behind Solid Economic Legacies

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said despite the current economic challenges the country is facing, the Goodluck Jonathan administration would be leaving some solid economic legacies after it bows out on May 29.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala dismissed allegations that the country’s economy was in ruins. She said such claims were absolutely untrue, as significant achievements in several sectors attest to this.

In spite of the challenges caused by 50 per cent decline in global crude oil prices, the Minister said nobody would deny that the present administration made a difference in many important areas.

“Anyone who says nothing has been done and nothing is being left behind is being very unfair to facts and to history,” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said. “We are not perfect, but no one can take away the fact that we are leaving some good legacies behind. Attempts to rewrite history will not stand.”

The Minister, who identified areas of positive legacies under the outgoing administration, said the agricultural sector in particular had seen the rise in food production with attendant positive effect on food prices.

The other areas, according to her, include the National industrial revolution scheme and the automotive policy, which she said led to the opening of factories for car manufacturing and assembly for the first time in the country.

She said the impressive rise in cement production was due to positive government policies, with Nigeria now a net exporter of cement

The present government, she noted, has developed the capacity to create about 1.4 million of the 1.8 million jobs a year needed through various job creation and enhancement schemes such as YOUWIN, which accounts for over 27,000 jobs by young entrepreneurs sponsored and trained by government for other youths.

The creation of the NMRC, she said, was helping in creating a mortgage market to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

The recently launched Development Bank of Nigeria, the Minister said, would help to achieve strong growth of small businesses by providing small and medium enterprises affordable interest loans of up to ten years.

The support for the creative industries, she said had helped to strengthen the capacity of script writers, producers, directors and other professionals in the motion picture industry, leading to the production of higher quality films, and creation of more jobs.

She urged politicians and opinion leaders not to talk down the economy, as negative and unsubstantiated comments was capable of negatively impacting the economy, the exchange rate and the stock market as well as reduced investor confidence.

Although she said she had no grouse with factual assessments of the economy, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said her concern has to do with sweeping and negative statements, which are not in the interest of the country.

“The statements being made by some personalities about the economy collapsing are not only incorrect, they are also potentially dangerous”, she said.

Premium Times

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