Federal Government yesterday in Abuja denied that its policies and programmes had inflicted pains on the Nigerian economy; rather it explained that the depreciation in the currency exchange value, massive looting of the treasury and outright mismanagement of the economy by the previous administration, was hugely responsible for the bad condition of the economy.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was obviously reacting to a statement credited to the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, that the President and his team lack the competence to run the economy of Nigeria, described the lawmaker’s statement as the clearest indication that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its leaders are still in denial of the massive blows they inflicted on the Nigerian economy.
“Senator Ekweremadu had complained about the depreciation of the Naira without telling Nigerians who ‘dollarized’ the economy by bribing many individuals and groups with dollars during the last elections, thus inflicting a knock-out punch on the local currency. He also failed to tell Nigerians which government presided over the frenzied mop-up of dollars, either for ‘armsgate’ or for slush fund purposes, from the CBN to a point where it almost ran out of the hard currency,’’ he said.
Recall that Senator Ekweremadu had recently expressed fear that businesses, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs may collapse in the next six months if drastic measures are not taken by President Buhari and his team to revive the economy.
Meanwhile, the Minister through a statement by his Special Assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said although the Buhari administration met an economy that was in coma, it had refused to use that as an excuse for inaction, hence it has been working hard on measures that will turn the economy around and greatly offer relief to Nigerians by lifting millions of people out of poverty through a massive social intervention policy.
‘’The outcome of the months of hard work will manifest soon in the 2016 national budget that will give succour to millions of Nigerians who are reeling from fallout of the solecism of the immediate past administration that turned the country into a cash bazaar,’’ the minister said.
He therefore advised the leaders of PDP and members of the immediate past administration who were involved in the emerging cases of looting to urgently return to government coffers, the funds they have siphoned out of the commonwealth.
‘’They are lucky that Nigerians are not as incautious as they are, otherwise they would not be able to walk around freely, not to talk of having the effrontery to fire darts at the government that inherited their rot or the people who are suffering the consequences.
‘’They looted the billions of Naira that were allocated for the fight against insurgency, causing many innocent and patriotic soldiers to die needlessly, yet they are not remorseful. They looted the treasury to influence the last elections, doling out money as if it was going out of fashion, yet they continue to grandstand.”
Lai Mohammed alleged that, a minister who served under the immediate past administration had admitted to sharing N600 million to six Chairmen of the Contact and Mobilization Committee of the PDP for the last general elections, N300 million to an account given by a former PDP chairman, N200 million to a PDP governorship candidate and N100 million to a former PDP governor.
“This is just one case out of many, yet these revelations are but a tip of the iceberg of what Nigerians will hear in the days ahead,’’ Alhaji Mohammed said.
The minister assured that despite the mind-boggling revelations about looting and the mismanagement by self-styled economic wizards, the economy will bounce back under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, who he claimed is bringing probity and transparency back into governance.


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