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Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere - Politics - Nairaland

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Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 6:23pm On Aug 30, 2011
"The Jonathan administration stopped publishing on official websites revenue figures allocated to the three tiers of government from July 2010 thereby hindering informed analysis of oil and non-oil revenue receipts".


http://www.nationaldailyngr.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6884:economic-blueprint-jonathan-okonjo-iweala-are-insincere&catid=126:business-news&Itemid=545

Economic blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala are insincere
Olutayo Olubi
E-mail Print

…Lack focus  —Experts

THE most important and most awaited document to come from the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan was unveiled last Wednesday and it still left very much to be desired. The administration's economic blueprint was released by the Coordinator of the Economy and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Existing statistics are not impressive, the nation's current debt stock is $39.7 billion, consisting of $5.3 billion, foreign and N5.2 trillion of domestic components; budget implementation is very weak, with overloaded recurrent expenditure and very lean capital expenditure, the nation lacks critical infrastructure; the manufacturing sector is comatose; while insincerity has crippled what would have been a laudable reform in the country's banking sector.

Worse still, the Presidency is doing very little to improve on the Excess Crude Account (ECA), the information issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on July 4, to the effect that the foreign reserves had shed $1 billion in just one week to stand at $31.88 billion as at June 30, 2011 was unhelpful. Same also is the idea of Economic Management Team first introduced by Okonjo-Iweala during former President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration and followed up during the late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua and very recently Jonathan inaugurated yet another set. The integrity of members of the Economic Team is not only doubtful but it is also very certain that the team will accomplish very little, if nothing.




The plan

The Federal Government (FG), Okonjo-Iweala revealed, plans to remove subsidy in petroleum products, cut recurrent spending; the overhead cost of running government in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to reduce the budget deficit to a manageable level of three per cent of output while boosting infrastructure investment to create jobs.

The returnee Finance Minister speaking further on fiscal discipline and freeing more funds from recurrent budget for more attention on capital, said the move would affect all arms of government and all categories of staff.

According to her, the current situation where recurrent budget takes an entire 75 per cent of total budget could not support the type of aggressive capital development that Nigerians yearn for and must therefore be addressed in such a way that it could be reasonably reduced. Continuing she said “We need to change the budget process in this country. We cannot bring a budget and then have reservations that go back and forth. The executive has its responsibility and I hope the lawmakers will also take responsibility. By 2013 we will have a much saner budget process.”

She said: “We need to maintain macroeconomic stability. We need to manage our fiscal situation in a more prudent manner. Monetary and fiscal policies must work hand-in-hand.” On fuel subsidy, she said: “There has been a lot of debate on fuel subsidies and we have all resolved that (removing it) is a good direction to go on. You have to leave it to us to decide when it is prudent to do so.”

Okonjo-Iweala said: “Nigeria will reduce recurrent expenditure by at least one per cent a year in the next four years, which would bring it down to 70 per cent of the budget by 2014. Recurrent spending accounts for 74 per cent of the country's N4.5 trillion budget. The minister said she favoured the Central Bank's policy of pegging the naira to the dollar to provide stability for businesses, and promised to work with Governor Lamido Sanusi to have an exchange rate that “reflects the economy.”

Okonjo-Iweala further said that Nigeria's total debt figure is currently $39.7 billion which is about 20 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product, GDP, even as she unveiled the priority sectors with which to drive the economy.

She said she would critically review the borrowing processes with a view to reducing the rate, especially the domestic debt. Her words: “One of the things we would do is to pay attention to the debt situation. I know that many Nigerians are looking at it with concern, and you know my stand on debts. We have about N5.2 trillion in domestic debts and about $5.3 billion in external debts bringing total debt figures to $39.7 billion which is about 20 per cent of GDP.”

She identified job creation, building critical infrastructure especially electric power and roads/ rails, anti-corruption, agriculture, manufacturing, fiscal discipline, investment climate reforms, housing, entertainment, as well as, oil & gas as sectors of immediate focus. She noted that Nigeria was not used to trade-offs but that this administration would do so by paying greater attention to the priority sectors.

According to her, “this is not to say that other sectors are not important. It is just that we need to prioritise in the economy. One thing we are not used to doing is creating trade-offs and saying which are the key sectors, we need to focus on. So now we have to make some trade-offs.”

Reality dawns

Okonjo-Iweala warned that addressing the present challenges won't be easy and that she did not have the magic wand for a quick-fix. She assured, however, that with the cooperation of good spirited Nigerians, the National Economic Implementation Team won't disappoint. She said: “The present situation is not going to be an easy one and if you have a budget coming, you have to make choices.”

Specifically on power, the minister said, “All Nigerians know and many opinion surveys have shown that the thing that Nigerians are most interested in is improving our infrastructure in this country. Something that they can see with their eyes; power and roads as well as the rail and air transport. Nigerians are keen to see improvements and this is very important for us.”

She said that the problems bedeviling the Nigerian economy were built up over a long period of time and that Nigerians should not expect a magic wand from her in the efforts to fix the economy. “I have talked of the challenges that we face. There is no magic wand. I have seen some people writing about one magic wand that will be waved. Certainly not by me, I do not have any magic. There is no single person who can solve the problems of this country. We are a team here in the Ministry of Finance. The President has created the Economic Management Team and we have an Economic Management Implementation Team, because the other team is large, we need a core of people to push implementation.

Experts' opinion

But it is very clear that the hurdles before Okonjo-Iweala go beyond her paper presentation. Two factors will definitely negate the ideas she had outlined; these are corruption and will to implement.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley, recently, identified corruption, poor economic growth, erratic power supply as well as non-functional public health and education systems as some challenges facing Nigeria.

McCulley also said youth restiveness, religious bigotry and get-rich quick syndrome were other factors militating against the country's growth.

He said: ''Nigeria faces many challenges in the area of good governance, economic growth, sustainable development, erratic power generation and supply, non-functional public health and education system from primary school to the university levels.”

McCulley added that corruption, religious intolerance and bigotry had destroyed the confidence of Nigerians and undermined the notion of public service, noting that in spite of these shortcomings, Nigeria had the potentials of attracting billions of dollars in foreign investments as long as there is a solid commitment to the rule of law and sanctity of commercial contracts.

National Daily investigation revealed that corruption has necessitated the present administration's resolve to conceal crude oil export volumes and revenues. A recent report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has revealed that in 2010, Nigeria's crude oil exports averaged 2.464 million barrels per day (MMBD). The figure represented 106.9 per cent of 2010 budget projected petroleum output of 2.3 MMBD (the same as the country's OPEC production quota). The export figure excludes condensates and quantities of crude oil refined domestically, which are still being kept secret. Export volumes in 2011 have not slipped.

Nigeria's sweet crude commands higher price than Brent crude whose price per barrel averaged $79.63 in 2010 and $111.01 in January through June 2011. Budget benchmark oil price per barrel for 2010 and 2011 was $67 and $75 respectively.
The Jonathan administration stopped publishing on official websites revenue figures allocated to the three tiers of government from July 2010 thereby hindering informed analysis of oil and non-oil revenue receipts.



Petroleum subsidy

Another major area of contention is the recurring issue of petroleum subsidy. Experts believe that the government's claim that subsidising petrol hinders its ability to create enabling environment for private sector investment in the downstream petroleum sector is false.

The FG made it known that the huge cost of petrol subsidy was draining government resources.

The claims, they stressed, are unproven. Government's implicit characterisation of cheap energy as wasteful is not economically factual. It is sufficiently chastening to contemplate the ramified costs occasioned by the escalating prices of kerosene, diesel and aviation fuel (which are officially deregulated) owing to inadequate supply at a time there is ample foreign exchange for necessary imports.

The absence of the enabling environment for the private sector to exploit the comparative advantage in the petroleum industry is caused not by petrol subsidy as officially believed, but by the inappropriate handling of crude oil export proceeds down the years
.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by 1025: 7:47pm On Aug 30, 2011
no matter how anyone sees it, there was an attempt by obj to destroy the personality of okonjo iweala which failed so jonathan is here to do what obasanjo could not do. we must remember that obasanjo failed in his third term/tenure elongation efforts and jonathan has started a tenure elongation problem again.
okonjo iweala must be careful with this pdp of a group.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 8:01pm On Aug 30, 2011
1025:

no matter how anyone sees it, there was an attempt by obj to destroy the personality of okonjo iweala which failed so jonathan is here to do what obasanjo could not do. we must remember that obasanjo failed in his third term/tenure elongation efforts and jonathan has started a tenure elongation problem again.
okonjo iweala must be careful with this pdp of a group.

Indeed. I like Iweala and have spoken in her defense many times on NL but she is doing an Abati far too early for anyone who respects her to be comfortable with. It is puzzling that the same Iweala who criticized GEJ heavily for the bloated size of Government , while at the World bank, is not talking about doing away with many positions we all know exist for the sake of sharing the National cake to cronies. Okonjo-Iweala , now she is a part of the Government, acts as if she tacitly endorses GEJ's announcement that "leaner Government not possible".

One has to also wonder why a neglible 1% decrease per year on recurrent spendings , amounting to pathetic savings not at all useful to impact positively on capital spending, is all that Iweala can offer given her vociferous previous criticism of the "unacceptably" high amount of our recurrent expenditure. To be honest ,and with all due respect to Okonjo-Iweala, this "economic blueprint" is highly insipid and uninspiring. it is not even one of consolidation let alone "transformation".
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by OAM4J: 8:28pm On Aug 30, 2011
I was also not impressed with the so called Economic Blueprint; I expected a lot more. I wasn't inspired or hopeful about the whole thing. It is not just enough to cut the overloaded recurrent expenditure by just 4% in 4 years and remove the oil subsidy. I just hope she intends to do more than she talked about.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by ariyebaba(m): 8:41pm On Aug 30, 2011
Jona ?
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by 2bosun: 9:16pm On Aug 30, 2011
Gbawe:

Indeed. I like Iweala and have spoken in her defense many times on NL but she is doing an Abati far too early for anyone who respects her to be comfortable with. It is puzzling that the same Iweala who criticized GEJ heavily for the bloated size of Government , while at the World bank, is not talking about doing away with many positions we all know exist for the sake of sharing the National cake to cronies. Okonjo-Iweala , now she is a part of the Government, acts as if she tacitly endorses GEJ's announcement that "leaner Government not possible".

One has to also wonder why a neglible 1% decrease per year on recurrent spendings , amounting to pathetic savings not at all useful to impact positively on capital spending, is all that Iweala can offer given her vociferous previous criticism of the "unacceptably" high amount of our recurrent expenditure. To be honest ,and with all due respect to Okonjo-Iweala, this "economic blueprint" is highly insipid and uninspiring. it is not even one of consolidation let alone "transformation".

Whilst I agree with your logic, I think it's a bit too early and unfair to level criticism at her. A 1%/yr cut on the roughly N3trn recurrent expenditure amounts to N30bn/ yr, cutting the fuel subsidy- N1trn/yr. So in 3 years theoretically, she's talking about saving close to 4 trillion Naira, which is about  the size of the total national debt- a massive ask in 3 years if you ask me. We need to understand that it takes time to correct an economy that has been mismanaged for such a long time. It'll also take more than papers and theories but also the will of the government to fight corruption.

What I don't get is pegging the Naira to the dollar, a move China is currently regretting because America is inflating their domestic economy by printing more dollars- which is having ripples in the Chinese economy. It would be more sensible to disburse the monthly allocations to 3 tiers of government in dollars (or exchangeable certificates) and let the market conditions dictate the value of the Naira.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by JoeMosco(m): 9:18pm On Aug 30, 2011
This plan is quite plaudable and if implemented will have a positive multiplier effect on the GDP & reposition the economy, maybe for once, Nig can obey macro economic policies which has never been possible for our economy for long has defied all known economic theories. Let Nigerians obey and give her the necessary support. We must stop being cynical/scepticalThis plan is quite plaudable and if implemented will have a positive multiplier effect on the GDP & reposition the economy, maybe for once, Nig can obey macro economic policies which has never been possible for our economy for long has defied all known economic theories. Let Nigerians obey and give her the necessary support. We must stop being cynical/sceptical
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Thatdave(m): 9:21pm On Aug 30, 2011
that bucket of crap up there as OP was too long to read!

The office GEj attained in this country didnt change him, critic, it changed u!
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by hbrednic: 9:26pm On Aug 30, 2011
What a rubbish headline
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 9:48pm On Aug 30, 2011
2bosun:

Whilst I agree with your logic, I think it's a bit too early and unfair to level criticism at her. A 1%/yr cut on the roughly N3trn recurrent expenditure amounts to N30bn/ yr, cutting the fuel subsidy- N1trn/yr. So in 3 years theoretically, she's talking about saving close to 4 trillion Naira, which is about  the size of the total national debt- a massive ask in 3 years if you ask me. We need to understand that it takes time to correct an economy that has been mismanaged for such a long time. It'll also take more than papers and theories but also the will of the government to fight corruption.

What I don't get is pegging the Naira to the dollar, a move China is currently regretting because America is inflating their domestic economy by printing more dollars- which is having ripples in the Chinese economy. It would be more sensible to disburse the monthly allocations to 3 tiers of government in dollars (or exchangeable certificates) and let the market conditions dictate the value of the Naira.




Lets use figures everyone can understand instead of creating confusions with trillions. In 4 years, okonjo Iweala's 1% reduction per year target will only save $1.5 billion over 4 years i.e $375 million per year. Is an extra $375 million per year not a sick joke if the consideration , as Okonjo Iweala herself argued before gaining employment under GEJ, is to make an appreciable amount available for capital spending at the expense of recurrent expenditure? $375 million is approximately half of what the NASS consumes yearly out of the $30 billion budget i.e $750 million  !!!! 

How can Iweala's 1% effort then be seen as anything but a joke when Avenues to seriously wittle down recurrent expenditure are completely ignored such as reducing what is spent on the NASS, Substantive Ministers, Ministers of State, special advisors, etc etc ? This is why the articles states that Jonathan and Okonjo Iweala are "insincere". In real terms , no other word is apt given the highly dubious effort to reduce recurrent expenditure when so many areas of waste and profligacy remain ignored. We can all see the sort of stringent cuts being made by Countries a lot richer and more stable than Nigeria !!! Read the article below dispassionately to understand why many , experts and layman alike, are not impressed by Okonjo Iweala's "economic blueprint"

http://saharareporters.com/article/ngozi-okonjo-iweala-press-conference-much-ado-about-nothing

That Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Press Conference Is Much Ado About Nothing!
Posted: August 25, 2011 - 21:16
Goodluck Jonathan and Ngozi Iweala
By Femi Lawal

Honestly, it is the same appetite of the Nigerians for Foreign Goods that informed the encomiums showered on Iweala, Aganga, Nnaji etc, as Ministers.

From this Iweala's press conference comments, I'm of the opinion that the Secondary School Economics teachers in Nigeria would have a better Finance or Economic Management Agenda than Iweala.

First, Iweala claims that her ability to reduce the Recurrent Expenditure from the staggering 74 % to the equally staggering 70% at the end of 4 years, is a feat that would boost the neglected Capital Expenditure in Nigeria. I can now see why she spent a hell of a time to CLEAR HER DESK at the World Bank. If Nigerians understand what that bureaucratic terminology connotes.

Secondly, United States that is larger than Africa has only 15 Federal Ministers (Secretaries), while the poor Nigerian Government that is about the size of the State of Texas, has 42 Federal Ministers that are paid higher than the US Federal Ministers. Yet, Iweala that has just come from Washington DC, has not said a word about the size of 42.

Truly, Nigerian Government has no business with more than 10 Ministries with 10 Ministers.

According to Iweala, the Nigerian Budget is N4.5 Trillion (i.e. $30 Billion). The Nigerian Recurrent Expenditure is about 75% . That is $ 22.5 Billion (75%) out of 30. Her entire efforts as Nigeria's Economic Manager in 4 years would bring the Recurrent Expenditure down to $ 21 Billion (70%). And this would be the solution to Nigeria's Capital Development.

With the NASS Quarterly Constituency Allowance that increased from N23 Million to N42 Million added to their monthly Salary, the NASS (Senate and H of Rep) consumes less than $750 Million (less than One Billion Dollars) from the total Budget of $ 30 Billion (or from the $ 22.5 Billion Recurrent Expenditure). Iweala has not said what the Presidency and the 42 Ministers consume from the Total Recurrent Expenditure.

If Iweala wants to address Nigerians through a Press Conference in a Transparent Manner, she should be bold to tell Nigerians what the Nigerian Government collects as Total Revenues Annually. Telling Nigerians that the Budget is N4.5 Trillion ($ 30 Billion) and you want to reduce Budget Deficit to 3% is meaningless, and crooked at best. Besides, deliberately varying the mixture of Naira and Dollar at a Press Conference to mislead, does not improve anybody's Credibility.

In the last 3 years, Crude Oil has sold at the average of $100 per Barrel. That is about $60 Billion in a year, for which the Nigerian Government gets about $ 40 Billion (about 60% of the proceeds). This excludes Internally Generated Revenue and the Revenue from other Exports.

So, Iweala should come Public with the Nigerian Total Annual Revenue Collection in the face of the Annual Budget of $ 30 Billion that suddenly results in 3% or more Budget Deficit.

There is no evidence that Iweala verified the said $37.8 Billion IMF/World Bank outstanding Loan before negotiating Debt forgiveness in 2005.

Now that the $ 37.8 Billion Unverified IMF outstanding Loan has gone since 2006; Iweala has just arrived to tell Nigerians of the existence of Another Loan of $39.7 Billion of which she labeled as mainly Domestic Loan in Bonds and Treasury Bills, amounting to a whopping $34.4 Billion (N5.2 Trillion).

What is surprising is that many Nigerians are fast becoming Billionaires in US Dollars in a Country (of more than 150 million people) whose Annual Budget is only $30 Billion; and We Don't Know How and Where their Billion Dollars are coming from.

Nigerians would like Iweala's Team and the EFFC to be Good Enough to lunch an Investigation to Ascertain the Authenticity of this Over-Bearing Domestic Revenue of a whopping $34.4 Dollars. Treasury Bills and Bonds sold to Who?

Lastly, Iweala says the Government would remove Petroleum Subsidy. However, I recall the Removal of the Petroleum Subsidy was the World Bank/IMF Conditionality of 1986. Government, between 1986 and 1993, removed some; and in 1994 Government also removed Petroleum Subsidy and the pump price of Fuel rose from 70k per Liter to N3.75 per Liter in one day. The Nigerian Naira then took a free fall from about N22 per Dollar to N80 per Dollar. So, which Subsidy Removal again is Iweala talking about. Or, is she on a Secret Mission?

The West, in search of where to direct Export trade to revamp their dwindling Economy after the loss of Asia, suddenly advised Sanusi to Devalue the Naira. Sanusi intelligently ignored such Unsolicited Advice.

My question is:
Is Iweala's Secret Mission to Nigeria "the DEVALUATION of the Naira"?; using phantom Petroleum Subsidy Removal as a Front?; just as the World Bank/IMF had earlier prompted Sanusi but got a Rebuff ?

To Nigerians:

The DEVALUATION of the Naira would kill the ability of Nigerians to establish Manufacturing Industries that would have propelled Nigeria into joining the Club of Emerging Markets by 2020.
The DEVALUATION of the Naira would only worsen Nigeria's dependency on Foreign Imports from the West, and compound the raging poverty in Nigeria.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 9:56pm On Aug 30, 2011
hbrednic:

What a rubbish headline 

I disagree . Read what I write above. If you are objective , you will admit that GEJ and Okonjo Iweala can only be deemed "insincere" because damaging profligacy, waste and an unacceptably bloated/expensive democracy , that Okonjo Iweala herself criticised heavily in the past, is not tackled at all . This "economic blueprint" is , IMO, Okonjo Iweala's tacit endorsement and acceptance of the status Quo especially if we look at areas she ignores now yet was very vocal about when she was not part of the Government . This is why I say she is becoming an Abati too early. The little she offers and , more importantly, the vast 'repairables' she ignored indicate she now has the same mentality as GEJ that saw Mr. President announce that "leaner Government not possible" as a way to tell Nigerians that his AGIP controllers have won.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by netotse(m): 10:00pm On Aug 30, 2011
@gbawe
in the constitution it says there should be a minister from each state of the country including the FCT, OBJ then appointed one from each geographic zone, according to the constitution, the lowest no. of ministers you can have is 36. . .are you asking Okonjo-iweala to single-handedly re-write the constitution? cheesy
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by FACE(m): 10:01pm On Aug 30, 2011
I hardly get involved with very long articles because I just do not have the time to engage in long arguments. As long as the article was, the writer could not establish the relationship between the sensational headline and the article.

Okonko-Iweala made her goals and targets very clear and the writer could not even fault her on any of those targets, which are macroeconomic stability, fiscal responsibility, reduction of  % of recurrent expenditure to annual budget. However, he made a woeful attempt at disparaging her stance on petrol subsidy so let’s go there also.

According to him;

“Another major area of contention is the recurring issue of petroleum subsidy. Experts believe that the government's claim that subsidising petrol hinders its ability to create enabling environment for private sector investment in the downstream petroleum sector is false.

The FG made it known that the huge cost of petrol subsidy was draining government resources.

The claims, they stressed, are unproven. Government's implicit characterisation of cheap energy as wasteful is not economically factual. It is sufficiently chastening to contemplate the ramified costs occasioned by the escalating prices of kerosene, diesel and aviation fuel (which are officially deregulated) owing to inadequate supply at a time there is ample foreign exchange for necessary imports.

The absence of the enabling environment for the private sector to exploit the comparative advantage in the petroleum industry is caused not by petrol subsidy as officially believed, but by the inappropriate handling of crude oil export proceeds down the years.”


He made reference to “experts” belief that bla bla bla, but you have to know his definition of an expert to understand how mentally lazy he is. For example, the US ambassador is an economic expert because he simply stated what any okada man could have said about the problems facing Nigeria.

I have to doubt the academic credentials of anyone who disputes that “subsidising” petrol is a huge drain on government resources.

My understanding of this statement;

“The absence of the enabling environment for the private sector to exploit the comparative advantage in the petroleum industry is caused not by petrol subsidy as officially believed, but by the inappropriate handling of crude oil export proceeds down the years.”

Is that due to the inability of the govt to provide good roads, constant power supply, security, etc, the private sector has not been encouraged to blossom.

If that is the message, this holds for all sectors of the economy and not limited to the petroleum sector. I daresay that petroleum sector is least affected by those inadequacies because, demands for their products far outstrip supply at the moment and since any serious production in the petroleum industry is gas fired, they have comparative advantage over other thriving manufacturing sectors in Nigeria.

Petroleum subsidy is the chief culprit here, as there is no way any body from the private sector can make a profit by selling at N65/litre unless the crude oil for production is also subsidised for local manufacturers.  

Buying crude oil at international market rate and considering the cost of labour in Nigeria, the true cost of petrol should be circa N80-N120. For the avoidance of doubt, a barrel of crude oil yields about 75 litres of petrol, 40 litres of diesel, 15 litres of kerosene, 7 litres of LPG, 12.6 litres of heavy oil and distillates (engine oil and co) and about 25 litres of feedstock for petrochemical industries. How is anyone going to invest in a venture that would not be profitable because of the existence of subsidy that delivers the same product at more than 20% cheaper than locally produced products?

So I think it’s time we got rid of the useless subsidy, which we all know is a guaranteed source of income for the few who have been granted import licenses. Okonjo-Iweala realises that subsidy removal is a very thorny path to follow because it is unpopular with both cabal and public but she is threading carefully and has proposed gradual removal in order not to cause a shock to the system, so all well meaning Nigerians should support her and not attempt disparage her efforts.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by hercules07: 10:03pm On Aug 30, 2011
GEJ can play politics now, for instance Dizeani can represent two states Bayelsa and her husband's state, he should just look for ministers that can claim two states, me sef I can claim three states, born in Lagos to Oyo and Osun parents.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by cap28: 10:04pm On Aug 30, 2011
no hope for nigeria's economy as long as these two remain at the helm.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 10:54pm On Aug 30, 2011
netotse:

@gbawe
in the constitution it says there should be a minister from each state of the country including the FCT, OBJ then appointed one from each geographic zone, according to the constitution, the lowest no. of ministers you can have is 36. . .are you asking Okonjo-iweala to single-handedly re-write the constitution?  cheesy

This recourse to the constitution , as an automatic excuse for the inactions of the GEJ Government, is fast becoming discredited and indicative of double standards if one looks at the actions of GEJ himself. When GEJ wants to maintain the status quo for his AGIP 'special advisors' and pals, he feebly cites the constitution while announcing that "leaner Government not possible" .

The constitution is always to blame for why good things cannot be done for Nigeria. Meanwhile when GEJ want his appointees to become voting delegates , he has no qualms acting with the speed of light to present bills to effect the change he wants. When tenure extension is on the menu no one lets the constitution stand in the way . The push for amendment is instant and immediate.

It is even becoming embarrasing that some fans of GEJ can come out with this lame excuse . The constitution only 'restricts' GEJ when it is ordinary Nigerians who stand to benefit. When Mr. President and his fellow Politicians are the beneficiaries , that is when everyone remembers that amendments to the constitution can be sought quickly and without delay.

What you apologist of GEJ fail to accept is that Mr. President would present amendment bill if he really believes in something passionately rather than give in lamely without a fight. It is what brave and committed reformers do worldwide and throughout history. GEJ can move to amend the provisions of the constitution for the number of Ministers we have if that is what he really wants. Nigerians will swing behind him if he acts like that even if he will be frusrated by the NASS in the end.

What is totally reprehensible is for GEJ to give up without even making an effort , only to point to the constitution, over issues that benefit ordinary Nigerians yet he is fast, like Usain Bolt, to move for an amendment to the constitution when tenure elongation is on the menu. The cynical opportunism of GEJ is transparent. This is why Nigerians are turning against him. Only his kinsmen , like yourself, remain unable to accept the cold reality that show GEJ for what he realy is.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by 2bosun: 11:34pm On Aug 30, 2011
Gbawe:

Lets use figures everyone can understand instead of creating confusions with trillions. In 4 years, okonjo Iweala's 1% reduction per year target will only save $1.5 billion over 4 years i.e $375 million per year. Is an extra $375 million per year not a sick joke if the consideration , as Okonjo Iweala herself argued before gaining employment under GEJ, is to make an appreciable amount available for capital spending at the expense of recurrent expenditure? $375 million is approximately half of what the NASS consumes yearly out of the $30 billion budget i.e $750 million  !!!! 

How can Iweala's 1% effort then be seen as anything but a joke when Avenues to seriously wittle down recurrent expenditure are completely ignored such as reducing what is spent on the NASS, Substantive Ministers, Ministers of State, special advisors, etc etc ? This is why the articles states that Jonathan and Okonjo Iweala are "insincere". In real terms , no other word is apt given the highly dubious effort to reduce recurrent expenditure when so many areas of waste and profligacy remain ignored. We can all see the sort of stringent cuts being made by Countries a lot richer and more stable than Nigeria !!! Read the article below dispassionately to understand why many , experts and layman alike, are not impressed by Okonjo Iweala's "economic blueprint"

http://saharareporters.com/article/ngozi-okonjo-iweala-press-conference-much-ado-about-nothing




I think we need to cut Ngozi some slack. Let's try not to be cynical about things and look at the big picture. In your own words she is going to be doing away with "approximately half of what the NASS consumes yearly". That is not an easy feat because it would require some level of constitution amendment- and we know how cooperative the members of the NASS would be.

Secondly the recurrent budget is not just to do with salaries alone, it's to do with pensions, debt management etc. If she manages to get the debts down through negotiating interest rates, it would free some money for capital spending.

Lastly and most importantly, the recurrent expenditure was roughly about 70% in 2007, lots of money was thrown at the power sector then (about $16 billion during that period) with no results. This should be a hint that the problem is beyond the recurrent expenditure- even with capital expenditure at 90%, without fiscal discipline and proper financial management (which I think is her strength) the resultant effect on the economy would be zero!

We can't compare other countries to Nigeria's, even though other countries are mixing their stringent cuts up with tax breaks (U.S) and 1p petrol subsidies (U.K)- we might say it's nothing but it adds up in the end. Look at the bigger picture.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by senbonzakurakageyoshi: 11:45pm On Aug 30, 2011
@ Gbawe, you do have a strong point. Isn't that constitution amendable? If GEJ really wanted to trim the size of his cabinet, couldn't he seek an ammendment to the same constitution? He obviously put no effort into it. If he had gone after an ammendment and the NASS threw it out, then we would know he put an effort into it. Obviously, he didn't. -1, GEJ.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Beaf: 11:59pm On Aug 30, 2011
senbonzakura_kageyoshi:

@ Gbawe, you do have a strong point. Isn't that constitution amendable? If GEJ really wanted to trim the size of his cabinet, couldn't he seek an ammendment to the same constitution? He obviously put no effort into it. If he had gone after an ammendment and the NASS threw it out, then we would know he put an effort into it. Obviously, he didn't. -1, GEJ.

I don't know if you are being sarcastic with the above, but amending the constitution is a very involved, lengthy and expensive process. It just isn't worth it to submit a bill and then have to wait 9 months (or a couple of years) while it is thrashed out, before choosing his ministers.
. . .a long wait like the unfortunate emperor of Osun, Aregbesola's was. grin
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Beaf: 12:03am On Aug 31, 2011
This thread has no meaning or direction. Its just about lie upon lie.

Okonjo-Iweala's short time in govt has seen all sorts of intrigues; from bare faced lies and defamation to death threats.
What are the enemies of Nigeria afraid of?

--Locks the foolish thread and throws the key away--
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by PointB: 6:24am On Aug 31, 2011
***sniffs, sniffs, sniffs**
@Topic
I smell ACN propagandist, and Buhari apologist, out to rubbish team GEJ pearl, with lies by expertsgrin grin grin grin

Bad belle by Gbawe!  grin grin grin grin grin
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by 9jaganja(m): 7:29am On Aug 31, 2011
Even stoopid Americans are not dumb enough to let World Bank known and exposed agent to come work for them!


Here is there propaganda,


If you notice Nigeria is getting good coverage from CNN lately including "5th sexiest ascent" , Dbanj/Don jazzy getting recognized by "G.O.O.D MUSIC", They tried the influential shiiit with Sanusi but he didn't play into their tricks! If they want to use you, you get all the praises a master can give his slave,

When Obasanjo won Nigerians were "Happiest people" on earth, being hailed for "efforts" in fighting corruption You think OBJ is that smart? you must have forgotten the 1999 presidential debate! Everytime their puppet is in power we get some "praises" from them, When Yaradua who isn't their puppet got there we got "Abdul Mutallab", but then their new puppet (OBJ. old one was IBB) had a master plan and the plan was GEJ,

Yeah they invited Yaradua to the white house did they? NO (Prove me wrong) but as soon as their puppet got into power Yea he got invited.


You know what is wrong? The plan was to let go Bakassi. They dare request Bakassi when Abacha who ain't no one's puppet was there. Wait wait wait. Yeah ages ago The Arabs chased out Jews, and America, Britain etc fought tooth and nail to get the "jews" back to "middle east". Now Nigeria used Cameroon's land space to attack Biafra and gave them what? But naaa UN/US/BRITAIN will soon be in our heads with "Indigenous people's right" YEAH THE PEOPLE OF BAKASSI WERE UPROOTED FROM THEIR HOMES! UN? Where is UN? OOO wait, France is interested in the Oil because they control Cameroon and basically will control the peninsula no? Where was the case decided again? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahhaah France!!!!!!!!


Nigerians need sophistication. I am not a fan of Arabs or Islam but you don't have to be to know the evils being perpetuated in this world is not coming from the EAST!!


United States want to give Americans more purchasing power and the only way to do that is by infiltrating economies, The still believe and operate on Paul Wolfowitz's Doctrine (In summary, No nation should be allowed to be better than the USA). Don't be deceived!

Many Nigerians living in the United States are potential agents especially those in Military, Govt/Top companies, Ajimobi is a SHELL AGENT! No? Wait and see, Corporations run this nation and this nation's purchasing power has to be better than that of any why? Because we are the only ones who will buy crumbs for the price of a loaf, (Not Nigeria; Amer Ika)


United Nation? World Bank? All these organizations are nothing but tools tools tools!!! Look We will soon buy fuel for n250/ltr hahahaha then the capitaists will have a field day jacking price by more than 200%, I'm high? Wait and see,
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by PointB: 7:39am On Aug 31, 2011
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 8:00am On Aug 31, 2011
senbonzakura_kageyoshi:

@ Gbawe, you do have a strong point. Isn't that constitution amendable? If GEJ really wanted to trim the size of his cabinet, couldn't he seek an ammendment to the same constitution? He obviously put no effort into it. If he had gone after an ammendment and the NASS threw it out, then we would know he put an effort into it. Obviously, he didn't. -1, GEJ.

My brother, if you don't really have the desire, will and passion to make a difference then you will not put in any effort. Rather , you give convenient excuses - however silly those excuses appear. In the UK , for example, everyone knew what the Conservative Party predicated their leadership upon before the election i.e the dismantling of the "Nanny" State and culture ruining the Country. Before the elections, they were clear in their agenda of cutting waste and profligacy. They wanted everything 'streamlined' to gain a more efficient nation. The emphasis must shift from maintaining folks at home, on benefit, to cajoling them towards the workplace. There was even, more than ever, a greater urgency because of the problems of the global credit crunch and a stagnant property Market with falling value and transaction rate.

There is much more to comment on but suffice to say that the Conservative Party , even as I may not agree with all its actions completely, has done what it promised before the elections. Sacred Cows like the NHS (National Health services) have not been spared and , for a serious nation, we did not even hear anything about laws and constitution. We just saw the literature that showed everyone that Welfare Benefit have been cut downwards and that numbers would be scaled down for many entities directly under the Goverment eg the police Force !!! The legal restrictions was never an issue. Britons just saw action !!!!

The simple point here is that man made the law and not the other way round. The law must never become a frustrating impediment to the progress of a nation when it was never designed to be that in the first place . Rather , if you are a serious and committed leader with an agenda of progress then you push to proactively change the law so the agitations of the people , and the progress of the nation, is actualised. The people themselves , when they see your effort, will swing behind you massively in taking on the AGIPs and ruinous hands who wish for Nigeria to remain as it is. The truth , for those who don't decieve themselves, is that GEJ is ruling for the "owners of Nigeria" so that "business as usual" continues. They unanimously gathered behind him before the elections and now their efforts at "endorsing" GEJ is paying off massively with how every decision of the GEJ Government (eg NNPC turn around refineries in 2 years, "leaner Government not possible"wink clearly seems to favour the "owners of Nigeria" .
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by DivideUs(m): 8:43am On Aug 31, 2011
Oh my god! all we do is criticize! I remember not too long ago sanusi was the problem and now its jona & okonjo, but dem policies are totally different (sanusi is an islamist as you put it here, so wetin be jona and okonjo?) If we can't revolt and can not decide on what is right and what is wrong without sentiments then we should all shutup, besides no be dem jona money (south south)? Make dem spend am anyway dem see fit! What we really need is to breakup and stop worryin about the useless very divided country and its economy
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbenge77(m): 12:06pm On Aug 31, 2011
I m willing to bet GEJ is a trillionaire.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by Gbawe: 12:27pm On Aug 31, 2011
Gbenge 77:

I m willing to bet GEJ is a trillionaire.

You may probably be right. The actions of this government , so far, is , without doubt, geared towards the status quo of the enrichment of a select few in the "owners of Nigeria" club. I have no doubt that GEJ is not working feverishly for the AGIPs for no 'reward'.
Re: Economic Blueprint: Jonathan, Okonjo-iweala Are Insincere by friedrice1: 8:28pm On Aug 31, 2011
http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/national/2011/aug/31/national-31-08-2011-010.html

CONTROVERSY
Is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for real?
The myth of IMF competence rating
By Ola Balogun
Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Dr. Okonjo-Iweala
Photo: The Sun Publishing
More Stories on This Section

Ministers in their native countries, based on the premise of the supposed competence that the western-anointed 'experts' are deemed to have manifested in the various World Bank and IMF positions to which they are regularly appointed by the powers that be in the western world.

However, it is highly debatable if an individual can be said to be the most suitable candidate for appointment to the position of
Finance Minister of an African country primarily on the basis of prior official functions in the IMF or World Bank. It is in fact highly
instructive to note that the Western nations themselves do not generally recruit their own Finance Ministers from the ranks of World Bank and IMF officials, even though they often lean heavily on Third World Governments to appoint such 'experts' to serve as Finance Ministers. Could there be more to it all than meets the eye?

Coming now to the issue of whether or not Nigeria actually owed any money at the time that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is held to have performed the 'great feat' of reimbursing the whopping sum of $12 billion (twelve billion dollars) to western creditor nations, it is important to first answer a number of crucial questions. These are:

- How and when were these alleged debtsincurred?
-In the case of Nigeria, how much wasallegedly borrowed, and how much has so farbeen paid back to the supposed creditors?
-Are these alleged debts legitimate debts, and are they truly enforceable?
- What are the true roles of the I.M.F and the World Bank in the debt collection scenario?
To come to a proper understanding of the current Third World debt situation, it is important to recall that the entire situation has its roots in the immediate aftermath of the successful move by OPEC countries in the 1970's to increase the price at which oil was being sold on the world market. It was the first time in modern history that suppliers of a raw commodity had succeeded in joining forces to oblige the industrialised countries to pay a fair
price for raw products.

The western countries, however, eventually had the last laugh, since the ensuing increase in income for the oil producing countries (known as petrodollars), ended up being deposited in the western banks.

With so much cash available in the banking system, representatives of major western banks like Chase Manhattan, Bank of America, Barclay's etc. fanned out all over the world, cajoling the governments and leaders of Third World countries to contract loans for development projects, on the premise that these loans were being offered at extremely low interest rates. The bait at the time consisted in holding out the hope to Third World countries that the successful execution of these so-called 'development projects' (which were also concocted by 'experts' dispatched from the western countries) would enable the Third World countries to achieve the same level of well-being and development as was then prevalent in the western world.

any questions arise from the circumstances in which the original loans allegedly owed to the western nations were offered and accepted by the Nigerian leaders who contracted such loans in the past.
First of all: Was there not some element of deception involved in providing loans at supposedly low interest rates, only for these interest rates to be jacked up unilaterally by the lenders in subsequent years without any possibility of recourse on the side of the borrowers
Secondly, were these loans legitimately incurred, given the fact that most of the governments that incurred the loans were not elected governments that truly represented the people of Nigeria?
In this connection, it is pertinent to recall the well-known international principle of odious debts, formulated by Alexander Nahum Sack, a former Minister of the pre-revolutionary Russian government who subsequently became a Professor of International Law in Paris.

Sack pointed out in very simple terms:“If a despotic power incurs a debt not for the needsor in the interest of the State, , this debt is odious for the population of all the Sate.
This debt is not an obligation for the nation;it is a regime’s debt, a personal debt of thepower that has incurred it, consequently it fallswith the fall of this power.”
For greater clarity, Professor Sack added:
“The reason that these ‘odious’debts cannot be considered to encumber the territory of theState is that such debts do not fulfil one of the conditions that determine the legality of thedebts of the State, that is : the debts of the Statemust be incurred and the funds from it employedfor the needs and in the interests of the State.”

For any fair-minded person, most of the debts alleged owed by the people of Nigeria cannot be said to be legitimate debts for four crucial reasons.
The first is that the vast majority of these debts were incurred by corrupt and unelected military regimes whose power to enter into valid contractual agreements on behalf of the peoples of Nigeria is wholly questionable.
The second reason for the illegitimate nature
•Probing the vexed issue of Nigeria’s external debts

drastic reductions in government expenditure, leading to dramatic cuts in health care services, education, and other social spending. Under the dictates of SAP, there have also been wholesale privatization of state-owned enterprises under the pretext of making them run more efficiently, leading to widespread job losses, and enabling corrupt leaders and their front men and cronies to pocket key state-owned entities at give-away prices. In this respect, the shocking revelations that have emerged from the on-going Senate probe into privatisation merely represent the tip of the iceberg!

It is obvious that SAP strategies dictated by the IMF and the World Bank have been enthusiastically embraced by successive Nigerian Governments, beginning with the regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, for purely selfish and self-serving motives.

Another direct consequence of the IMF-inspired SAP strategies is that our currency has been severely devalued and rendered virtually worthless in relationship to the currencies of the major western countries, a situation that has been welcomed with glee by Nigeria’s ruling elite, which has thereby been enabled to run vast scams based on speculating against the naira through the multiple new banks they have set up specifically for this purpose.

This is why a small handful of Nigerians continue to grow tremendously richer by the day, while the vast majority of the citizens of this country are groaning under the burden of the hardships imposed by the debt collection strategies of the IMF and the World Bank.
In the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the local beneficiaries of the fraudulent debt claims of the western nations continue to hail the IMF and the World Bank and to insist that we should go periodically to beg the fraudulent cartel of insatiable debt collectors known as the Paris Club for so-called “debt forgiveness”.
We also need to consider the fact that over and beyond the issue of the Third World debt, other questions also need to be raised.

First of all, it is a well-known fact that the current prosperity of the key western nations is built on the free slave labour that was forcibly provided for several centuries by millions of slaves who were carried away from the African continent to toil for free in America and the West Indies. No reparation or compensation has ever been paid to Africa by the beneficiaries of the horrors of the slave trade, which devastated the African continent, while building up the New World economies for the direct benefit of the European powers.
Even more to the point, the same Western powers colonised and exploited Africa for over a century during the colonial era.

Have these nations ever paid one kobo for all the raw materials they extracted for free from the African continent during the period of colo-nial occupation of the continent? Have they ever paid for the forced labour to which they subjected the colonized peoples while they were in control of our countries?

It is interesting to note in this connection that as recently as in 1945, Germany and Japan were forced to begin paying reparations to nationals of countries who were deemed to have been forced to work in German and Japanese labour camps during the Second World War. In fact, reparations are still being paid to the supposed Jewish victims of Nazi war crimes to this very day!

Why then are the peoples of Africa not entitled to some form of reparation and payment for all the exploitation to which they were subjected by the colonialists?

After all, colonialism was only officially brought to an end after 1960! Are Africans not human beings too, and were they not placed in labour camps and forced to labour for free at gunpoint by the colonizing powers?
In the light of the above considerations, it should be obvious to any fair-minded person that the claim that Nigeria owes the western countries any money is pure fiction. The truth is that it is THEY who owe us money!
They owe us money as reparation for the damages inflicted on us by several centuries of slave trade. They also owe us money for all the raw materials they illegally exported from our country during the colonial era. (For instance, the Shell petroleum company is widely believed to have been exporting oil from Nigeria for several years before we even got to know that such a commodity existed!)
In the light of the forgoing explanations, it is obvious that we owe NOTHING, and we should have paid NOTHING!

Viewed from this perspective, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s much touted “achievement” in paying off alleged foreign debts said to be owed by Nigeria was far from being in Nigeria’s true interests.
Even if it were to be accepted (contrary to what has been demonstrated above) that we were actually owing money to the western countries, was it justified to make a bulk reimbursement of such magnitude at a time when our country lacked sorely needed funds for such crucial needs as health care, education, infrastructure development etc? Why have other debtor nations not followed in Nigeria’s footsteps?
It has often been argued by the proponents of the Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala/Olusegun Obasanjo ill-advised and injudicious rush to pay money back in bulk to the Paris club group of predator nations that failure to do so would have resulted in dire consequences for Nigeria.

This point of view however flies in the face of the easily verifiable fact that the heavens did not fall when countries like Argentina and Brazil insisted that they were incapable of keeping up with the scheduled repayment of IMF/World Bank loans in the early years of the present century. All that happened was that the debts were renegotiated and rolled over. Why would Nigeria have been in a weaker position than the major Latin American nations to renegotiate its schedule of payments?
Unfortunately for the admirers of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there is little reason to believe that she actually achieved anything useful during her tenure of office as Finance Minister under General Olusegun Obasanjo.
This being the case, has President Goodluck Jonathan not already doomed his nascent administration to early failure by recruiting an IMF anointed “expert” to occupy a key position in his cabinet?
Time will soon tell!
•Dr.Ola Balogun

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