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Oshiomhole disagrees with Okonjo-Iweala on economy

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GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has accused the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, of “gross mismanaging of the nation’s economy” in the last four years.

The governor in an article to review the nation’s economy in the last four years said Okonjo-Iweala was running the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as if it was a one-man show. He added that the minister’s recent outcry that oil marketers were falsifying subsidy claims might have been done in fear of the incoming President Muhammadu Buhari.

Oshiomhole wrote: “As the country transits from one democratic dispensation to another, there is no gainsaying that the state of the nation’s economy is the focal point, especially with the unending fuel scarcity which is gradually grinding the nation to a halt.

“No doubt, the best person to explain the state of the economy today is Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, whose management of the nation’s resources in these past four years has elicited different reactions from Nigerians.

“As a member of the National Economic Council, I had spoken out at different times at NEC meetings and even in public on the way the economy is managed under Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, again, I want to share my views with the public on some of the issues affecting the Nigerian nation.”

He accused the minister of pointing in the wrong directions and “blaming everybody but herself for the parlous state of the Nigerian economy, coming after her deafening silence on the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit of NNPC crude oil sales and receipts, which revealed massive abuse of public trust and stealing of our common patrimony in high places under her watch and the government she serves.

“It is quite intriguing that with barely few days left in office, she has suddenly woken up from her slumber to realize that oil marketers have been all along falsifying subsidy claims and defrauding the nation of billions of naira and dollars. This latter day ‘policy activism’ on her part deserves closer scrutiny and interrogation.

“Perhaps for fear of Buhari, come May 29, 2015, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is now compelled to disclose to Nigerians that a cabal is holding the country and the government to ransom. Beside the abuse of the subsidy regime, we will insist that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also comes clean on some other critical issues that demand accountability from her and her office.”

The governor accused the minister of not being sincere with the alleged payment of subsidy to oil marketers, adding: “According to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, after paying N156 billion to the oil marketers, the marketers came with another claim of N200 billion, which includes a N159 billion coming not from actual supply of fuel but from exchange rate differentials.

“This resulted in a prolonged bickering that led to the current nation-wide fuel scarcity and total black-out.”

He also accused the finance minister of mismanaging the ECA, shortchanging the states and leaving them poorer.



8 Comments
  • Promise

    FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE

    News Release. May
    28, 2015

    OSHIOMHOLE’S BASELESS DIATRIBE AGAINST
    OKONJO-IWEALA

    It is no surprise that a few days after the
    Federal Ministry of Finance published the details of what the Federal and State
    governments received from the Excess Crude Account over the past four years,
    Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has launched an attack against the
    Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi
    Okonjo-Iweala. His article “Economy: Okonjo-Iweala’s hidden figures” is full of
    gaping holes, both in facts and logic.

    Obviously, for daring to publish how the ECA
    was shared and showing that governors who cannot pay salaries have no excuses,
    Okonjo-Iweala is being targeted. It is noteworthy that several of their
    colleagues have been able to manage their finances reasonably well under these
    same difficult circumstances.

    The release of the ECA details has also
    demonstrated very clearly that there is no substance in the wild allegations
    that any money is missing from the account or that finances of the country
    under Okonjo-Iweala watch have not been well managed.

    Like previous baseless allegations by some
    Governors, the motive behind Oshiomhole’s attack is clear: to deflect public
    attention away from the manner in which they have run the finances of their
    states and make Okonjo-Iweala the scapegoat. If it was meant to intimidate the
    Minister, it has failed abysmally.

    How can Governor Oshiomhole claim that state
    governors were not properly briefed on the status of the ECA when his
    commissioner of finance attends all the FAAC meetings where decisions are taken
    and communicated to the nation?

    This diversionary tactic will not succeed
    because Nigerians are too smart to buy into this fiction. Secondly, the Finance
    Ministry under Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister who started the practice of
    publishing details of allocations from the Federation Account to all the three
    tiers of government, has regularly furnished Nigerians with information on the
    country’s finances.

    Governor Oshiomhole’s statement that
    Okonjo-Iweala “must disclose to the nation the full details of subsidy payments
    made to oil marketers in the last four years” is therefore astonishing given
    the fact that EVERY payment made to the marketers has been published in the
    media and widely disseminated through all news channels.

    Oshiomhole’s allegation that Okonjo-Iweala
    has not been transparent is ridiculous and totally lacking in merit. Apart from
    the monthly publication of allocations to the federal, state and local
    governments, the Federal Ministry of Finance under Okonjo-Iweala also publishes
    SURE-P receipts and distribution to different tiers, details of payments to oil
    marketers and other information.

    Has Governor Oshiomhole demonstrated the
    same level of openness in his management of the affairs of Edo State? Can
    Oshiomhole also go public with ALL the information showing what he has received
    from various sources and the uses to which he has deployed them?

    Equally incomprehensible – for a supposedly
    smart Governor – is Oshiomhole’s claim that the CME has “just woken up from her
    slumber to realize that oil marketers have been all along falsifying subsidy
    claims and defrauding the nation of billions of Naira”. This statement
    underscores the extent to which he is willing to go in his desperation to tar
    Okonjo-Iweala. When she returned as Finance Minister in 2011, the outstanding
    fuel subsidy bill was about N1.3 trillion. It was the work done on subsidy
    fraud by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee which the Minister set up, later elevated
    into a presidential panel that determined that over N300 billion of the amount
    was fraudulent. This eventually led to the prosecution of some persons for
    subsidy fraud and reduction of the annual subsidy budget to N791 billion,
    saving the country over a trillion naira in the process. Maybe it is His
    Excellency who was snoring while this was going on. Such baseless posturing
    only serves to diminish the credibility of Oshiomhole in the minds of objective
    Nigerians.

    For the record, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has no
    apologies for insisting that a claim of N159 billion for forex differentials by
    the marketers out of a total bill of N200 billion should go through an additional
    verification process. When 80% of a subsidy claim is made up of forex
    differentials and not the value of the amount of fuel supplied, the right and
    proper thing to do is to take extra steps to ensure that the country is not
    being cheated. That is what Okonjo-Iweala did.

    Oshiomhole’s allegation that the Minister is
    involved in “an unholy alliance” with government agencies and the marketers is
    therefore manifestly untrue and totally irresponsible. How can a minister
    against whom the oil marketers have conducted a very public campaign of calumny
    be in league with them? A decent public official should not make such
    scurrilous and unsubstantiated statements.

    The most laughable part of Oshiomhole’s
    article is the claim that Okonjo-Iweala has been speaking out lately because of
    the “fear of Buhari”. Nigerians know this is ridiculous. If there is any
    minister whose voice has been strong on the right issues over the past four
    years it is Okonjo-Iweala. Okonjo-Iweala combines a stalwart integrity, a mastery
    of her mandate and the courage of her convictions. She therefore has no reason
    to fear. Those who cannot adequately explain what they did with the resources
    of their states and are begging for bailout are those who should to be scared.

    Paul C Nwabuikwu

    Special
    Adviser to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance

  • Uzoma Ngozi

    You can tell temporary lies, but you cannot afford to keep the truth away from the public. The truth will someday be revealed to all and everything will be brought to light. Okonjo Iweala has started the process already.

  • Uzoma Ngozi

    I’m disappointed that Oshomole can desend to a level where he propagates lies. Blaming a competent minister like okonjo only shows what Oshomole holds as values. He will rather blame the innocent to score cheap political points and make the country remain in a state of confusion. Okonjo Iweala transparency and commitment will not be shaken because her passion for the Nigeria state is more than the lies that Oshomole can propagate.

  • Uzoma Ngozi

    FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE

    News Release. May 28, 2015

    OSHIOMHOLE’S BASELESS DIATRIBE AGAINST OKONJO-IWEALA

    It is no surprise that a few days after the Federal Ministry of Finance published the details of what the Federal and State governments received from the Excess Crude Account over the past four years, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has launched an attack against the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. His article “Economy: Okonjo-Iweala’s hidden figures” is full of gaping holes, both in facts and logic.

    Obviously, for daring to publish how the ECA was shared and showing that governors who cannot pay salaries have no excuses, Okonjo-Iweala is being targeted. It is noteworthy that several of their colleagues have been able to manage their finances reasonably well under these same difficult circumstances.

    The release of the ECA details has also demonstrated very clearly that there is no substance in the wild allegations that any money is missing from the account or that finances of the country under Okonjo-Iweala watch have not been well managed.

    Like previous baseless allegations by some Governors, the motive behind Oshiomhole’s attack is clear: to deflect public attention away from the manner in which they have run the finances of their states and make Okonjo-Iweala the scapegoat. If it was meant to intimidate the Minister, it has failed abysmally.

    How can Governor Oshiomhole claim that state governors were not properly briefed on the status of the ECA when his commissioner of finance attends all the FAAC meetings where decisions are taken and communicated to the nation?

    This diversionary tactic will not succeed because Nigerians are too smart to buy into this fiction. Secondly, the Finance Ministry under Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister who started the practice of publishing details of allocations from the Federation Account to all the three tiers of government, has regularly furnished Nigerians with information on the country’s finances.

    Governor Oshiomhole’s statement that Okonjo-Iweala “must disclose to the nation the full details of subsidy payments made to oil marketers in the last four years” is therefore astonishing given the fact that EVERY payment made to the marketers has been published in the media and widely disseminated through all news channels.

    Oshiomhole’s allegation that Okonjo-Iweala has not been transparent is ridiculous and totally lacking in merit. Apart from the monthly publication of allocations to the federal, state and local governments, the Federal Ministry of Finance under Okonjo-Iweala also publishes SURE-P receipts and distribution to different tiers, details of payments to oil marketers and other information.

    Has Governor Oshiomhole demonstrated the same level of openness in his management of the affairs of Edo State? Can Oshiomhole also go public with ALL the information showing what he has received from various sources and the uses to which he has deployed them?

    Equally incomprehensible – for a supposedly smart Governor – is Oshiomhole’s claim that the CME has “just woken up from her slumber to realize that oil marketers have been all along falsifying subsidy claims and defrauding the nation of billions of Naira”. This statement underscores the extent to which he is willing to go in his desperation to tar Okonjo-Iweala. When she returned as Finance Minister in 2011, the outstanding fuel subsidy bill was about N1.3 trillion. It was the work done on subsidy fraud by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee which the Minister set up, later elevated into a presidential panel that determined that over N300 billion of the amount was fraudulent. This eventually led to the prosecution of some persons for subsidy fraud and reduction of the annual subsidy budget to N791 billion, saving the country over a trillion naira in the process. Maybe it is His Excellency who was snoring while this was going on. Such baseless posturing only serves to diminish the credibility of Oshiomhole in the minds of objective Nigerians.

    For the record, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has no apologies for insisting that a claim of N159 billion for forex differentials by the marketers out of a total bill of N200 billion should go through an additional verification process. When 80% of a subsidy claim is made up of forex differentials and not the value of the amount of fuel supplied, the right and proper thing to do is to take extra steps to ensure that the country is not being cheated. That is what Okonjo-Iweala did.

    Oshiomhole’s allegation that the Minister is involved in “an unholy alliance” with government agencies and the marketers is therefore manifestly untrue and totally irresponsible. How can a minister against whom the oil marketers have conducted a very public campaign of calumny be in league with them? A decent public official should not make such scurrilous and unsubstantiated statements.

    The most laughable part of Oshiomhole’s article is the claim that Okonjo-Iweala has been speaking out lately because of the “fear of Buhari”. Nigerians know this is ridiculous. If there is any minister whose voice has been strong on the right issues over the past four years it is Okonjo-Iweala. Okonjo-Iweala combines a stalwart integrity, a mastery of her mandate and the courage of her convictions. She therefore has no reason to fear. Those who cannot adequately explain what they did with the resources of their states and are begging for bailout are those who should to be scared.

  • Muyi

    Oshiomole’s arguments are watery. It is clear that the
    release of the ECA details has demonstrated to the world that there is no
    substance in the wild allegations that any money is missing from the Excess
    Crude account or that finances of the country under Okonjo-Iweala watch have
    not been well managed. All the noise was just to get attention off the
    governors.r

  • Muyi

    Oshiomole, don’t teach me nonsense!

  • Muyi

    Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has
    no apologies for insisting that a claim of N159 billion for forex differentials
    by the marketers out of a total bill of N200 billion should go through an
    additional verification process. When 80% of a subsidy claim is made up of
    forex differentials and not the value of the amount of fuel supplied, the right
    and proper thing to do is to take extra steps to ensure that the country is not
    being cheated. That is what Okonjo-Iweala did.

  • Muyi

    Oshiomhole’s
    allegation that the Minister is involved in “an unholy alliance” with
    government agencies and the marketers is therefore manifestly untrue and
    totally irresponsible. How can a minister against whom the oil marketers have
    conducted a very public campaign of calumny be in league with them? A decent
    public official should not make such scurrilous and unsubstantiated statements.