Jonathan has made a difference, says Okonjo-Iweala
•Lists dangers of casting economy in bad light •Warns against attempt to rewrite history
Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday said that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration would be leaving “some solid economic legacies” for the incoming government.
Despite obvious economic challenges, she described the allegation that the economy is in ruins as absolutely untrue, insisting that significant achievements in several sectors of the economy attest to quality performance.
“We cannot take away the fact that the Jonathan administration in spite of the challenges caused by 50 per cent decline in the price of oil has made a clear and measurable difference in many important areas and anyone who says nothing has been done and nothing is being left behind is being very unfair to facts and to history,” Okonjo-Iweala told broadcast journalists in Abuja.
“Attempts to rewrite history will not stand. You cannot just wipe the slate clean for political reasons. We are not perfect but no one can take away the fact that we are leaving some good legacies behind.”
She listed the Federal Government’s achievements in the last four years to include the agricultural sector, which has seen the rise in food production with attendant positive effect on food prices; “the National Industrial Revolution scheme and the Automotive Policy whose implementation has led to the opening of factories for car manufacturing and assembly for the first time in the country; the impressive rise in the cement production due to positive government policies; Nigeria is now a net exporter of cement and the creation of about 1.4 million jobs a year out of the 1.8m needed.
“Various job creation and job enhancement schemes such as Youwin which has seen the creation of over 27,000 jobs by young entrepreneurs sponsored and trained by government for other youths; the Graduate Internship Scheme; the creation of the NMRC, which is helping to create a mortgage market and is helping to provide affordable housing for Nigerians; the recently launched Development Bank of Nigeria, which will help to achieve strong growth of small businesses by providing SMEs, for the first time in recent memory, affordable interest loans of up to 10 years.”
Other achievements, according to the Finance Minister is support for the creative industries, which has helped to strengthen the capacity of script writers, producers, directors and other professionals in the motion picture industry and led, in turn, to the production of higher quality films, and creation of more jobs.
Okonjo-Iweala also advised politicians and opinion leaders “not to talk down the economy because negative and unfactual comments on the economy can have negative impact the economy, the exchange rate and the stock market and reduced investor confidence.
“These negative and unsubstantiated comments are not wise because they can lead to what we do not want for the economy. There is nothing wrong with factual assessments of the economy; I have always told Nigerians the truth about the economy. But sweeping and negative statements 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.”