The country’s prestigious Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said and believes that Nigeria is going through change this year and also a turning point will be met for the people and the country itself.
The minister, who was on the Christiane Amanpour current affairs programme, which aired on CNN Tuesday, revealed that the President Goodluck Jonathan transformation campaign was going to produce results this year, even as she pointed out: “We are already producing results within the administration.”
The honourable Minister added: “On the economic side, I just want to say that macroeconomic stability has been restored. Now, nobody should minimise that.
“Remember there were the lost two decades in Africa, in the 80s and 90s, where there was instability such that people could not focus on areas that could create jobs.
“Now things are turning right because we had growth of 6.5 per cent last year and we are projecting the same number this year, compared to the average five per cent in other African countries.”
She however admitted the growth figure was intangible considering the fact of the huge number of insecured average Nigerians seeking for jobs and other challenges in the country.
“But I just want to add that when you mention GDP growth in my country, people will immediately say you can’t eat growth because we have challenges of unemployment, we need to create more jobs; we also have challenges of inclusion and there are problems of inequality, all those are challenges we face,” she said.
Okonjo also felt the need to call for the cooperation of the international community so that Nigeria could properly fight and surpass the rising spate of oil theft.
Okonjo-Iweala then gave the country’s stolen oil in a day to be 150,000 barrels and sincerely showed her disappointment over the short of revenue to the nation caused by this action.
According to her, “We are still a poor country, we cannot afford any leakage. Mexico and Nigeria have this problem but that of Mexico is much smaller.
“But we also need international community to get involved. We have international people who buy this stolen oil and we need them to treat it as stolen crude just like you do with blood diamonds so that those people don’t have a market to sell the stolen oil.”
Responding to a question on corruption, Okonjo-Iweala admitted to Nigerians vast eating corruption problem but also made it clear that not all are rotten and this problem appears in so many other countries.
“I don’t like the fact that when people mention Nigeria, the next thing they say is corruption. This is a country of 170 million people and 99.9 per cent of them are honest, hard working citizens who just want to get on with their lives and they want a government that delivers for them.
“We lack institutions, we lack processes. What President Jonathan has done is to call the judiciary, legislature and executive for the first time and say this is not about government but about all of us. The judicial process has to be strengthened,” she added.