Greedy Nigerian governors are responsible for the country’s current problems in the face of falling crude oil prices, ex Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala has stated.
In an interview with Le Monde, the 61-year-old economist said “some economists are very concerned for Nigeria, which could greatly suffer from the fall in oil prices. Others say the contrary, that its economy is strong enough to turn the corner.
“Both are right. But one thing saddens me. When I was finance minister the first time, the volatility of oil prices, and therefore state resources, cost at least three points of growth in the country.
“We then established a stabilisation mechanism and opened an account for the oil surplus, which posted up to $22 billion. In 2008, when prices fell from 148 to $38 a barrel, no one has heard of Nigeria because the country was able to tap into this fund. And that, I am very proud [of].
“When I returned to the department in 2011, there remained only $4 billion on this account while the price of oil was very high! I tried again to put money aside. The president agreed, but the governors did not accept.
“I suffered a lot of attacks from them and now that the country would really need this account, these same people accuse me of not having saved. If Nigeria had been more careful, we would not be here today. It hurts me. We have the mechanism, we had the experience, but we were prevented to act.”