Eminent financial expert and previous Presidential competitor, Prof. Pat Utomi has weept over the absence of reason and clear heading of President Muhammadu Buhari’s organization saying this is a noteworthy issue for a nation that is in monetary crisis.
Talking in a visit with Free on Thursday, Utomi, who likewise talked on the Senate’s dismissal of President Buhari’s $30b credit ask for said the administrators acted right by requesting for further clarification on what the cash will be utilized for. He requested that the administration make the points of interest accessible to the legislators.
He said “I don’t know whether the decision of the Senate to reject the request will augur well or not augur well. It is part of a process. Every arm of government has its duty. The duty of the legislator is oversight”.
“If they say they need to be convinced that the money will be well spent in the interest of the people and they need more information, what the executive should do is to provide that information”.
Prior to forming his cabinet, Utomi once told Independent that President Buhari can appoint all his Ministers from one village as long as they can perform. When asked if he still stands by the opinion, he said there is a lack of clarity on where the administration is heading in this period of economic emergency and no one can tell if it is due to the non- performance of the ministers or the top leadership.
“I think that this not really an appropriate time for that question. I think generally, there is a lack of clarity in terms of where the government is going. That is a big problem in an economic emergency but whether it is individual minister or government collectively, or the top leadership, I don’t have enough information to tell” he said.
It will also be recalled that Utomi recently said the current economic crisis would have been avoided by the Federal Government, if proper policy choices were made and that the crash in oil prices was not enough to have resulted in recession.
He had also noted that if government had borrowed money against its assets, devalued early and applied intelligent leadership, Nigeria would not have been at a crossroad now. While taking a retrospective look at most factors that led to recession in Nigeria, he had submitted that the attitude of the present government, in the face of the dwindling oil prices, scared investors away from the country.
His words: ‘’There is what we call the big man hamburger quotient which economists use to evaluate exchange rate. Macdonald hamburger in London is exactly the way it is in New York. How many naira will it take to produce this hamburger in Lagos and how many pounds will it exactly cost to produce it in London? This is what is called the big man hamburger quotient.
“At that time, the difference in Nigeria’s nominal exchange rate was there and because the major revenue was oil, whose prices had gone down, all that an intelligent leadership needed to do was to borrow against some assets, ensure they continue to fund things, use strong determination to make sure people don’t buy more than what they don’t need because that is part of what happened and ensure that there is confidence in the system so that people will know that the people in charge know what they are doing”.
“That would have made people to start transacting normally. But they said how can we devalue? We will not devalue, people who have money and who wanted to bring in money felt that these people are about to make decision that might jeopardise our money tomorrow.
So they didn’t bring it. Even oil companies were not bringing back their receipts and Nigerians who were exporting were not bringing back, so there was a major crisis. Instead of the thing devaluing by 6 percent, it went down to what we are seeing. So it is self-inflicted and quality of leadership.’’
Also speaking, a former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope hailed the Senate for rejecting the president’s request for external borrowing loan.
Babatope, who spoke with Independent, said the request, if granted will not only compound Nigeria’s woes but bring hardship on the future generations of the country.
“I salute the Senate for their stand but I only hope they will be able to sustain it. The PDP- led federal government managed to clear Nigeria’s debt and here the man is asking for $30b loan. What does he need the money for? Granting such request will only compound Nigeria’s woes” he said.