by Stanley Azuakola
During last Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, it was the turn of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to address the council. When she spoke, the words that came out of her mouth were the kind which administration officials have consistently tried to turn a deaf ear to.
She alerted council members of the possibility of an economic recession in the country based on the happenings in the global economy. Her message was clear and direct: if government does not shun wastefulness in its management of the nation’s resources, the consequences could be deadly.
Okonjo-Iweala reminded council that oil prices are sliding downwards in the international market and if caution is not applied, the recession could hit Nigeria badly.
She had some good news for Nigerian however. Her ministry was aware of the various scenarios and is seriously preparing towards lessening the likely effects of a global recession on the Nigerian economy.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, disclosed details of the Finance Minister’s presentation to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.
According to him, “The Minister of Finance briefed the Council about the global economic environment and generally, council was told that there were some difficult moments out there in the international economy, particularly because of the crises in Greece and Spain.
“She said the crises had begun to impact on the global economy and one of the things we were informed by the minister was that we noticed some downward slide in oil prices in recent weeks. The Minister of Finance told us to buckle up and ensure proper management of available resources to prepare Nigeria in case there is any recession.”
Labaran Maku however, still attempted to include his own spin on the minister’s brief. He said, “We are not expecting one [a recession]; you know that during the last financial meltdown, which crippled most developed economies with negative impacts on developing countries, Nigeria was able to weather through because we were prepared…Presently, we have no problem in terms of our finance management.”
Someone doesn’t get it.