The Economist: Tough times ahead for Okonjo-Iweala

Fiance minister lacking support on her return

It has been an exciting couple of months for Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-iweala. She has spent the time traversing the globe and chasing history, hoping—and failing—to be the first ever non-American to head up the World Bank Group. The Economist assesses the mounting hurdles Okonjo-Iweala still faces as she returns to take up the reigns amidst active resistance from those within and outside the government

She is “back to the day job”, and grappling with the monumental task of hacking through the jungle that is Nigeria’s convoluted economy. And the reception of her return is less than welcoming with the financial magazine saying, “…at home her bid for the Washington job has not helped her. Long distrusted as a supposed outsider by some in Nigeria, even though she was born there, Ms Okonjo-Iweala now faces gibes that she wants to flee.”

The Economist goes on to mention the $7 billion lost from the country’s budget over two years (2009 – 2011); the stalled bill to deal with corruption in the oil industry; postponed price hikes in the much delayed privatisation of the country’s power sector; and even problems with implementing the sovereign-wealth fund platform—all of which have to be dealt with little or no support from governors, of whom the piece says, “Faced with losing this cash, much of which flows into private and political coffers, state governors have been obstructing the finance minister.”

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