CITING misinformation, the Federal Government at the weekend debunked the allegation made by the former Vice-President World Bank, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, that the Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan administrations squandered the $67 billion reserves (including $45 billion in external and $22 billion in the excess crude account) left behind by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ezekwesili has charged Nigerians not to be afraid to demand
accountability and good governance. She said good governance increases
service delivery and provides strong leadership, adding that governance
was considered to be okay when it was free from corruption and
accountable to the people.
Ezekwesili was said to have made the allegation at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) convocation on January 24, 2013.
reporters in Abuja Sunday, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku,
faulted Ezekwesili’s claims, stressing that it lacked facts.
minister explained that since President Obasanjo left office, the
nation’s reserves had risen and fallen, adding that the fluctuations was
as a result of the global financial crisis.
Maku queried the
former World Bank Vice-president on N352.3 billion she collected when
she was the former Minister of Education and other educational
interventional fund asking on what impact it had on education during her
He stressed that despite the challenges faced by the
current administration, there was the need for people to acknowledge
Maku added: “The recent statements by
Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili at the UNN’s convocation ceremony on January
24, 2013, betray a surprisingly limited understanding of government
finances. These statements are even more curious in light of the fact
that she held senior positions in government, and more recently, a
position as a vice president of World Bank. However, rather than
speculate about her motives, we would focus on the facts.
statement by the former World Bank Vice President that Presidents
Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan squandered $67 billion in reserves
(including $45 billion in external and $22 billion in the excess crude
account) left by Obasanjo administration at the end of May 2007 is
factually incorrect. At the end of May 2007, Nigeria’s gross reserves
stood at $43.13 billion – comprising the CBN’s external reserves of
$31.5 billion, $9.43 billion in the Excess Crude Account, and $2.18
billion in the Federal Government’s saving. These figures can be
independently verified from the CBN’s records. The figure of $67 billion
alleged in her statement is therefore clearly fictitious “However,
since President Obasanjo left office, the reserves have experienced
fluctuations, rising from $43.13 billion in May 2007, peaking at $62
billion in September 2008 during the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration
when oil prices peaked at $147 per barrel, and falling subsequently to a
low $31.7 in September 2011. This fall in reserves was a result of the
vicissitudes of the global financial crisis, which caused CBN
interventions in the currency market to defend the value of the naira.
The excess crude savings, a component of the reserves, was also used to
stimulate the economy at the height of the global financial crisis to
the tune of about $1 billion (or 0.5 per cent of our 2009 GDP). As a
result, Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that did not
seek assistance from international financial institutions. It should be
noted that the fiscal stimulus used to shore up the economy during that
period was shared by all three-tiers of government, including
commitments of about $5.5 billion made under the Obasanjo administration
for power projects.”