Renowned economist and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on Sunday alleged that over N30tn had been stolen under the watch of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Soludo, in a 10-page response to Okonjo-Iweala’s rebuttal of his earlier criticism of the management of the Nigerian economy under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, said the nation was in for a very turbulent time this year because the economy had been grossly mismanaged.
The Federal Government had last Wednesday described the five-year tenure of Soludo as the governor of the CBN between 2004 and 2009 as a disaster to the banking sector.
The comment came on the heels of an earlier article by Soludo last Monday in which he claimed that the Nigerian economy under Jonathan had performed woefully.
Okonjo-Iweala had in a statement on Wednesday described Soludo’s as an “embittered loser in the Nigerian political space.”
But Soludo, in his new article, which was made available on Sunday, said if the prices of crude oil in the international market failed to rebound, Nigeria would face an unprecedented level of economic crisis with horrible attendant hardships for the citizenry.
“Our public finance is haemorrhaging to the point that estimated over N30tn is missing, or stolen, or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged,” the former CBN governor stressed.
In the piece entitled, ‘Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the missing trillions’, Soludo said the sharp decline in the naira-dollar exchange rate from 158 a few months ago to 215 currently showed that trouble was already at the doorstep.
He added that “unless oil price recovers, this is just the beginning,” adding, “For the sake of Nigeria, I won’t keep quiet anymore!”
The former CBN boss said his earlier article was written out of concern that the 2015 election campaigns were being conducted in a manner that did not show that the economy was in a crisis.
“Part of my frustration is that five years after, everything I warned about has come to happen and we are conducting our campaigns as if we are not in a crisis. As a concerned Nigerian, I have a duty to speak out again,” he said.
Soludo, who gave the details of the N30tn allegedly stolen under Okonjo-Iweala’s watch, said, “Under you as the Minister of Finance and coordinator of the economy, the basket of our national treasury is leaking profusely from all sides. Just a few illustrations! First, you admit that ‘oil theft’ has reduced oil output from the average 2.3 – 2.4 million barrels per day to 1.95 mpd (meaning that at least 350,000 to 450,000 barrels per day are being ‘stolen’). On the average of 400,000 per day and the oil prices over the past four years, it comes to about $60bn ‘stolen’ in just four years.
Read Mr. Soludo’s full article >>>> Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Missing Trillions (1), By Chukwuma Charles Soludo