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Presidency trade blame with Moghalu over state of nation’s economy

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and
Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, and a former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of
Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu have locked horns over the state of the nation’s
economy under the administrations of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC
and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

 

Moghalu had claimed in a series of tweets via his X handle
on Wednesday that the nation’s economic state, which had experienced a downward
trajectory in the past 40 years, only saw the light of the day “briefly” under
the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

Moghalu added that the improved economy was also observed
during subsequent PDP-led governments of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, and Goodluck
Jonathan.

 

The former CBN deputy governor, who served from 2009 to
2014, added that from 2015 till date, Nigeria has fallen under a “completely
incompetent economic management.”

 

The tweet reads, “Nigeria’s economic distress is simply part
of a 40-year downward trajectory that was broken only briefly by the Obasanjo
civilian presidency and to some degree under Yar’Adua/Jonathan (up to
mid-2014). Ever since, especially from 2015, we fell under completely
incompetent economic management and have not recovered.”

 

The political economist called on the Federal Government to
lay a “real foundation for longer-term economic transformation,” while stating
that “80% of Nigeria’s exports in 2023 was oil tells you we have yet to get
serious.”

 

Moghalu noted that the presidential palliatives initiative
is not a good economic tool to curb poverty, and consequently improve wealth
distribution.

 

“Palliatives (just google the dictionary definition of the
word) will never reverse poverty. Wealth is positively created,” he stated.

 

Moghalu, a former presidential candidate of the Young
Progressives, also criticised the appointments of the nation’s economic
management team.

 

He said, “Real economic thinking is not happening, so
economic transformation can’t follow. Like it or not, individuals in certain
positions matter. Sanusi and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala made a huge difference in
their roles.

 

“That’s because they had capacity. Their appointments went
above politics of cronyism. The results, which is what matters more than sound
and fury at the end of the day, followed.”

 

The tweet concluded, “May we recover one day. Like it or
not, appointments have real consequences.”

 

In a reaction to the Moghalu’s tweets, President Bola
Tinubu’s aide, Ajayi, noted that the Obasanjo-led administration from 1999-2007
truly paved the way for some economic reforms, yet “Nigeria didn’t see any
progress in infrastructural development” that would have a “direct bearing on
the quality of life.”

 

Ajayi wondered how Moghalu and some others claimed that
their era in government was the “golden era of competence” in the nation’s
economic management.

 

Ajayi lamented how Moghalu and his former principal, Sanusi,
at the CBN, couldn’t explain the whereabouts of the missing $20 billion in oil
revenue, adding that “hundreds of millions of dollars were looted under various
guises yet Moghalu wants us to believe that that period was the gold standard
in economic management in Nigeria.”

 

“That period till 2015 was a period of trillions of unpaid
salary and pension arrears. A period when contractors were owed hundreds of
billions with thousands of abandoned and uncompleted projects,” Ajayi stated.

 

Ajayi also noted that since 2015, the nation enjoyed key
reforms and changes under the ruling APC government, part of which were the
payments of owed salaries and pensions, “massive investments in critical
economic infrastructure,” and the “reconstruction of 13,000 kilometres of roads
across the country out of 33,000 kilometres of Federal roads in 8 years of
President Buhari.”

 

The presidential aide claimed that during the handover of
government from Jonathan to the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, on
May 29, 2015, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product “declined from 7% growth rate to
2% and Nigeria was already primed for recession which eventually happened with
collapse of crude oil price.”

 

“It should be said too that every indices of measuring
economic growth significantly declined from 2010- May 2015, a period when
Moghalu was Deputy Governor at CBN,” he added.

 

Ajayi lamented that Nigeria’s foreign reserve dropped about
52 per cent “from the height of $60 billion to $29 billion when Moghalu was
part of the ‘competent leaders’ in government and Excess Crude Account dropped
from $20 billion to $2 billion at the time crude oil sold for $100 per barrel
for straight 4years from 2011-2014.

 

“The period between 2010-2014 was when Nigeria made most
money from crude oil in history yet nothing to show for it.”

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