Nigeria: Treasury Not Empty – Ex-Minister

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Nigeria: Treasury Not Empty - Ex-Minister

President Buhari on Monday June 22 2015 told state house correspondents that he met an almost empty treasury. By this statement, he clearly insinuated that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan emptied the treasury before leaving office. Responding to this statement, former Minister and Deputy Chairman National Planning Commission, Dr. Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman said this statement is false.

According to Dr Sulaiman, the government of President Jonathan left behind about $2 billion as at May 29 2015. He stated that this figure would have been more if not for the insistence of the governors to share the funds. He described the President’s statement as “unscientific and unfair.”

Dr Sulaiman went ahead to list where government had funds. He listed the excess crude account, the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the regular money generating machinery of government. He wondered if by any means the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had not been generating revenue in the last month.

Dr Sulaiman insisted that the past government left a cumulative sum of almost $30 billion behind and therefore said that “It will be misleading therefore for our respected President Muhammadu Buhari and indeed the ruling APC to claim to have met an empty treasury.”

Warning against painting President Jonathan as a plunderer of the economy, he pointed out that “upon inception of Jonathan’s administration, it is on record that the price of oil at the global stage was over $100 per barrel and at the close of the administration, it dropped to $46. Yet, there wasn’t collapse of government and federal civil servants were paid as at when due.”

President Buhari has pleaded with the media to help the government before people begin to take to the streets to protest. He said his government met a huge debt which may hamper their operations. Looking at Dr Sulaiman’s claims, Nigerians will want to get a definite response on the state of the excess crude account and the sovereign wealth fund. If also the treasury indeed was empty or near empty, were the oil marketers paid to make fuel available? If they were paid, how much were they paid and where was the money gotten from.

It is time for the new government to stop complaining about the difficulty of the job. These difficulties were clearly evident before they decided they could do a better job. Nigerians have voted them and Nigerians expect a better job to be down and not continuous complaints of the ills of the past government.

Source: Vanguard

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