Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is not happy about former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo’s article in which he declared that President Jonathan and APC presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari are both incapable of handling the country’s economy.
Okonjo-Iweala has expressed her displeasure by penning a response to Soludo’s article, in which she calls him an embittered loser in Nigeria’s political arena and dismisses all the criticisms he made about Jonathan’s administration.
Here are excerpts from her response, titled Beyond Belief: Soludo’s Self-Serving Article on Economic Management is Deficit in Facts, Logic, and Honour:
For anyone who has not read Professor Charles Soludo’s article on January 25 2015, I would encourage them to do so. It is littered with abusive and unbecoming language. It shows how an embittered loser in the Nigerian political space can get so derailed that they commit intellectual harakiri by deliberately misquoting economic facts and maliciously turning statistics on their head to justify a hatchet job.
We hope all the intellectuals in the international circles, in which Professor Soludo has told us he flies around in, will read what a Professor of Economics has chosen to do with his intellect.
In this one article, Soludo has shamelessly pandered to so many past leaders that Nigerians are asking one more time – what position is Soludo gunning for now? He claims in his article that he has had his own share of public service, yet he has failed twice in his attempts to be Governor of Anambra State and Vice Presidential candidate of various parties. There is definitely an issue of character with Prof. Charles Soludo and his desperate search for power and relevance in Nigeria. Nigerians should therefore beware of so-called intellectuals without character and wisdom because this combination is fatal.
But let us turn to the main subject of Soludo’s discourse. So much of what is written is outright nonsense and self-seeking aggrandizement that need not be dignified with a response. It is totally remarkable that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the man who presided over the worst mismanagement of Nigeria’s banking sector as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria between May 2004 and May 2009, can write about the mismanagement of the economy.
Nigerians must be reminded of his antecedents as CBN Governor, and even prior to that, as the Chief Economic Adviser to the President.
The consolidation of the banking sector was a good policy idea of the Obasanjo Administration, but Soludo went on to thoroughly mismanage its implementation leading to the worst financial crisis in Nigeria’s history. So what did Soludo do?
After consolidation, the regulatory functions of the Soludo-led CBN were very poorly exercised. As Governor, he failed to adequately supervise and regulate the now larger banks – an anomaly in Financial Sector Supervision.
In fact as every Nigerian knows, in his time there was very little separation between the regulators and the regulated, which is a violation of a key requirement of Central Banking success. This led to infractions in corporate governance in many banks as loans and other credit instruments running to hundreds of billions of naira were extended to clients without following due process, and several of these loans could not be paid back. This massive accumulation of bad debts, or non-performing loans as they are called in the banking sector, meant that our banks were ill-positioned to deal with the global financial crisis when it hit.
In fact, the banking sector was brought to its knees and required a massive bailout by Nigerian tax payers.
This bailout was done by his successor (now Emir of Kano), who cleaned up all the bad debts and transferred them to the newly-established AMCON (Asset Management Company of Nigeria), from where they are managed today.
So let it be noted for the record books that Soludo’s single-handed mismanagement of the banking sector led to an incredible accumulation of liabilities that will cost tax payers about N5.67 trillion (being the total face value of AMCON-issued bonds) to clean up.
Let it be noted also that this amount, which is more than the entire Federal Government 2015 Budget, constitutes the bulk of Nigeria’s “contingent liabilities” mentioned in Soludo’s article.
It is only in Nigeria where someone who perpetrated such a colossal economic atrocity would have the temerity to make assertions on public debt and the management of the economy.
Let us now look at some of the points he makes. Luckily, Soludo has told us that he has been busy travelling internationally, hobnobbing with his global partners.
It is obvious from this article that from the rarefied heights at which he is flying he is completely out of touch with what is happening with the management of this economy.
Take his comments on the mismanagement of the economy and the imposition of the austerity measures. The present fall in oil prices, a global phenomenon over which Nigeria has no control, has given every charlatan the opportunity to attack the economy, and by extension the managers of the economy…
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