With the recent back-slapping at Abuja by President Jonathan, retired Colonel David Mark of Nigeria’s Senate, Dr. Okonjo Iweala and the IMF’s Ms. Christine Lagarde, it smacks of taking Nigerians for a big ugly spin on the direction the economy is headed. Iweala praises Lagarde “for her role” in getting Nigeria’s loan debt cancelled/settled and wants Nigerians to know that “IMF of today is different from the IMF of yester-years …”!
Those at the helm at the Senate & House asked the IMF boss the request does not show either understands the request they make vis-a-vis the role of the IMF nor even the importance of their positions in the country.
Meanwhile, “the Villa” – to borrow words of a favorite columnist – is working hard at justifying an unjustifiable: a budget of almost US$6 billion for “security vote” with you-are-all-idiots defence.
And Dr. Iweala continues to astound when considered as Nigeria’s rep.
What the hell is going on, Nigeria – AND Nigerians? What does the president mean by “repositioning the economy? Times like these make me wish I have a little depth in Economics. TOLA ADENLE.]
Jonathan meets IMF chief, pledges to reposition Nigeria’s economy
By John Abba Ogbodo, The Guardian, December 20, 2011.
“PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Abuja told the visiting Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, that Nigeria was being repositioned to be a bigger player in the global economy.
The country, according to Jonathan, would fall short of the expectations to be one of the world biggest economies if its economy is not transformed to guarantee greater stability and self-sustainability …”
Why Jonathan needs N921 billion (US $5.9 billion) for “security vote”
By Augustine Ehikioya,
“A GOVERNMENT official has defended the N921 billion proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan for security in the 2012 Budget.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Ahmed Ali Gulak, yesterday said the huge budget is in the best interest of Nigeria.
“Even our development will largely depend on peaceful existence of this country. The Foreign Direct Investment we expect will largely depend on security within the country and, as such, the government should tackle security issues headlong, with all the resources at its disposal so that we have a peaceful country, we have development, we have direct foreign investment …”
‘Nigeria not implementing IMF programme’ – Okonjo-Iweala
The Nation, December 20, 2011. By Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi
Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday said contrary to the belief in many quarters, Nigeria is not implementing any programme initiated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala spoke at the House of Representatives when IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde visited Speaker Aminu Tambuwal.
“IMF of today is different from the IMF of yester-years,” she said.
The minister said Nigeria is now partnering with an understanding institution that is willing to listen and help.
She said:”We set the policies, we set the pace, and they support us to do what it takes for the Nigerian economy. The idea of the IMF coming to tell people what to do no longer happens and so we are happy to partner with this institution.
“The IMF does an article focus consultation in every country. It has over 187 members, including United States, France and all the developed countries. They have the consultation and look at the direction of the economy and see whether we are doing well or we are doing poorly, and what we need to make it better. It is very different from having a programme, and Nigeria does not have an IMF programme. We are working on our own but, like every country, they review us.”
The minister said Ms Lagarde played a pivotal role in getting the country’s debts forgiven by the Paris Club in 2005.
Lagarde accepted that the world body made mistakes in the past by designing conditionalities for countries receiving loans.
“I have to say IMF is a different institution from what I knew many, many years ago. It is a different institution because it was known for lending money and designing conditionality … and imposing programmes. In doing so in the past, it made mistakes.”
Lagarde showered encomiums on Mrs Okonko-Iweala for her role during the negotiation for debt relief from the Paris Club in 2005. “I pay tribute to her resilience and sense of public interest,” she said.
The IMF boss said the body also provides an annual surveillance to member states and meets with representatives of countries to review their performance.
With particular reference to Nigeria, she said such a review will allow the Fund to ascertain the spill-over effect of various policies being implemented in Nigeria, on countries like Niger, Benin, Mali.
“In the same vein, we look at the banking and financial sectors. We are doing that because we realise that there is massive connection between countries. As we’ve seen at the moment, the European crisis is affecting other countries across the globe and no country is actually immune from what is happening there.”
She said many European countries are canvassing for the policy support instrument (PSI), which was implemented in Nigeria many years ago.
Tambuwal urged Lagarde to ensure that the financing instruments of the Fund are more responsive to the needs of African countries.
He said this could be done by “increasing the concessions in the Fund’s lending to low-income countries, in addition to extending the zero-interest rate policy on Fund concessional resources beyond 2012″.
He called for the enhancement of the funding of Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) “through the transfer of a significant portion of the gold sale windfall of SDR 1.7 billion to the Concessional Trust”.
Tambuwal pledged Nigeria’s support for ongoing reforms being undertaken by the Board of Governors of the IMF, including the increased representation of developing countries on the Board of IMF. He requested that Nigeria should be considered for one of the two chairs of the body, “based on our cordial relationship with IMF”.
The Speaker, who described Lagarde’s appointment, as IMF managing director as well-deserved, urged her to support the creation of an additional constituency for Africa at the IMF under the voice and representation reforms.