A former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, has faulted the claim made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, that the money left behind by the administration of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan could not last for three weeks.
Amaechi had made the statement when he appeared on Channels Television’s programme titled, ‘Hard Copy’.
Osita Chidoka said, “As former chairman of the governors’ forum, I was told by the security in a meeting chaired by the former President, including the former minister of finance, that at every point in time, the government must leave money behind in case Nigeria goes to war that would last for six months. By the time we came, they didn’t leave money behind that could last us for three weeks. And I was speaking at that time as the chairman of the governors’ forum.”
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Reacting, Osita Chidoka who served as a minister under Jonathan said Amaechi’s comment is rather unfortunate and not supported by facts readily available in the public domain.”
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Osita Chidoka said this in a statement titled ‘Gov. Amaechi’s Statement on 2015 Foreign Reserve: Setting the Records Straight.’
Osita Chidoka said, “As a member of the Federal Executive Council that handed over to the current administration, I am disturbed that this urban myth of “empty treasury” is still the subject of conversation by a senior government member.
“Also, I am confused about what the Honourable Minister means when he says, “By the time we came in,” as he was not appointed minister until six months after the May 29 Handover. Since he was not a minister on the handover date, it may be pertinent to present him with the facts again.
“On May 29, 2015, President Buhari inherited a foreign reserve of $28.6 billion, according to official data still present on the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as $5.6 billion Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited dividends. Also, a 2015 budget of over 4 trillion Naira was handed over to the incoming administration by the outgoing Jonathan government.
“Furthermore, the Jonathan administration left a total of $2.2 billion in the Excess Crude Account on May 29, 2015. (As verified by the Ministry of Finance both by the immediate past minister and the incumbent).
“To further create context, I would like the Minister of Transport to note the country’s economic indices after 1849 days of President Jonathan’s Presidency from May 06 2010, the date he took over from President Umaru Yar’Adua to the Handover date of May 29, 2015.
“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari inherited an economy that, by the testimony of the World Investment Report, prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Africa. In the five years of President Jonathan, Direct Foreign Investment stood at about 35.25 Billion Dollars. You can compare this to the 11.55 Billion Dollars Direct Foreign Investment received from 2016 to 2020.
“The Jonathan administration handed over a $550 billion economy (largest in Africa and 26th globally) and a diversified economy. On May 29, 2015, President Jonathan left behind an economy with a stable currency, where the Naira exchanged for N199 to $1, and Nigeria had a single-digit inflation rate. Today, after 2,406 days of the current administration, the headline inflation rate hovers above 15 per cent.
“Under President Jonathan, the unemployment rate stood at 7.5 per cent (better than European Union) today. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, six and half years after Governor Amaechi’s government came in, unemployment is 33 per cent.
“Before the government came in, Nigeria’s poverty rate was 32 per cent as of May 2015. We need not compare it against 71 per cent today after 78 months of President Buhari’s administration.”Osita Chidoka said
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