Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, has accused the minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, of engaging in last minute policy activism to save her from the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
In a detailed article titled: ‘Economy: Okonjo-Iweala’s Hidden Figures’ , published on Sahara Reporters, the governor faulted the minister of finance for mismanaging the country’s economy.
He queried why she waited for the dying hours to disclose to Nigerians that a cabal in the oil sector is holding the country and the government to ransom. He insinuated that her belated revelations were hypocritical and dubious.
He added that her last minutes exposures that oil marketers, were making fraudulent claims amounting to billions of Naira was synonymous to shedding crocodile tears.
“At what point did the Minister of Finance and CME realize that these fraudulent and similar claims are going on? When did it start? Is it just recently or it has been going on all along? These questions are pertinent because we know that if the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) were doing its work diligently, all claims by oil marketers would be vetted on a daily basis before the Ministry of Finance processes their payments. Hence, there should be no dispute about the amount due to oil marketers at any point in time,” she said.
Oshiomhole mandated that the minister disclose to the nation the full details of the subsidy payments made to oil marketers in the last four years, including the parameters used to calculate the subsidies.
On the Excess Crude Account (ECA), Oshiomhole also indicted Okonjo-Iweala for squandering the funds without accounting for her actions.
The governor said that in December 2012, the ECA had a balance of over $10 billion, but that figure had depleted to $2.07 billion as at May 2015.
“This prompted me to ask a very pertinent question: if the closing balance of the ECA as at December 2012 was over $10 billion and that for three years running Nigeria’s budget have been based on the average of between $77 and $79 benchmark while the average price of Nigeria’s crude has been $108 per barrel, suggesting an average of about $30 per barrel, how come that there was no accretion to the ECA? Indeed, based on a rough estimate, we should be expecting not less than $30 billion accretion based on the official oil exports of 2.3 million barrels per day,” he said.
The comrade governor wondered why Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, as Minister of Finance was borrowing to pay salaries of federal employees, when the government of Edo State pays salaries as and when due without borrowing.
He urged the minister to swallow her pride and admit that her tenure as Minister of Finance was a total disaster and colossal failure as far as economic management is concerned.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who doubles as the minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy has come under intense criticism over
the state of the country’s economy.
In February 2015, former governor of the central bank of Nigeria, Chukwuma Soludo, alleged that at least N30 trillion of Nigerian money has either been stolen, diverted or unaccounted for in the last few years under the minister’s watch.