By Augustine Adah / Senior Correspondent
The Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Comrade Debo Adeniran, has described the promise of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that Nigeria is ready for the worst as an empty promise that Nigerians cannot relied on.
“We cannot rely on Okonjo-Iweala because this is not the first or second time they have made such promise which they could not keep. Look at the Sure-P which they promised would be used to cushion the effect of oil price increase, ” he said.
“Adeniran said the action of the Federal Government fell below expectation because in the midst of the falling price of oil at the international market, the government is supposed to reduce the price of petroleum products at the local market.
He stated that as long as the government did not do that, the ordinary Nigerians would continue to bear the brunt of the falling oil price and the naira exchange rate, adding; “When they increased the prices of petroleum products, they made us to understand that it was done because of the rising price of crude oil at the international market, now that the price is tumbling, they should reduce the prices.”
Adeniran expressed disappointment with the decision of government to increase tariffs on luxury items without doing anything to cut down the cost of governance in the country.
“I expected the government to announce a reduction in allowances and other benefits of political office holders, but as long as that is not done, every other measure would be counter-productive,”
He advised the government to adopt a national ideology as introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo during the time as military head of state. The policy, according to Adeniran, helped to regulate the number of cars and other luxury items that public officers enjoyed.
He described the recent introduction of austerity measure as hypocritical because the President alone is currently enjoying about 10 aircrafts.
“I don’t expect that the president of the country should have about 10 fleets of aero planes and the same government is of talking of austerity measure,” he said.
But the national president of Aka Ikenga, Barrister Goddy Uwazulike, described Okonjo-Iweala as a dependable expert whose ideas and suggestions are capable of turning the economy around. He said Nigeria should count herself lucky to have somebody like her in government at this time.
“She had served the World Bank. During Obasanjo’s government when she was the minister of finance, Nigeria was able to enjoy debt forgiveness,” he said.