You’re taking Nigerians for granted – Reps tell Okonjo-Iweala

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Saturday said the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was taking Nigerians for granted.

The committee said this in a statement by its clerk, Farouk Mustapha, in response to comments credited to Okonjo-Iweala that she would need time to respond to the 50 questions given to her by the committee.

The relationship between the minister and the committee turned sour last month when she was given the 50 questions to answer.

But on Saturday, the committee said it was awaiting the minister’s response to the questions. “We view this as a welcome development as it denotes a vindication of the decision we took when she appeared before the committee on December 19, 2013. The committee knew that she would need time to answer the questions.

“The minister appears to be taking the memories of Nigerians for granted. This was the minister who walked into the meeting with the committee and drew everyone’s sympathy the moment she feebly announced that she was not feeling well.”

The committee stated that it was  curious then that when the minister was not feeling well she was prepared to address 50 questions in a session that was to last just about two hours.

It said now that she was fully fit, hale and hearty, she was saying she  would need more time.

The committee stated, “It is regrettable that while talking to reporters after the presentation of the report of the 15-year strategic partnership on debt management between UK and Nigeria, the minister accused critics of the huge domestic debt profile under her stewardship of lacking information.

“Interestingly, that is why the committee  invited her to share such information with Nigerians. It would also be an opportunity to let her know some of the things we know.”

According to the committee, the DFID whose collaboration with Nigeria she is so enthusiastic about has published a report on the 2014 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

The lawmakers said it was high time the minister realised that Nigeria did not need any other country to “tell us that our economy is doing well, the least of which is Great Britain with its deep economic problems and huge domestic debt profile. Nigerians will positively feel the impact if their economy is really doing well as the minister claims.”

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