The Presidency has hit back at claims by former President Goodluck Jonathan that the current administration has made things very hard for Nigerians.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in a statement released on monday in the face of such claims said the Goodluck administration handed over an economy which had undergone severe corruption and mismanagement.
In his statement, he said, “It is understandable that Dr Jonathan kept his comments short, because a cursory look at any sector clearly indicated that he and his government presided over the most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement recorded in our national history.
“The oil sector boomed under his tenure, with oil prices as high as 120 dollars and peace in the Nigeria Delta. Nigeria earned unprecedented dollar revenues. Sadly, that is where the story turns sour.
“There is nothing to show for the revenues earned; no major capital project was completed, neither power generation, road development, rail nor agriculture benefited from the windfall earnings.
“Rather, the administration presided over the diversion of oil revenues on such a massive scale that even without the protection now accorded to Whistle blowers, the then Central Bank Governor blew not only a whistle but a trumpet.
“He was hurriedly shown the door.”
Shehu further accused the previous administration of extreme profligacy saying, “Indeed the President once celebrated having the largest number of private jets, whilst our youths languished without jobs, our fields stood idle and our factories began the layoff of workers.
“Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries.
“This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy. Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing.”
Garba said, the ecomony was such that when the President Buhari’s administration came in, it was left with the task of facing serious economic challenges from the oil majors, which included the demand for six billion dollars owed by Nigeria for oil that had already been sold or stolen.
He also said that 21 states could not pay salaries when they came in, with huge arrears thus piling up.
Going further, he said “To compound the problem, the government was borrowing heavily and owed contractors and international oil companies.”
According to Garba, “If PDP were still in power, they would have continued deceiving people, by borrowing to fund, stealing and wastage and the problem would have simply been postponed for future generations to face.”
The government spokesman also criticised former President Jonathan’s specific boasts that dollar under him was N180 compared to today, sayin “With such a line of argument, it is clear why we are where we are.
“With oil prices as high as 120 dollars, the average inflow of dollars each month was high, making it easy to support cheap dollars.
“However, with oil price plummeting as low as 28 dollars, the fundamental laws of supply and demand dictated that the currency would need to adjust, since oil was the sole export.
Garba however said, the current administration was determined to do things that would turn around the economy of the nation positively. In his statement he said, the current government had blocked leakages and had embarked on an anti-corruption campaign to cleanse the system of the errors of the last administration.
He said the government was also encouraging states to reform their spending and build savings or investments.
Shehu disclosed that the government had also increased spending on capital projects, especially on infrastructure needed to make Nigerian businesses competitive and create jobs.
He said that government had blocked the leakages that allowed its revenues to be siphoned into private hands while focusing on key sectors ( apart from oil) that could create jobs and or generate revenue such as agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.
He said if these steps had been taken by the Goodluck government. “We would not be suffering now”