FG details how PDP ruined economy in response to call on Buhari to quit

FG details how PDP ruined economy in response to call on Buhari to quit

Thursday, September 15, 2016 11:13 am

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has slammed the PDP for once again asking President Muhammadu Buhari to quit, calling the former ruling party a shameless irritant which is bent on distracting the government from its rescue mission and returning the country to ”Egypt”.

”We are on a rescue mission to resuscitate Nigeria after the PDP left  it in a coma, and the noise from the same PDP seems designed to  sabotage the rescue efforts. But we are not deterred,” the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement  in Abuja on Thursday.

The Minister said if the PDP had understood the meaning of shame, it  would never have dared to even make a single comment on the same  economy that it did everything to kill.

”While the PDP was emasculating Nigeria on all fronts, including  social, economic and political, the rapacious party was deceiving  Nigerians by giving them the illusion of growth and prosperity.

Instead of showing remorse and rebuilding itself to a strong  opposition party, the PDP has continued to blame the successor Buhari  Administration which is left to pack their mess. PDP undertakers have continued to engage in a blame game, when they should be hiding from the shame they brought upon themselves and the nation,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said what the PDP has consistently put up as a vibrant  economy under its watch was nothing but a bubble that was buoyed by  massive corruption and chronic incompetence, an economy in which  someone without any known means of earned livelihood would boast of  $31.5 million!

”They keep saying we should stop talking of the past, yet the past  will not stop rearing its head. They keep saying we should no longer refer to the past, but how can we forget so soon that our foreign exchange reserves plummeted from $62bn in 2008 to $30bn by 2015, at a time when oil prices were at a historic high, reaching a level of $114  per barrel in 2014. By comparison, Indonesia, another oil producing  economy with a high population, increased its reserves from $60  billion in 2008 to $120 billion in 2015.

”The candid truth is that we failed under the successive PDP administrations  to save for the rainy day, and we need to constantly remind ourselves of that so that we won’t repeat the mistake. Take the excess crude account which fell from about $9bn in 2007 to about $2bn in 2015. The  argument that it was the State Governors that depleted the account does not hold water since there were Governors in place when the account was being built up.

”Worse still is the fact that up to $14bn in revenues from Nigerian  LNG remains unaccounted for and indeed until the Buhari Administration  came to office, State Governments never got any allocations from this source of funds which properly belongs to the Federation Account. The  naked fact on the revenue front is that there was just a failure of  leadership. This was compounded by the non-transparent uses of funds. We are all witnesses to the sacking of a Central Bank Governor because he raised an alarm about $20 billion that had gone missing.

”We are indeed still trying to recover huge sums looted from the  national treasury under the PDP’s watch, with $15 billion stolen from  the defence sector alone. Perhaps most painful is that because of the way funds (about $322m) returned from Switzerland were mishandled, we  now have to accept conditionalities before our stolen assets are even returned to us,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said one of the achievements that the PDP has been  touting is that it reduced the nation’s national debt.

”However, at the time that we were earning such large revenues from oil, we only managed to double our external debt from $5.6 billion to $10.7 billion between 2011 and 2015.  The case of domestic debt was even worse, almost tripling from N888 billion to N2.1 trillion in the same period. Even these figures mask the extent of unpaid obligations to contractors and the huge plethora of uncompleted projects on which money continued to be spent without visible results. Payments to contractors stopped several years ago while not a single dollar was contributed to the Joint Venture activities. Over N4.5 trillion wasspent on fuel subsidy in just two years under the PDP!

”Despite a recent oil boom, Nigerians are indeed all victims of the dilapidated and decrepit infrastructure. The economy that the Buhari  Administration inherited was certainly in dire straits, if the huge amount of salary arrears that were being owed at various tiers of government is anything to go by.  If, after earning so much resources and increasing the total debt stock, our governments were not able to meet salary obligations, sometimes for up to seven months, then something was definitely wrong somewhere and if this is not evidence  of a collapsing economy, one wonders what it is.

”Indeed, it was not so long ago that the fuel subsidy regime almost bankrupted the country. Through credibility and commitment to good governance, the current administration has managed to save up to N1.4 trillion that would have been spent on subsidies for PMS.  Moreover,  the daily demand for PMS has halved from 1600 trucks a day to 850 trucks a day. If we could achieve such savings, then clearly the petrol sector which was and remains a huge source of foreign exchange  demand was not being well managed.

”It is also important to point out that the poor security situation in the North East has had ripple effects on the economy. Apart from the dislocation of daily lives, there was extensive loss of  agricultural production arising from the fact that our citizens in that zone could not go to their farms not to talk of planting and harvesting produce. Yet, in just a space of about 15 months, the Buhari Administration has liberated this region from the clutches of Boko Haram, which is now left to release meaningless videos when it could no longer carry out spectacular attacks,” he said.

The Minister said while the government will continue to welcome constructive criticism, it had nothing to learn from a party that was in charge of the nation’s affairs at a time of plenty, but ended up frittering away the commonwealth, looting the nation blind and setting the stage for today economic crisis, which the Buhari Administration is working tirelessly to put an end to.

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