The Federal Government, yesterday, told Nigerians that the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari was not to be blamed for the current economic woes of the country. It said that it was on a rescue mission to right the wrongs of the past governments. This came as the 36 state governors have agreed to cut down the size of their convoys, excessive travels amongst others to fight recession.
These were the highlights of the meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential Villa, Abuja. The Federal Government’s self exoneration is coming barely one week after the National Chairman of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Oyegun, admitted that some first missteps of the government upon assumption of office May 2015 affected the country’s economy negatively. Similarly, Imo State governor, Mr. Rocahs Okoroacha, who is also an APC governor, it will be recalled, recently accepted blames for the economic downturn on behalf of APC.
APC on rescue mission
But briefing State House Correspondents at the end of Wednesday meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udo Udoma alongside Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and Anambra State Deputy Governor, Mr. Nkem Okeke absolved the Federal Government from blames, saying the APC government was on a rescue mission.
He said: “We did not and are not responsible for the current economic situation we find ourselves. We are actually a rescue team, a team working to rescue Nigeria from the position we find ourselves in. “Under President Buhari, we are determined to take Nigeria out of the situation. The situation started long before we came. As you know, oil price started falling from 2014 when it was about $110 and by January this year, it was below $30. Unfortunately, they did not save. “ We are determined to take Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing nation. That is why we are developing an economy recovery plan and that is our focus. We are committed to success.” Udoma stated that NEC also reviewed practical measures to liberate the country from recession.
We’ll cut down retinue of aides, foreign trips
Revealing that the Council also discussed other measures taken by the 36 governors to beat the current economic recession, el-Rufai when asked to highlight them said that they had decided to cut down on the retinue of political aides, the size of their convoys, local and foreign trips amongst others. He also gave an inclination of the Federal Government to merge some agencies and parastatals. Speaking on Niger Delta, the governor said the unrest in the region which had drastically affected oil production was a subject at the meeting. He said: “Governors also raised concerns on the Niger Delta situation. You know we budgeted that we will be producing 2.2 million barrels of oil per day. At a point, oil production dropped to one million barrels per day. “This has significantly affected the nation’s revenue and the most hit were the Niger Delta states that get the bulk of their revenue from the nation because the less they produced, the less they have.”