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Foreign reserves up by $2.17bn -Presidency

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has added $2.17bn to the Foreign Reserves since former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office in 2007, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

The disclosure was contained in a document released by the Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe in Abuja.

Okupe said the document showed that there was no truth in the claim by a former Education Minister, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili that the administrations of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua and Jonathan squandered $67bn which she alleged was left in the Foreign Reserves by the Obasanjo administration.

The document presented by Okupe showed that Obasanjo left $2,182,457,958.35bn in the Federal Government Reserve; $31,517,490,922.57bn in the Central Bank of Nigeria Reserve and $9,430,353,114.29bn in the Federation Account.

Though details of the amount in the document were not specific, it however indicated that there was $45.3bn in the account as at January 22, 2013.

In 2008, the documents indicated that Nigeria had the highest amount in its reserve in September when it had $60,201,735,067.21bn while it had the lowest in the year in December with $53,000,355,063.51bn.

A year later, the document obtained from the Reserve Management Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, showed that the amount the country had in its reserve had reduced.

It had the highest amount in January with $50,108.653, 696.18bn while it recorded the lowest amount in August with $41,754,314,413.02bn.

In 2010, the reserve was depleted as the country recorded its highest amount in January with $42,075,655,941.40bn while it had the lowest amount in its account in December with $32,339,252,389.10bn.

The situation did not improve in the following year as the account continued to depreciate.

February was the best month in the year as the balance in the account stood at $32,246,072,142.47bn while September was the worst with $31,740,230,675.36bn.

December 2012 was the finest month for the country as the balance in the account stood at $43,830,418,364.91bn. The account had $33,857,370,517.77bn in February.

On Ezekwesili's allegation, Okupe said it was unfortunate that the former minister refused to be pacified after the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, debunked her accusation.

He said rather than citing the sources and establishing the credibility of her claims, she decided to divert attention by calling for a national debate on issues that were not in contention.

Okupe said the Federal Government would have ignored her call for a national debate, but said it was 'compelled to respond in view of the penchant by some highly placed Nigerians, who use government offices to build up their reputations and later turn on the same government to denigrate it'.