Adeosun Debunks Ezekwesili’s Claim That Buhari’s Economic Policies Are ‘opaque, Archaic’


SAN FRANCISCO, May 05, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has reacted to recent remarks by former Vice President of World Bank (Africa), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili that President Muhammadu Buhari operates command and control approach to the economy and churns out “archaic and opaque” policies which are hurting the poor.

While disagreeing with Ezekwesili, the Finance Minister argued on Thursday that inasmuch as there were no quick fixes to the economic challenges facing the country, the Buhari administration was tackling the issues with a planned strategy.

Ezekwesili, a former minister of education, had while making a presentation at a public policy forum, The Platform, in Abuja on Saturday, accused the President of rehashing the “command and control” approach to economic issues adopted during his first coming as military Head of State in 1984.

She recalled that the approach led to the spiraling of inflation during that period, amid huge loss of jobs and a massive dip in economic growth level.

“What did not work in 1984 cannot possibly be a solution in a global economy that's much more integrated,” Ezekwesili pointed out, adding that “The same 'command and control' approach towards economic issues has left the country's economic indices worse off since he assumed office almost year ago.

“In over one year, the president is still holding to the premise that command and control is the only way out. In a year, we have lost the single digits inflation status we maintained in past administrations,” she said.

But speaking on Channels TV breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Adeosun said: “I disagree with Mrs Ezekwesili,” insisting that “The present government has a planned economy and does not operate a command and control economic system as alleged by the former minister.

“There are no quick solutions to the current economic woes. We are going to pump N350 billion into the economy until we see growth. The job will be done painstakingly, and we will come out of it better,” she assured.

The Minister, who disclosed that one of the biggest challenges the government was facing was leakage of revenues in ministries departments and agencies, maintained that the government expects to see the expenditure of N64bn on official travels in 2014 drop by about N13.88 bn.

She said such savings from official travels, which should ordinarily not be a major expense item for the government, would become available for investment in capital projects, such as roads, power, railways and public health facilities.

Adeosun added that to reduce the high incidence of cash transactions in government business, the deployment of Ministerial Debit Cards would soon debut to reduce stealing by government officials and to enable easy tracing of e-expenditures.