Economy: Stop misleading Nigerians, Coomassie tells Chidoka

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Following claims that former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan handed over a prosperous economy to incumbent Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, the Special Envoy on Diplomacy & Good Governance of the International Peace Commission of the UN, Amb. Hussaini Coomassie, has come out to debunk the claim.

Former aviation minister, Osita Chidoka, had stated that the then President Jonathan handed over a prosperous economy to Buhari as against claims by the current Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi.

But Coomassie, a Global Vice Chairman, Advocacy for Good Governance Network, has now argued that “if Jonathan had handed over $billion to Buhari as claimed by Chidoka, how come was he borrowing to pay salaries?

“If truly president Jonathan left behind a massive chunk of $5.6billion Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas dividends, and a 2015 budget of over N4trillion along with a total of $2.2billion in excess crude oil account to President Buhari, why was Jonathan borrowing to pay salaries?

“In a May 2015 report by Premium Times, it was revealed that the federal government borrowed about N500 billion to pay salaries and to fund the 2015 budget. Okonjo-Iweala said the government resorted to borrowing as a result of a decline in oil revenue. This revelation by Okonjo-Iweala is in sharp contrast to the picture that Chidoka was trying to paint in his response to Amaechi’s remark.

“Even though Amaechi may not have been 100 per cent accurate in what he said (politicians like to exaggerate the failures of their rivals), but things were not as rosy as the former Minister of Aviation wants us to believe. The economy was bleeding under Jonathan and the administration was desperately looking for funds to keep the government running.

“Another evidence that the economy under Jonathan was in a mess was the fact that from 2014 to May 2015 when Buhari took over, the GDP was in constant decline. It was not until 2017 that Buhari was able to arrest the decline and the economy recorded its first quarterly growth since 2014.

“Indeed, Amaechi was not far from the truth as GEJ handed over to Buhari an economy that was in terrible shape as well as high rate of insecurity.”