The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said the Federal Government is working assiduously towards making the Nigerian economy one of the best in the world.
Okonjo-Iweala, who made this known while speaking at the 2012 Silverbird awards, admitted that the country was facing enormous challenges, but expressed optimism that the country would overcome its challenges.
The finance minister who was honored as the Silverbird 'Man of the Year,' stressed that it was because of the challenges facing the country that two past presidents of the country and President Jonathan, invited her to come and serve the country.
She, however, explained that she could not honour the invitation by late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to serve under his administration due to international engagements.
"It is an honour to serve your country. I know we are facing challenges. But I have experience of over 30 years of travelling to over 60 countries of the world.
"From my experience, I am an unapologetic believer in Nigeria. This is because this administration is doing its best to make Nigeria among the best economies in the world," she said.
While responding to an earlier comment by the Vice President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Issa Aremu, the finance minister said the Jonathan administration is on the side of the poor people of Nigeria.
She revealed that the government was also working hard to enhance urban transportation, given the partial fuel subsidy removal.
Aremu earlier called on the government to introduce progressive taxation in which the rich would be made to pay more.
Citing recent numbers by Forbes showing the widening gap between the rich and poor, Aremu warned that "the ship of Nigeria cannot keep moving with the current level of poverty in the country."
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, described the award received by Okonjo-Iweala as deserving and merited.
He also said that the award doesn't have any financial implication and called on other Nigerians to emulate her virtues.
Governor of Bauchi State, Mr. Isa Yuguda, who presented the award to Okonjo-Iweala said she is a gift to Nigeria.
"She has made a difference in this country, despite her level of education. She is an embodiment of humility. Amongst her numerous achievements was the establishment of the Debt Management Office, which paved the way for the debt relief and Nigeria's first sovereign rating," Yuguda added.
Other awardees included: Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Late Mallam Aminu Kano, Chief Newton Jibunoh, Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, for lifetime achievement award respectively.