7 January 2016

Nigeria: IMF's Visit - Learn From IBB's Pitfall, Jimoh Ibrahim Warns Buhari

Photo: IMF
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, along with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo greeting IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde

Group Managing Director, Energy Group, Jimoh Ibrahim has warned President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of the IMF's current visit to Nigeria describing it as an economic bait that will do Nigeria no good.

This is even as he enjoined President Buhari to learn from the pitfall of Nigeria's former Military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babagida (IBB), when he handed over the economy to IMF by taking specific loan only for the economy to be destroyed with IMF's painful colonial conditionalities, reports National Mirror.

According to Ibrahim, the visit of IMF's Managing Director, Christine Lagarde is a means of campaigning for economic conditionalities even at a time when Nigeria, like some oil producing countries, needs assistance and support to continue to put into implementation government policies.

He said that IMF boss' statement on the economy is traditional and full of strategic misrepresentation adding that the IMF boss had a full day creating an atmosphere for re-colonizing Nigeria's economy and advises the government to run away from such unsolicited advice.

His words: "I enjoin President Buhari to learn from Ibrahim Badamosi Babagida's pitfall when he handed over the economy to IMF by taking specific loan only for the economy to be destroyed with IMF's painful colonial conditionalities. The government of IBB was simply put to an end in economic terms by the Structural Adjustment Programme, an IMF baby which remains the foundation of Nigeria's problem."

He also describes the statement made by IMF boss as uncalled for and a waste of time.

Ibrahim said: "For IMF to advise Nigeria not to be rigid in Economy Policy is an indirect way of asking for devaluation of naira and campaigning for 'about to come' IMF conditionalities, knowing very well that Nigeria may ask for assistance."

Ibrahim faulted the statement credited to the IMF boss, as a complete disrespect to the integrity of Nigeria as a nation by simply positing whether IMF can give the same advice to President Obama by advising that the "President should look inward for economy solution" at this time when the oil prices are very low, shows clearly that IMF is an enemy of the country.

According to Ibrahim, ten things are likely to be the areas of advice of IMF which is already a stereotype. So the IMF boss has not said anything new. The ten areas were developed by Professor John Williamson. They are usually "Fiscal Policy, Reduction of Public Spending, Tax Reform, Interest Rate, Competitive Exchange Rate, Trade Liberalization, Encouragement of Foreign Direct Investment, Privatization of state enterprise, deregulation and legal security of property right".

Ibrahim accused the IMF boss of broader line plagiarism for not acknowledging Williamson's ideas and using the ten-point agenda for developing countries and more importantly, Williamson theory of Asset Specificity which was frequently used by the Director General without reference.

He challenged the IMF boss on the solo policy of developing the poor and asks her to explain whether the poor can be developed when the rich are dead or whether China or America kills the rich in their countries so as to let the poor develop.

"This shows clearly to me that IMF has a hidden agenda and only time will tell." He said while accusing the IMF boss of Strategic misrepresentation when she said oil does not contribute enormously to the GDP, knowing very well that the Nigeria budget is funded majorly through revenue from oil.

These ten-point agenda is not new to Nigeria. But the question we normally ask is whose interest? The optimum bias is playing clearly in her statement.

Ibrahim challenged IMF to come with practical terms on how to help Nigeria from coming out from its financial dangerous lane by granting the country loans in liberal terms when the need arises or even if it is to develop infrastructure since Nigeria oil money has been used by IMF in the past to help other nations.

Ibrahim hopes that IMF pays for accommodation and feeding in Nigeria since they already signed for those allowances from their Head Office. He advised the government to stay focused on already defined policy of agenda and that in future visit, it will be enough for the Minister of Finance and one or two members of cabinet to handle the visit without involving the President, if our sovereignty is to be respected.

"In United States of America, it is the under Secretary to President Obama that will handle such correspondence or visit or a Clerk as the case maybe in Britain. I was surprised that the IMF Chief did not make such observation at the magnitude of top government officials that received her which amounts to waste of precious time of Government and the little resources that we have," he added.

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