16 January 2016

Nigeria: Adokwe Cautions FG Against Following IMF's Directives

Senator Suleiman Adokwe representing Nasarawa South Senatorial district in the Senate, has called on the federal government to be wary of the guidelines and directives given to it on the nation's economy by Chief Executive, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Largade.

The Senator gave the warning in an exclusive interview with THISDAY in Abuja.

Adokwe said: "Although she (Largade) came to say we can do without IMF loans, but she left so many policy guidelines and directives almost like a cathedral's statement that we must follow in order for our economy to move up and it was very, very clear that she came to give instructions on how to run the economy.

"I pray we do not follow those directives, because there is nowhere in the world that IMF directives have helped any country. From the benefit of hidsight, they have never, ever succeeded in bringing any economy out of the woods."

The senator noted that "in most cases they sink you down deeper and we never borrowed money from IMF during the conditionalities, but we applied the conditions they gave and this country has never been the same since then.

"From an economy whose exchange rate was $1 to about N3 or 4 today we are talking $1 to N280 we just deteriorated retrogressively over the years all because we have continuous to lean towards IMF and World Bank prescribed economic policies."

He observed that since former President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration, Nigeria had been depending so much on experts from IMF and the World Bank, yet the country was not any better for it.

"During Abacha's regime, he shunned those people completely and he was reducing our debts drastically and to the best of my knowledge it is only Abacha that many commentators have the privilege of referring his era as Abacha economics which was unique to him, you can hardly find any other president or Nigeria's head of state that has any clear cut economic practices that you could associate with him.

"Abacha has an economic policy of reducing our debt, he has economic policy of stabilising our foreign exchanges and he has economic policy of ensuring that we look inwards not outwards.

"The man hardly travels to anywhere, everything was done within Nigeria as far as he was concerned.

"Today our President has traveled to all the capitalist capitals in the world and we are just exposing ourselves to the dictates of the western economic interest, they all know that Nigeria has a great potential to have economic liberation.

"They are contending with Asian Tigers and now China, they cannot afford economic freedom in Africa and as long as we keep running to those places, we are not going to make any breakthrough at all that is my own concern.

"The visit of Largade to me as far as I am concerned is that they now think that we are helpless, it is time to give us policy directions on what to do and if we are not careful we are going to immense ourselves in more debt that we would not be able to free ourselves from.

"In future, they will come and tell you to give them certain amount of money to write it off like they wrote it off during Obasanjo's time.

"We took a whooping sum of money to write off the debt and ordinarily if we had taken our time the money that we gave out in order to liquidate our debt if it were properly applied maybe we could have created infrastructure that could ginger economic activities and generate more Gross Domestic Product for us, but this is where we are.

"We liquidated it and started getting into new debts, we should take such visits with a pinch of salt, but basically our duty is just to diversify our economy and live within our means and cut down some of our unnecessary white elephant projects" Adokwe averred.


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