Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I received death threats not to return - Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria's new Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says she has been threatened by 'vested interest', not to return to Nigeria, stressing however that she was not the type of person who is easily cowed by threats.

Speaking on the British Broadcasting Service, the new finance minister said " I do not know who they are, but I did recieve threats from people who think my role as finance minister who will also be overseeing the economy might touch their interests.

"We cannot yield the progress of this country to those who want to keep it in stranglehold, we have to move forward, the vast majority of Nigerians want to see changes in the economy like in emerging economies in the world". On the volatility of oil prices, she said the country would have to go back to measures adopted during her time as finance minister under former president Olusegun Obasanjo. "We had an instrument for checking oil price volatility" she said, adding that price volatility creates uncertainty and the oil price based fiscal rule, which she adopted in 2003 would be kept to, to check the impact of the volatility on the economy.

The new finance minister who will be sworn in today said the banking sector would not pose any threats to the economy as the central bank had demonstrated the capacity to deal with the challenges in the sector.

Her focus she informed, would be what the president wants as priority, and maintained that Nigeria had the capacity to manage her problems, but added she could embrace policies from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank considered good for Nigeria. She also said the crisis in the euro zone would lead to global uncertainty and affect aggregate demands.


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