The Presidency has accused the Goodluck Jonathan administration of “monumental and tragic economic mismanagement” and of handing over an economy ravaged by years of corruption.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, the Presidency accused Mr Jonathan of failing to invest and allowing widespread looting, which led to the current economic crisis.
This comes two days after the former President defended his administration’s performance, the impact of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, on the country and accused the ruling All Progressives Congress of failing to build on his economic achievements.
Mr Jonathan had claimed his administration had a sound economic team, kept the country’s inflation at single digit, created jobs and conducted credible elections among other things, while also insisting that only the PDP can lead the nation to greatness.
But the Presidency in its statement suggested the President had forgotten the true state of the economy he left behind, stressing that it was far from being robust and healthy.
“Let me start by reasserting an obvious statement, which is that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was handed an economy ravaged by years of mismanagement and corruption,” the statement read in part.
“It is understandable that Dr Jonathan kept his comments short, because a cursory look at any sector clearly indicated that he and his Government presided over the most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement recorded in our national history.”
The slump in oil prices have been repeatedly cited as one of the major reasons for the current economic crisis in the country, but the Presidency suggested that the economy would have fared better had the Jonathan administration invested, especially as the “oil sector boomed under his tenure, with oil prices as high as $120”.
Unfortunately, it said the Jonathan administration mismanaged the funds.
“There is nothing to show for the revenues earned, no major capital project was completed, neither power generation, road development, rail or agriculture benefitted from the windfall earnings. Rather the administration presided over the diversion of oil revenues on a such a massive scale, that even without the protection now accorded to Whistle blowers, the then Central Bank Governor blew not only a whistle but a trumpet. He was hurriedly shown the door.”
“Meanwhile, the acquisition by public officers and their cohorts of private jets, luxury yachts and the accumulation of expensive property portfolios worldwide continued unabated. Indeed, the President once celebrated having the largest number of private jets, whilst our youth languished without jobs, our fields stood idle and our factories began the layoff of workers.”
The Presidency also accused the Jonathan administration of borrowing heavily as public officials looted the treasury.
It said, “Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries. This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy. Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing. Nigeria can not record a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years. In short, the money was mismanaged.
“Such was the looting that even the goose that was laying the golden egg was being systematically starved. The direct contractual costs of oil produced, in the form of cash calls, remained unpaid. The incoming ,President Buhari’s welcome from the oil majors included demand for US$6Bn owed by Nigeria for oil that had already been sold or stolen.”