…Warns President to be cautious of sponsored ministers
By Adewale Sanyaolu
A former minister of petroleum, Prof. Tam David -West, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for rejecting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.
David-West, who spoke to Daily Sun yesterday, in a telephone interview, said the president deserved applause for being courageous in turning down the request.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at ongoing Spring Meetings of the IMF-World Bank in Washington DC, said Nigeria would overcome its economic challenges without taking loan facility from the IMF.
She explained that Nigeria was adapting to its new realities by implementing fiscal policies to steer the country back on track for stable growth with a diversified economy.
She expressed optimism that sound fiscal policies and investments would boost Nigeria’s economy by 2017.
Adeosun insisted that what the country is currently passing through was surmountable because government is already applying a “cocktail of measures to address the problem.”
Going down memory lane, David-West said Buhari turned down a similar request 32 years ago when he was the military Head of State and has done same again in 2016, meaning that he remains a man of principle.
The professor of Virology said the conditions for which Buhari turned down the IMF loan request 32 years ago, still remained the same reasons today, hence, his decision to jettison the loan plan.
Specifically, he said some of those conditions that made the president reject the loan offer in 1984 could be linked to very strict conditionalities, which were still the same reasons in 2016, capable of mortgaging the future of the country.
David-West explained that the case of the IMF remained that of carrot and stick, saying on the face value, the offer could be attractive, but when dissected further by sound economic managers, the dangers inherent in it far outweigh the benefits.
He said a programme designed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 1984 termed ‘Extraodinary’ by the Financial Times of London, helped the country to call the bluff of IMF as regards the loan request.
When pressed further to disclose the contents of the NNPC strategy that afforded the country the opportunity to turn down the loan request, he said: ‘‘I cannot disclose the contents of that strategy so that those saddled with the responsibility of fixing the economy don’t take glory for it. Let those running the economy take initiatives and come up with policies that can turn around the economy. That remained the reason why they were appointed in the first place,’’ he said.
The outspoken former minister, however, cautioned Buhari to be weary of ‘sponsored ministers’ in his cabinet, saying those set of ministers, rather than carry out the mandate of the president, would prefer to do the bidding of those that sponsored them to office.