Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: “It would be better to allow those managing the economy now to do the best they could.”

Immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has affirmed that she would not serve in the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even if invited.

Okonjo-Iweala made this disclosure on Monday during a programme aired on Al Jazeera, The Stream.

According to the former minister, it would be better to allow those managing the economy now to do the best they could, stressing that there could be solutions to the present economic decline in the country.

She said, “One of the things you learn as you get wiser is to talk less as you grow older. I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to leave those managing the economy to do what they know how to do. There can be solutions.

“I am not a typical politician. I went in as a technocrat. I think on the continent we have seen a period when the economy was doing well. In the last two years, we have been experiencing challenges.

“We need to focus on the basics, which are macroeconomics. You must get the fundamentals like having a stable exchange rate and having inflation under control. I served my country for seven years and it was a great honour. The second time was very tough but it is still an honour.

“I am not the only person who is a repository of knowledge. There are other people who can equally try their hands in running the economy. I will advise young people not to wait for employment. They should create jobs to employ six people or more.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

“During my time in government, we had a programme called ‘You Win’ designed to support young entrepreneurs.

“The whole idea was to have a business plan competition. The idea was that they should create jobs. And each created nine to 10 jobs. The World Bank did an evaluation of it and found it good. I do believe that the government should come in.

“We started a peer to peer mentoring. Now, one of the things I want to say is that creating employment is not only about struggles, it is about managing success.”

Speaking on the anti-corruption war during the two regimes in which she served, Okonjo-Iweala said: “It was a very tough fight. I must thank my team. You don’t do it alone. I had the support of an economic team in the Ministry of Finance. It was tough because at the end of the day, you need to have some principles.

“The average life span of a Finance Minister is two years in a country. No one likes a Finance Minister because it is the business of saying no. It is very difficult and challenging. It was interesting for me. I wish I had seen myself as wielding power.

“All I saw was the job because I was seeing myself working for the country.”

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