Akin Akande, Abuja
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has challenged the federal government to be honest with Nigerians on the state of the nation’s economy.
The opposition party told the federal government to stop lying to Nigerians noting that there is indices showing that things are not as rosy as it are been painted by the government.
ACN in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said coming out clean on the state of the economy would enable the government to carry the people along in whatever measures it may take to avoid the collapse of the economy.
”On Feb. 24th, 2013, we issued a statement in which we alerted the nation to ‘an impending collapse of the Nigerian economy, unless the federal government cuts the astronomical cost of running a bloated government and takes urgent measures to diversify the economy and shore up the production of oil, which remains the mainstay of the country’s economy,” the party said.
ACN’s statement read in part: ”Though the Federal Government quickly denied the economy was in danger, it is now clear that it (government) was being economical with the truth. The clearest indication yet of this choreographed deceit are the contradictory statements credited to the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in recent times.
”According to published report, on June 10th in Abuja, the minister said at a ministerial briefing that the
fundamentals of the economy were strong and that the economy was buoyant beyond danger.
“However, a day later, the same minister was quoted as saying, at a closed-door session of the Federal Government Economic Implementation Team, that the Nigerian economy is shaky despite the official fundamentals and that drastic steps are needed to save it from collapse.
”She was further quoted as saying that there was an urgent need for ‘stringent budgetary measures’ to arrest the downward slide; that crude oil production now hovers around 1.3 million barrels per day (far lower than that it was at the height of the protracted militancy in the Niger Delta); and that crude oil theft, which costs Nigeria US$6 billion annually, is now severely hurting the economy,” the party said.
The party stated that while it had no reason to doubt that the reality of the gloomy situation facing the country’s economy has now dawned on the government, it was still worried that those in authority are speaking from both sides of their mouths, publicly giving the impression that all is well while privately preparing to unleash belt tightening measures on the same hapless citizens who have borne the brunt of their poor governance.