Okonjo-Iweala Sworn-In, Won’t Earn Dollar Salary —Jonathan

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

At last, former World Bank chief, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was sworn-in this morning as Nigeria’s finance minister with President Goodluck Jonathan confirming that apart from her portfolio, she will also play a critical role in coordinating economic issues as the coordinating minister of the Economic Management Team.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

While other ministers were sworn-in over a month ago, the former World Bank managing director completed her disengagement from the financial institution just last week.

Speaking after the brief swearing in ceremony, President Jonathan said Okonjo-Iweala will also be the coordinating minister of the Economic Management Team, EMT, which he also said is being expanded to include some state governors.

“Ngozi is brought in to coordinate the economic activities of the Federal Government and the states,” he said.

The expanded Economic Management Team which will be inaugurated tomorrow will have the president and the Vice President as the Chairman and the Vice Chairman respectively.

The Minister of Finance will be the coordinating minister of the EMT, which puts her in a vantage position to oversee the work of the other ministers.

The president also promised to give political support not only to the Finance minister to enable her achieve her objectives, but to all the other members of the cabinet.

He added that there will soon be a meeting where each of the ministers will come up with their plans for their ministries, even as he assured Okonjo-Iweala that all the cabinet members have been carefully selected.

“We are quite hopeful that we have a team of ministers ready to work to transform this country,” Jonathan assured the new minister of Finance.

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The president also revealed that contrary to stories in the media, Okonjo-Iweala accepted to serve just like all the other ministers and she did not demand to be paid in dollars.

In the same vein, the president said none of the ministers recruited from the diaspora made ‘dollar salary’ a condition for coming to serve their country.

“They are going to receive the same salary as their colleagues in the cabinet. She (Dr. Okonjo-Iweala) has not asked us for dollar salary,” said the president.

The president also thanked Okonjo-Iweala for accepting to come back to serve the country.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is returning to the position she occupied between 2003 and 2006 when as the finance minister in the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, she led the team that negotiated for discounted payment of Nigeria’s debt with the Paris Club of Creditors.

As the Chief Economic Adviser to former President Obasanjo, Okonjo-Iweala also led a 13-member Economic Management Team which helped the country to achieve six per cent economic growth between 2003 and 2006 in addition to other economic reform initiatives.

The swearing in ceremony was witnessed by Professor Okonjo, the father of the minister, her mother, former chief executive officer of United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu, the Ide Ahaba of Asaba, prominent industrialist Chief Sunny Odogwu and other ministers.

—Oluokun Ayorinde/Abuja

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