I can't serve Buhari - Okonjo Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has declared that she would not serve in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even if invited.

Okonjo-Iweala said this on Monday during a programme on Al Jazeera, The Stream.

She said she cannot serve the Buhari administration because there are other competent people who can do the job.

She said it was better to allow those managing the economy now to do the best they could, noting that there could be solutions to the present economic decline in the country.

Okonjo-Iweala, who served in the administrations of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan for seven years, 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 macro-economics.

“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 advice young people not to wait for employment.

“They should create jobs to employ six people or more.

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

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“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.”

Okonjo-Iweala told her interviewers, including listeners who sent in questions, that the average lifespan of a Minister of Finance was two years.

She said it was difficult for a Minister of Finance to be loved by anyone.

She said this was because their job was to turn down demands for money by just anyone.

She said: “The average life span of a Finance Minister is two year 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.”