*Says Peddlers Have Malicious Intent
Former Nigeria’s Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has dissociated herself from the purported political statements in circulation, describing and dismissing them as “fake news items.”
She said those peddling the said fake political utterances were “politically motivated people with malicious intent.”
However, Okonjo-Iweala vowed that she would not be distracted from carrying on with her international assignments she is currently occupied with.
Dr. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003-2006, 2011-2015) and was previously Managing Director of the World Bank (2007-2011).
She currently chairs the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the African Risk Capacity (ARC) as well as being a Senior Adviser at Lazard.
Okonjo-Iweala in a statement personally signed by her and emailed to OptimumTimes, said: “It has been brought to my attention that a number of fake news items with my photo and fake voice recordings of me making political utterances are circulating on social media.
“I want the public to beware of such fake news items. They are being put out by politically motivated people with malicious intent.
“It is the 2019 political season and such people are desperate to destroy and distract for power.
“I want to state categorically, as I have always done, that I will not be distracted from the focused international assignments I am engaged with.”
Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs and was the first female to hold both positions.
During her first term as Minister of Finance under President Obasanjo’s Administration, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt, including the outright cancellation of US$18 billion.
In 2003, she led efforts to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic management including the implementation of an oil-price based fiscal rule where revenues accruing above a reference benchmark oil price were saved in a special account, “The Excess Crude Account” which helped to reduce macroeconomic volatility.
She also introduced the practice of publishing each state’s monthly financial allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the newspapers, which process went a long way in increasing transparency in governance.
With the support of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Federal Government of Nigeria, she helped build an electronic financial management platform-the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), including the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), helping to curtail corruption in the process.
As at 31 December 2014, the IPPIS platform for example had eliminated 62,893 ghost workers from the system and saved the Nigerian government about $1.25 billion in the process.