The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has stated that many families are experiencing financial difficulties because past administrations that presided over the affairs of the country failed to save for a time of dwindling revenue.
The minister, who spoke at the just-concluded 2016 edition of the All Nigeria Editors Conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, stated that Nigerians are presently struggling to feed and to survive because past governments did not properly manage the country’s oil wealth.
His words, “Nigeria’s economy is hard hit by the fall in the price of crude oil because the country failed to save for the rainy day while the previous governments also failed to invest in infrastructure. Nigerians should know that people are suffering today because previous administrations did not save.
“Nigeria has nothing to rely on to cushion the effects of the lost earnings. Many other oil producing countries and fellow OPEC members are faring better, because they saved for the rainy day. Saudi Arabia, with about one fifth of Nigeria’s population, has in foreign reserves about 600 billion dollars (which is 23 times what Nigeria has in foreign reserves).
“United Arab Emirates, with less than 10 million people, has 75 billion dollars in foreign reserves. Qatar, with 2.4 million people, has 36 billion dollars in foreign reserves. Even Angola, with just 24 million people, has about 25 billion dollars in foreign reserves.
“We are not saying we should continue to lament about missed opportunities, the massive corruption or profligacy of the past, but it is important for Nigerians to know where and when the rain started beating them; that no provision was made for any umbrella to shield them from the elements, and that indeed genuine efforts are now being made to turn things around.
“We must give hope to our people, while also giving encouragement to those who are working non-stop to revamp our economy,” Mohammed added.