MINISTER of Finance and coordinating minister for economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, said Nigeria was not going to implement any programme initiated by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, even as the Senate President David Mark urged the Fund to make its economic and financial policies friendly to Africa if the desired results must be achieved.
Contrary to insinuations that the Federal Government is implementing designed programmes of the Fund, Okonjo-Iweala, who was accompanied by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to the House of Representatives, explained that the Fund had changed the modality of its operation, adding: “IMF of today is different from the IMF of yester-years.
“We are now partnering with an institution that is here to listen and help us. We set the policies, we set the pace, and they support us to do what it takes for the Nigerian economy. The idea of the IMF coming to tell people what to do, this is no longer what happens and so we are happy to partner with this institution.”
In her remarks, Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, lauded the role played by Okonjo-Iweala during the negotiation for debt relief from the Paris Club in 2005, saying: “I pay tribute to her resilience and sense of public interest.
“I have to say IMF is a different institution from what I knew many, many years ago. It is a different institution because it was known for lending money and designing conditionality … and imposing programmes,in doing so in the past, it did mistakes.”
She explained that IMF also provided surveillance to member states on yearly basis and meet with representatives of countries across the world with the view to “seing what is being done and how they perform, what the results are….”
Tambuwal urges IMF MD
In his response, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives, urged the new IMF managing director to “ensure that the financing instruments of the Fund were more responsive to the needs of African countries by increasing the concessions in the Fund’s lending to low-income countries in addition to extending the zero-interest rate policy on Fund concessional resources beyond 2012.
Make your policies Africa-friendly – Mark
Meanwhile, the Senate President Mark has urged the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to make its economic and financial policies friendly to Africa if the desired results must be achieved.
According to him, if the policies become very harsh and not comfortable to the people that ought to benefit from them, they become unnecessary.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja when he recieved the IMF MD, Lagarde, in his office, Mark, who noted that any economic policy that brings pains rather than succour to the people was worthless, he said: “The impression people have about IMF is that of an organisation that prescribes an economic solution that hardly works or practicable in any country.
“It is a challenge for the IMF to disabuse our minds by making its economic policies practicable. The policies could be laudable but it sometimes does not fit into local arrangements. You must take cognisance of local situations in your prescriptions, because a uniform policy may not work for all nations.”
Senator Mark who stressed that condition of respective nations was imperative because a template may out work for all countries, however urged them to ensure that European countries should make their markets accessible to Africans.