President challenges critics of his economic policies

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday replied critics of his economic policies, challenging them to come out with facts and figures to contest the fact that the economy is Africa’s largest.

Last year, the Jonathan administration rebased Nigeria’s economy and declared it the largest in Africa.

The President said after the rebasing, the economy became the largest as recently attested to by the American Cable News Network (CNN).

President Jonathan spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at a campaign rally.

Said he: “The economy you all know has become the largest in Africa after the rebasing, it was not by chance. We worked with the private sector…. a few days ago, the CNN announced that Nigeria has joined other nations where the economy will blossom.

“If CNN can say that who is the economist in Nigeria that says that what the world has seen about Nigeria…? Who is the economist that can tell me that he is superior to the World Bank; the economists in the World Bank?

“Who is the economist in Nigeria that can tell me he is superior to the economist in the IMF? Who is the economist in Nigeria that can tell me that he’s sharper or better focused than the CNN? People should stop deceiving Nigerians. We are working hard to move this country forward and we will work with the people of Kwara State to move the state forward.”

The President also flaunted his administration’s credentials in the rule of law, saying it is strictly adhered to.

The President said: “We don’t want to run a government by intimidation; I signed the FoI Bill, and promised that every Nigerian will be free. I want every Nigerian to be free. We don’t want to intimidate anybody; we want you to have the ability to express yourself without any fear of intimidation.

“We don’t encourage our leaders to intimidate the followers; where people will be living as if they are in the zoo and the lions and leopard are moving freely and all the other animals have to go into hiding; no. That is not a government, Nigeria is not a zoological garden. Nigeria is not a forest.

“Nigeria is a country governed by laws and conventions, a country where citizens must be free and where every citizen must be able to grow to the level that he so desires.”

On his agricultural reforms, Jonathan said: “We will use SMEs to grow the economy .We are no longer talking of agriculture as a rural dwellers’ occupation but agriculture as a means of creating wealth, agriculture as means of creating millions. So many people in Kwara have keyed into that project and we will work you. Agriculture will accelerate the economy of this country.

“Also, SMEs; we are working hard with the CBN. Funds are being released to people who are in that sector. When you talk about Asian Tigers, they became strong because of SMEs and not necessarily because of large industries.

We are working very hard to ensure that we encourage SMES in Kwara State and in Nigeria to be able to create wealth for themselves. That is why we started the YouWIN. The beneficiaries will not be job seekers but creators of jobs for themselves and for others.”

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