Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State declared on Thursday that Nigeria was struggling to survive economically, contrary to the rosy picture painted by the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Okonjo-Iweala had while responding to a call for her resignation by the Amaechi-led NGF told journalists in Abuja, that in spite of the revenue challenges facing the country, all macro-economic indicators showed that the economy was performing “reasonably well.”
But at an event organised for future leaders by Rotary International, District 9140 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Amaechi recalled that the minister once disagreed with him when he said that poverty rate in Nigeria had risen to 70 per cent.
He said, “In 1970, the poverty rate in Nigeria was 30 per cent. How many of you know the poverty rate now? I was in a meeting where I said it was 70 per cent; the Minister of Finance said it was 68 per cent. What’s the difference between 68 and 70?
Amaechi also added that the Federal Government had yet to pay fully the Rivers State allocation for July, 2013. “How strong is an economy that cannot fund its statutory state governments’ federal allocation?" he asked.
However, he pleaded with the youth to arm themselves with education to revive Nigeria as he expressed sadness that the country’s poverty rate had risen to a level where many Nigerians hardly get enough to eat.
“Now for you as young men and women, we present you a nation that is yearning for repair. For me, the nation does not only need repair, it requires change,” he said.