President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed displeasure that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration failed to save for the rainy day. The President, who was represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, spoke yesterday at the opening of the 12th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) 2016 in Port Harcourt. The conference, with the theme: Economic Diversification: Agriculture as Option for a Prosperous Nigeria, was attended by eminent personalities from across the country and beyond.
President Buhari said: “Nigeria has nothing to rely on to cushion the effects of the lost earnings. Many other oil producing countries and fellow Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (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, which is 23 times what Nigeria has in foreign reserves.
“United Arab Emirates, with less than 10 million people, has $75 billion in foreign reserves. Qatar, with 2.4 million people, has $36 billion in foreign reserves. Even Angola, with just 24 million people, has about $25 billion dollars in foreign reserves.
“Here in Nigeria, with oil selling consistently for over $100 a barrel for many years, we simply failed to save for the rainy day, with the result that a country with a population of over 170 million today has just $26 billion in foreign reserves.
“To compound this, the fall in the price of crude oil is having a ripple effect: the scarcity of forex, which has resulted from the oil price crash, means that industries are struggling to get forex to import raw materials and machinery.