From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, reacted to insinuation that the nation was broke, saying it is economically healthy.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who briefed journalists yesterday in Abuja, said everyone would attest to the fact that Nigeria is surely not broke. He said the nation has $45 billion in foreign reserves, wondering how a nation with such amount of money would be broke.
Instead, Maku said, “Our reserves are growing and the stability in the economy is because the reserves are growing. That is why people are coming into the country to invest. I can tell you that definitely, Nigeria is not broke.”
Maku attributed the insinuation to the issue of delay in the payment of civil servants’ salary, saying the action was caused by the re-organisation in the process of payment in order to put an end to the issue of ghost payment.
“We are doing a new payment system because we are taking position that those ghosts that are taking billions from the public sector, statistically, the federal public sector, we want to make sure that those ghosts stop taking money from our own purse,” Maku stated. The Minister also expressed the concern of President Goodluck Jonathan over instantaneous payment of salary, which he said, the President expressed at the airport yesterday morning before travelling to Kenya.
He said: “I was at the airport this morning (yesterday) when the President was travelling to Kenya. The first question he asked was: is it true that salary has not been paid? He was very furious and said henceforth, ensure that this does not repeat itself.”
On the present face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government, Maku said ASUU was not being fair to the Federal Government in its demand.
Maku called on Nigerians to bear with the Federal Government in its quest to resolve the present challenges with ASUU.