by Steven Langdon
When I was working with the World Bank in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was one of the most impressive people with whom I dealt. On leave from the World Bank, she was trying to shape more disciplined budgets for the country, so that Nigeria could better develop a more inclusive economy built on its massive oil resources.
It was a difficult task, she told me. But at that point (before she became the country’s Finance Minister) she was hopeful.
Now, after years in that job, Ngozi has written a book revealing just how challenging her task was. Quartz Africa’s Fewi Fawehinmi outlines what Ngozi has written, and draws out the main difficulties she faced in the structure of Nigerian budget-making. Not only did legislators change rapidly in Parliament (leaving few with budget experience,) but the budget depended on assumptions about the world prices at which Nigeria could sell its oil, and these shifted continually while the budget was being considered. Add to that external pressures (Ngozi’s mother was kidnapped to try to get the Minister to change her approach to fuel subsidies in 2012.)
“Nigeria, says Fawehinmi, “remains very dysfunctional in the way it carries out the normal business of government.” Ngozi’s book may help in at least a small way to change that.
[For more, see the following link: https://qz.com/1290954/fighting-nigerian-corruption-might-be-dangerous-but-preparing-a-nigerian-budget-is-hell/ ]