Former Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai has said that the second term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the “most successful” in terms of economic growth, job creation, and inflation rate in Nigeria.
El-Rufai while speaking at the Africa In the World conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa, on Friday, attributed this success to “proper integrated planning” and “luck.”
He also emphasized the need for proper planning to aid the economic growth of any country, saying that Nigeria’s planning commission has not been as effective as it should be.
El-Rufai said that during Obasanjo’s second term, the country returned to proper planning and also got lucky with rising oil prices.
“We had an excess crude account (ECA) that was based on a fiscal rule that any surpluses above a certain benchmark price of crude oil goes to that savings account,” he said. “And with that, we were able to get rid of all our foreign debt.”
El-Rufai said that Nigeria’s fiscal health was at its best in 2007, such that when the global financial crisis took place in 2008, “Nigeria did not feel anything.”
“Nothing was felt in Nigeria because Nigeria had a big savings account; we had huge reserves and we were able to absorb the shock without any internal problems unlike most countries,” he said.
The Kaduna politician added that long-term and coordinated planning, as well as the inclusion of all stakeholders, are crucial to achieving accelerated economic growth.