Former Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has stated that former President Olusegun Obasanjo yielded the most successful in terms of economic growth, job creation, and inflation rate in Nigeria.
Obasanjo governed Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, as the first democratically elected leader of the fourth republic.
El-Rufai who served as a minister under Obasanjo, said Nigeria experienced economic prosperity during Obasanjo’s second term extending from 2003 till 2007.
Rufai said Nigeria returned to “proper integrated planning and we also got lucky” at the time.
“We have a planning commission in Nigeria but it has not been as effective.” El-Rufai said on Friday, September 15 during a session at the Africa In the World conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
“If you look at Nigeria’s economic trajectory, the most successful four to five-year period of economic growth, job creation, and reduced inflation was the period of the second term of President Obasanjo in 2003 to 2007, when for the first time, the country went back into proper integrated planning and we also got lucky,” he said.
“Oil prices began to rise but we did not waste the windfall because we had planned. We had an excess crude account (ECA) that was based on fiscal rule that any surpluses above a certain benchmark price of crude oil goes to that savings account.
“And with that, we were able to get rid of all our foreign debt.”
El-Rufai said Nigeria’s fiscal strength 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.