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Serving as finance minister under Obasanjo, Jonathan tough – Okonjo-Iweala

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Former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed that in all the positions she has occupied, serving as Minister of Finance in Nigeria remains one of her toughest jobs so far.

Okonjo-Iweala, who has occupied several high-level positions locally and internationally including serving as the Finance Minister under former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, explained that finance ministers usually have many enemies, including their colleagues and bosses, because they have to decline certain requests.

She however said she was very proud to have served Nigeria in that capacity for seven years.

She also stated that her greatest accomplishment was her four children.

Okonjo-Iweala said these on Friday at a webinar organised by the Emmanuel Chapel, themed, ‘Economic sustainability beyond COVID-19’ while responding to questions from one of the moderators, Prof Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), on her most difficult task so far.

She said, “That’s a tough question, but I will answer it this way; being finance minister was a tough job because nobody likes finance ministers; your colleagues don’t like you, your boss may not even like you because you are in the business of saying no.

“You have to say no to your colleagues and sometimes to your boss. So, it’s a very difficult position all over the world. Former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, once told me he calculated the average tenure of finance minister and we rechecked what he said sometime ago, it’s two years.

“They don’t last very long because it’s such a tough job. So, I’m very proud I was able to do seven years in Abuja and the longest finance minister in our history if you combine the two terms. So, that’s huge for me.”

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