Obi said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance, and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, begged the Federal Government to build its savings but the governors kicked against the idea.
Speaking on CNBC Africa, Obi said he was not against the Muhammadu Buhari government’s plan to borrow, but was against borrowing without a plan.
Obi said: “I was in government when the likes of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Aganga, Sanusi were crying that we should save; we collectively said we don’t want savings, and we are now in this mess. We cannot afford to increase it by going to borrow without a clear road map on what we would use it for.
“People start saving in crisis. Go and check most nations that save.They started it in crisis situation, because they could see the point of not saving yesterday, and that is where we are.
“I have said it before that even if we saved five percent of all our oil earnings from 1960 to date, which is about $1.2 trillion, considering a compound interest of about five percent, we should have about $150 billion today.”
Obi said the country could put up a savings plan that helps prepare for tomorrow, and could possibly allow government to borrow today.
He said: “Imagine what would have been happening if we were in that situation. That was 56 years ago; we have 44 years to our 100th year of independence.
“What I am saying is that if we decide today to save on 50 per cent of our budgeted output of 2.2 million barrels per day, if we decide to save on just 1 million barrels per day, with our earnings at $50 per barrel, in the next 44 years, we would be at 50 to 60 billion dollars.
“I was in government when Ngozi-Iweala was crying meeting after meeting, let’s save money; we need to save for a rainy day. We said no. Some said this woman should not be found near this country.”