The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, recalled the events leading up to the establishment of the Debt Management Office (DMO) while serving as Vice President under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration between 1999 and 2007.
Speaking at the 26th Lagos Business School (LBS) Alumni Conference held in Lagos, Atiku explained that when the PDP was elected into government in 1999, marking the beginning of the Fourth Republic, the party really did not have a policy document.
“When the PDP was elected into government in 1999, we really did not have a policy document. We didn’t have a plan. We met a country that was heavily indebted, that was in crisis between the various component parts of the country, and so on,” he said.
Atiku said during a trip to the annual International Monetary Fund-World Bank conference in Washington, he visited the World Bank to outline Nigeria’s debt problem.
“(I told them) we don’t know why we’re owing, whom we’re owing, for what, what the money was meant for, and so on. In other words, we didn’t have any records in the Ministry of Finance. Then the World Bank officials said, ‘Look, we have a brilliant Nigerian in this bank.’
“I said, ‘Can you please loan her to us?’ And I was introduced to our former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. I came back and told the president and we invited her to join us. From there, we realised had to set up what we called the Debt Management Office (DMO).