Reps fire finance minister with 50 questions on economy

The House of Representatives Finance committee, following a stormy session during which lawmakers fired the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with 50 questions on the state of the economy of the nation after which they walked out on her.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala had earlier presented the budget proposals for 2014 to the Senate and the House of Representatives, before meeting the house finance committee.

The minister said she was indisposed and only responded to her invitation out of respect for the legislature.

But when lawmakers offered to excuse her due to her health, but with a condition she responds to 50 questions in writing within two weeks, the minister backtracked choosing instead to answer the questions at the meeting.

Exchanges between the minister and the committee chairman, Abdulmumini Jibrin, quickly escalated with Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala accusing the committee of being disrespectful.

Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

“With all due respect, I will not tell your committee that I’m feeling fine when I’m not. We have had good working relationship with your committee; I thought we’ll be treated with courtesy, but the way you’re starting is a bit disturbing,” the minister said.

Mr. Jibrin said the committee had ruled that she be allowed to go and respond to the questions.

“We don’t want any haphazard answers,” he said.

The minister insisted on being heard, but was asked to leave.

“I’m sorry Honorable Minister. You can only decide what happens in the Finance Ministry and not in the House,” Mr. Jibrin said.

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