Former Nigeria Minister Of Fianance, Okongwu Passes on

LAGOS JANUARY 13TH (NEWSRANGERS)-An economist and a former Minister of Finance between 1986 and 1990, Prof. Chu S. P. Okongwu, has died.

He was 87.

The Anambra State-born Harvard-trained economist, who was also the National Planning Minister between 1985 and 1986, served under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige yesterday expressed shock at the former minister’s death.

A statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said: “President Buhari extends heartfelt condolences to the Okongwu family on the passing of the foremost economist and a former Minister of Finance, Prof. Chu Okongwu.

“The President joins family, friends and associates in paying tributes to a man of many parts, who never hesitated to give his best to Nigeria as a broadcaster with the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS), sub-editor at the (defunct) Daily Times of Nigeria; lecturer at University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and a Federal Minister of National Planning and later, Finance.

“President Buhari believes that the perspectives the late Professor brought to governance and economics, which centered on improving the lives of Nigerians, will not be forgotten.

“The President prays for the repose of the soul of the departed and divine comfort for his family during this difficult time.”

In his condolence message, Ngige said: “Chu had a long sojourn in the public service, starting from when he pulled from the Ivy League schools in the United States, where he was a lecturer in econometrics, to join the East Central State Government of Ajie Ukpabi Asika as Director of Planning.

“His emergence under the Babangida administration, first as the Minister of National Planning, later Finance, and subsequently Petroleum, was no surprise for Chu was a star.

“Even when in the management of the economy, that military regime felt there was no alternative to the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), Chu went for a variant, whose fulcrum revolved around diversification in order to widen the national revenue base.

“He established the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to ensure optimal utilisation of our rural land, to boost agriculture and produce abundant food for the nation.

“He was a true Igbo son. His towering height in public life notwithstanding, his Nnewi roots never departed from him. He was a personal friend and his death, a personal loss.”

The Nation

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