Nigeria is a rich country full of poor people.
Although, there is a growing middle class, it is hard to roam the streets from Lagos to Jalingo and not see how many resources are being funneled to the very rich, and how few go to the very poor.
Kemi Adeosun born in Ogun State was raised in the UK but has been appointed as Finance Minister to steer Nigeria out of its current economic challenges.
Adeosun said prior to confirmation that “I believe in this country…Nigeria has every possibility of becoming a top 20 country”. Nigeria currently ranks 21st in the GDP world rankings so this is not too far-fetched a goal under the Buhari administration.
However, with government officials continually being accused of being the orchestrators of industrial scale theft, Adeosun has a lot to prove.
The finance minister hopes to achieve 4.2 percent GDP growth with the new 2016 finance budget. There is also a focus on increasing taxes and reducing fuel subsidies, all while plugging leakages in theft by political officials. As The Economist reports, “at 7%, Nigeria’s tax-to-GDP ratio is pitifully low. Every percentage point increase could yield $5 billion of extra cash for the coffers, reckons Kayode Akindele of TIA Capital, an investment firm. Buhari also plans to save some $5 billion – $7 billion a year by ending fuel subsidies.”
However, varying reports say that Adeosun is simply unfit to serve.
Specifically, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, published a defamatory mandate for the President and Senate to not elect the finance minister among the nominees for the position prior to her election. As the mandate reads: Adeosun has been parading dual citizenship (British/Nigerian); a status that constitutionally disqualifies her from holding such office, [Adeosun’s] questionable and self-beneficial transactions of government businesses, wastefulness and acquisition of questionable wealth are an affront to an administration that promised to be corrupt-free.
The Economist also published an article after a visit from International Monetary Fund Chief, Christine Lagarde that Adeosun was ill-qualified.
Despite the media flak, for the sake of Adeosun and the country we can only hope the minister’s finance decisions help build a stronger Nigerian economy, with a stronger naira, and a diversified economic exportation system.