Nigeria’s Economic Woes; Who’s to blame?

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President Buhari. Picture Source / citypeopleng.com

Ever since the “change administration” of President Muhammadu Buhari began, Nigeria has been through some heavy economic and financial woes. Despite different plans and policies, nothing seems to be quite working, as the economy has taken a steady downward spiral.

In fact, Reuters reported on Friday, August 26, “the naira hit an all time record low of N412 to $1 on the parallel market”.

As reported on Nigerianreporter.com, the Finance Minister, Ms. Kemi Adeosun declared that the country is in a “technical recession” on the senate floor.

In a bid to revive the falling economy a total overhauling is needed in the country’s financial and economic sector. Some Nigerians are blaming the current economic team for fostering policies that are hindering the growth of the economy.

Recently the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a directive that a Pilgrim’s Traveling Allowance (PTA) should be sold to pilgrims at N197 to $1, a decision that was denigrated by many.

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Logo of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Picture Source / Lagoschamber.com

A report by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) tagged “The economy after one year of Buhari’s administration” released on May 27, 2016, outlines the deplorable performance of the nation’s economy, as a result of “the absence of a well structured, broad-based, and synergized economic blueprint with clearly stated goals, plans, policies, and strategies to drive the economy”.

The report further says: “There is, therefore, urgent need for central policy strategy with detailed and well-designed policy direction. This is critical to effective and efficient coordination and implementation of policy. While the policy goal of eliminating corruption is laudable, the need for concerted effort on the side of the government with respect to policy, legal, and regulatory environments in order to boost private sector participation is highly desirable. Improving the ease of doing business through efficient business environment vis-à-vis effective infrastructure in all facets of the economy is pertinent. It is imperative to make very strong moves to resolve the weakening oil revenue and find creative ways of incentivizing forex inflow to Nigeria so as to boost liquidity and ease access to Forex through alternative sources such as FDI in critical sectors of the economy and diaspora remittances.

The president has come under the critique of Ms. Oby Ezekwesili as well, the former minister of education said that the president’s economic policy is increasing poverty rates in Nigeria. She said his policies are outdated, irrelevant, and opaque. She explained that the “command and control” system currently being operated by the government will hinder free market economy as it did during the president’s military regime as head of state (1983-1985).

During Buhari’s period of military rule Nigeria equally suffered immense hardship and un-foreseen economic turmoil. The then head of state staunchly opposed the devaluation of naira, leading to scarcity of virtually every household commodity. Soldiers delivered the commodities at a controlled price, and were rumored to whip people mercilessly during delivery rounds.

Unless the president wants to continue to watch history repeat itself, he has to take drastic measures to salvage the economic sector before it flat lines.