- We’ve lost faith in you, Nigerians tell Buhari
- Don’t listen to prophets of doom – Presidency
Barely 16 months into President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Nigerians across various sectors appear to have lost faith in the Federal Government, saying that the government had failed to deliver on its electoral promises as stated before the 2015 general elections.
A nationwide survey by The Point on whether the government could still deliver on its promises in the areas of security, welfare package and reviving the economy had presented a disenchanted citizenry, who are in need of a lifeline from government.
Many experts told The Point in separate interviews that there was an urgent need for the FG to admit that it had failed on its political and economic policies, to avoid greater casualties, arising from increasing insecurity, poverty level, inflation, high lending rate and the continuing drop in the standard of living of Nigerians.
Captains of industries across the six geo-political zones, who had pleaded with Nigerians to give the current administration some time to transform the country, have also lost their patience, saying the ravaging state of the nation is a sharp contradiction of the high expectation of the 15.4 million Nigerians that voted for the President.
The experts also frowned at the series of policy reversals of the Buhari administration, which they believe had featured in previous governments, especially the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan, being criticised by the present administration so bluntly.
They expect the President to restrategise on its approaches to pressing political and socioeconomic issues so that the electorate who voted him into power would be beneficiaries and not victims of such policies.
Recession may not end soon – EXPERTS
The Deputy National Coordinator, Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, Prof. Ganiyu Oladapo, said, considering the pace at which the government was addressing the real issues, the recession in the Nigerian economy might linger.
According to him, the impact of the recession will be worse than the crisis erupting in the aviation, banking, education, manufacturing and insurance sectors. Once the government had failed to save when it had excess, he argued, recession could not be avoided.
“It will come with more pains because more employers are expected to slash salaries of workers,” he said.
But does President Buhari’s administration possess what it takes to save the country from recession?
“It depends on a lot of factors. Many of our present leaders are self-centred because they do not have the interest of the nation at heart. They don’t consider the development of the economy in decisionmaking, all they care about is their comfort; and that is what is killing Nigeria,” Oladapo explained. The chartered economist, however, stressed that for government to tackle recession, some cabinet members and legislators must be re-orientated or shown the way out of government.
Speaking in the same vein, a senior lecturer at the Lagos Business School, Dr. Bongo Adi, told The Point that the FG lacked competent hands in its economic team to tackle the menace.
He expects President Buhari’s administration to emulate what the United States of America’s government did during the 2007/08 economic meltdown when it injected stimulus fund into its financial system to ease the pressure of the recession on the nation.
Adi wants the government to release such fund into the financial system in order boost liquidity.
However, he stressed that the administration also needed to address increasing inflation and exchange rate issues in order to cushion the effect of the stimulus fund else, it would be like a Greek gift.
He opined that it was obvious that the recession would last longer than government envisaged, considering the performance of the Gross Domestic Product, which dropped from 2.35 per cent as at end of first quarter of 2016 to 1.70 per cent points by the end of second quarter of 2016.
“Things will not change till the government engages competent hands from the private sector to help transform the economy. It is difficult to speculate the exact time the pressure will ease off but funds should be injected to attract more investors to the economy and that can be done when lending rate is reduced drastically. No genuine investor can be encouraged to invest in the economy now at such a high rate because the business environment does not aid quick refund of such credit facility,” he explained.
Also, a former military administrator of Oyo State and former Minister of Police Affairs, Major-Gen. David Jemibewon, insisted that the inability of the government to plan for the future led the nation into recession.
“There was no proper plan for development of this country. And apart from that, we made oil our major source of income and abandoned diversification of the economy.
The unfortunate thing n o w is that this administration has not made any substantial move to diversify the economy and that means if care is not taken, we will repeat the same error made by previous administrations,” he said.
He urged the FG to plan and release fund to attract investors to other sectors of the economy before it is too late.
“We should have channelled our revenue from oil on reproduction and manufacturing of things that would help us. We should have ensured that infrastructure like roads, railway, housing, manufacturing and others are well taken care of, so that today when we face recession, these areas will be sources of income to save us,” Jemibewon noted.
Speaking on the effect of the recession in the country, the former minister said that the alarming situation had led to other unfortunate occurrences in the polity.
“The recession has aggravated poverty, poor economy, hardship, robbery and other unfortunate occurrences for us. Today, we continue to increase in population but we don’t have anything to absorb our people. We produce graduates every day, yet there is no employment for them. We are in a big problem in Nigeria,” he added.
CRIME UP BY 50% – SECURITY EXPERTS
Security experts have also frowned at the inability of the government to fight recession, saying that this has led to an increase in the crime rate across the country. The Managing Director, 360 Degree Limited, a security firm, Mr. Mathew Babatunde, alleged that the economic recession caused by Buhari’s administration had increased crime rate by 50 per cent between January and May, 2016.
According to him, the menace had increased the rate of robberies, kidnappings and fraud across the six geo-political zones in the country.
“Recession births job losses and inflation, and that means disposable income will be limited with the tendency to raise the bar in both crimes and criminality. We have a peculiar situation here in Nigeria right now where we are fighting two high and low intensity wars. When you add this to insufficient disposable income from people, you have a very toxic situation, because even when things were good, we had a lot of criminalities, a lot of insecurity in the land. You can imagine what it would be now that the country’s economy is officially in recession,” he stated.
WE WON’T REST UNTIL RECESSION IS OVER- FG
However, the Presidency has restated its commitment to ensuring that the country comes out of the ongoing recession as soon as possible.
The spokesperson of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, told The Point that the government was working round the clock to ensure Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief very soon.
He said, “The President has made his stand known on this and it will not change. He is not resting until Nigerians are relieved from the pressure of the economic meltdown.
“Nigerians should not listen to different speculations of doom by some experts. Whatever anyone likes they can say, but things will turn around for the country very soon. The Ministry of Finance will give the true picture of the current situation of the economy soon.”