New Telegraph

Nothing to Cheer in Tinubu’s One Year In Office –Prof Obiaraeri

…says govt hasn’t been intentional in its actions

Prof. Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri is an investment banker, a development economist and a volunteer change agent. OBIARAERI in this report, presents his perspective on why President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s fiscal and economic policies seem to be failing. Excerpts:

Evaluation of the one year in office of Tinubu

There is no gainsaying the fact that the President BolaTinubu’s adminis- tration has struggled through the year, and as far as Nigerians are concerned, it has failed, as all the economic performance indices affirm that this administration has fared quite poorly with the evident economic crunch and biting hardship inflicted on Nigerians. There is nothing or so little yet, to cheer about after one year in office of this administration.

There seems to be a ‘trial and error’ approach to economic policies under Tinubu, what’s your take?

The president has refused to frontally confront the real challenges facing his administration and militating against his achieving his vision of a $1trn Dollar economy, up from the current $252bn sized economy. They seem to have heaped the responsibility on what Yemi Cardoso and CBN can come up with, instead of taking the needed decisive actions. As a matter of fact, there are no monetary policy tools or intervention mechanisms available to Cardoso and CBN that will checkmate inflation, food insecurity, forex price and instability, mass poverty and eroded purchasing power of the average Nigerian. I strongly believe that 95 percent of the current challenges bedeviling Nigeria and its solutions lie squarely at the doorposts of the Presidency, Governors, legislators and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)

How do you mean?

It is not the duty of Yemi Cardoso to execute forensic investigations of the conspicuous heist and criminality going on in the downstream oil and gas sector, or to sack those, who have refused to repent and stop the inefficiencies and roguery in the sector. Remember that somebody printed and looted N23trn, plus the accrued N7trn interests on it through ways and means; somebody left $7bn unpaid Letter of Credit obligations at the CBN; somebody borrowed and raised the external debts of Nigeria from $10bn on June 30, 2015 to the current levels of $45bn and still rising. These debts must be serviced and repaid. Somebody created and supervised the massive heist and inefficiencies in Nigeria’s upstream oil and gas sector that saw to the daily depletion of our crude oil output from 2.43m barrels a day in 2014/15 to the current woeful level of 1.2m barrels a day. It is not the job of Cardoso to stop the criminals responsible for the massive $1.9bn oil revenues that are lost every month ($22bn annually). Somebody or group of persons criminally jerked up Nigeria’s daily pms import and consumption figures from the average of 22million to 28million liters a day (between 2000 to 2009) to the criminal levels of 66million liters, 73million liters, 93million liters (between 2016 to 2023); and now to the current fraudulent levels of 61mil- lion liters a day (January and February 2024 figures) and nothing decisive has been done to redress this.

Whose job is it to make the refineries work, after Nigeria has wasted N16trn /$34bn between 2015 and 2023 on failed Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and Subsidies payments, without fixing the refineries?

Whose responsibility is it to design policies and programmes that will attract massive inflow of FDIs / FDRs into Nigeria, and stop the exit of big conglomerates out of Nigeria? Take intentional steps to reform the institutional frameworks in Nigeria, to enhance transparency and accountability in our policing and justice administration systems, which will boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria (both domestic and foreign inv e s t o r s ) . Impuni – ty must stop if we must take any step forward. T h o s e e l e c t e d into exec- utive positions and legislative offices must wield their powers in the interest of Nigeria before any meaningful progress can be made Nigeria cannot stop or curtail the current food insecurity and inflation in Nigeria without boosting produc- tion, by stopping the increasing menace of banditry in Nigeria, a menace that has reduced food production by an estimated 60% Nigeria cannot easily fix the forex volatility without shoring up the supply side of the dollar inflows into Nigeria.

How do you shore up the supply side?

By increasing crude oil output to 2.5m barrels a day and stopping the forex leakages at the NNPC; by fixing the refineries and making them to work, and stopping the inflated and bogus PMS import figures down to the 32m to 38m liters actual and real daily import/ consumption. We cannot boost non-oil export revenues, unless we fix the insecurity, fix infrastructure, boost ease of doing business and export of goods through our exit ports (sea and air), and then, fix power and insecurity.

So what is the point?

My point is that all these responsibilities I have enumerated rest on no other person’s shoulder except Pres- ident Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The firm decisions and actions needed under the circumstance can only be taken by Mr. President and nobody else. As long as Mr President and his kitchen cabinet refuse to do massive clear out, sack and remove all the identified fiscal centres of larceny, inefficiencies, corruptions, wicked- ness, impunity and economic decays within the MDAs and Parastatals under his supervision. By next MPC meeting, I will even encourage Yemi Cardoso to increase MPR to 30% to attract inflows from FPIs. Yemi Cardoso cannot use his blood to defend the Naira. We must stop the madness that started in 2015 under Buhari’s atrocious regime, and which has continued with those he left behind even till today in our oil and gas industry. Only God knows why Mr President is yet to pull the needed urgent sack triggers. Do they have anything that is scaring him?

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