• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Tinubu’s one year of significant achievements and notable challenges

The days of TINUBUlation are here!

By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye

May 29th, 2024, marks Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s one year in office as the president of Nigeria. The year has been a roller coaster ride, leaving Nigerians with mixed feelings amid the down-spiralling economy that has befallen the nation. The country, known for its vibrant culture, vast resources, and dynamic population, is currently grappling with a significant hunger crisis, with the poverty level increasing daily.

This crisis presents a formidable challenge for President Bola Tinubu, whose leadership is under scrutiny by the masses. While acknowledging the difficulties and criticisms, it is important to evaluate Tinubu’s overall efforts and strategies employed over the course of the year in addressing the economic situation, giving a balanced view that highlights both the positive strides and the areas needing improvement.

Read also: Minimum Wage: Tinubu meets FG team as committee shelves talks, embarks on consultations

Immediately after assuming office, the president’s first step was removing the gasoline subsidy, a significant economic reform that should be applauded. This bold move, which even former presidents could not undertake, aimed at reducing the financial burden on the government and redirecting the funds into more productive sectors. Although the removal of the subsidy has been painful for Nigerians due to the rise in fuel prices, it is a necessary pain required for Nigeria to grow. The goal is to ensure that the subsidy money is directed at the nation’s development rather than into the pockets of political cabals.

Another major policy change was the decision to float the Nigerian naira, allowing market forces to determine its value. This is to unify the multiple exchange rates that have plagued the economy and created distortions. Compared to when the country deals with a parallel exchange rate, the adoption is a more transparent and market-driven approach. The administration hoped to attract foreign investment, boost exports, and stabilise the economy.

The floating of the naira initially led to some volatility and inflationary pressures. However, it has also increased transparency in the foreign exchange market and made it more attractive for investors. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been actively managing the transition, ensuring that adequate measures are in place to cushion the impact on the economy.

Tinubu’s administration has focused on economic reforms and diversification. Noting Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil revenue, during his one year, Tinubu has championed policies aimed at revitalising other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture, manufacturing, and technology. His government launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which will help stimulate economic growth through targeted investments and reforms. Several initiatives are being implemented to improve the business environment, attract foreign direct investment, and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The administration’s efforts have started to show results, even though they are minimal and the future might be less challenging.

The ongoing construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Motorway is a testament that the government prioritises infrastructural development. The completion of the Second Niger Bridge and the expansion of the rail network are other notable examples. These projects would help to enhance trade, reduce travel time, and create jobs.

Another giant feat is the implementation of the student loan for Nigerian students, aimed at increasing the literacy rate and ensuring that education is accessible to all Nigerians. Within one year, the focus was on improving access, and quality investments in educational infrastructure, teacher training, and the school feeding programme have had a positive impact. The administration’s emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, like the implementation of the 3MTT programme to empower Nigerian youths, is preparing the youths for future job markets, promoting innovation, and driving economic growth.

Read also: FCT infrastructure development is priority, says Tinubu

Despite these achievements, Tinubu’s administration blasted Nigerians with a truckload of challenges. A major challenge remains the insecurity issues that continued under Tinubu’s leadership. Security threats like kidnapping, insurgency in the northeast, banditry in the northwest, and communal conflicts in other regions continue to be on the rise. While the administration has taken steps to enhance security, including increasing funding for the military and police and launching community policing initiatives, the impact has been limited or nonexistent.

To counter most challenges that plague Nigeria, like unemployment, the hunger crisis, and industrial production, and improve economic development, eradicating insecurity in Nigeria must take the forefront in nation-building. The economy can never thrive in a nation with security challenges. No bodies or countries would invest in an unsafe country. The persistent security challenges have affected economic activities, particularly in agriculture and rural development, due to numerous people being displaced from their homes and farmlands. A more robust and comprehensive strategy is needed to address the root causes of insecurity, including poverty, unemployment, and social inequality.

Another area of concern is rising inflation and the high cost of living. Despite efforts to stabilise the economy, inflation has remained high, driven by factors such as supply chain disruptions, exchange rate volatility, and increased fuel prices. This has eroded the purchasing power of Nigerians, particularly affecting all households. Reports have shown that the number of people living below the poverty line in Nigeria has doubled.

To tackle this issue, Tinubu’s administration needs to implement policies that promote economic stability, control inflation, and protect the most vulnerable populations. This includes measures to boost domestic production, manage currency fluctuations, and provide targeted subsidies or support.

President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office can be said to have been a period of significant achievements and notable challenges. His administration has made commendable progress in areas such as economic reforms, infrastructure development, agriculture, social welfare, education, and health. These efforts reflect his commitment to driving sustainable development and improving the lives of Nigerians.

However, more needs to be done to elevate Nigeria from its current status of being poverty-entrenched. Several challenges, like implementation challenges, security concerns, and economic pressures, remain areas where further improvement is needed. Addressing these issues will require continued focus, effective governance, and collaboration with various stakeholders. Though the one-year seems hard and unpredictable, the feats achieved in the short time frame are a testament to how Tinubu’s administration will move Nigeria forward if the current challenges are addressed. Building on its successes and learning from its challenges will be crucial for achieving its vision of a prosperous and stable Nigeria.

 

Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye is a Strategic Communications Expert based in London, United Kingdom.