• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Between Tinubu’s blame game and governance (Part 2)

Tinubu hails Dangote over 60% crash in diesel prices

According to Shettima, instead of waiting till 2027, desperate politicians who could not get to power through the ballot box were hell-bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy.

But Shettima conveniently forgets that when there is sufficient supply, the issue of hoarding is clearly untenable as the current administration is alleging. It’s only a fool that will hoard fuel, rice, beans or other products where sufficient supply prevails.

Read also: Between Tinubu’s blame game and governance (Part 1)

Signs that the immediate past Nigerian President may collide with Tinubu, his successor, emerged when Tinubu told the ministers, Presidential Aides and Permanent Secretaries at a two – day retreat with him at the Villa that things may not be going down well as expected because he had accepted the assets and liabilities of the former President Buhari.

But renowned economist Bismarck Rewane called on the federal government to dump the blame game and come out clean with people on the situation of the economy and what is being done to tackle the current challenges. He said the government must take urgent action to reverse the trend because “doing nothing is now a recipe for chaos.”

Speaking on national television recently, Rewane stated that, “First of all you have to understand, you have to implement efficiently because the consequence of misunderstanding is disorderly change and disorderly change is not what we want. It is a recipe for chaos.

“The truth is that you have to be honest with yourself and you have to understand that there is no quick fix. Come clean to the Nigerian people, tell them this is the extent of the problem.

“So come clean, block the leakages, look for competence. Competence is more important at this time than loyalty. So look for competence and ensure that you execute efficiently.

Nigerians are indeed facing hard times over high cost of living and inflation. Already protests are being held in several states over the high cost of living.

On the solution to the crisis, Rewane said printing more money “Is the panacea for inflation and inflation is the beginning and the end of the currency and the end of the currency is the beginning of political crisis.

His words: “First of all, you have to increase productivity, but that is also not a quick fix… evolve “Fiscal policy that would incentivize productivity, concessioning the roads, concessioning the airports, and taking government out of those entities where they have no competence, either they don’t have the competence or they don’t have the integrity to run those businesses; let them get out of there and use the increased revenue from subsidy reductions and exchange rate realignment; let them use that to do the new things they have to do.”

Read also: Tinubu approves FCT’s N1.1trn 2024 statutory budget

According to Retson Tedheke, writing almost ten years ago, “The Nigerian reality will only change when we are able to do the following: Feed our people & become a net exporter of food; Refine enough petroleum products for the Nigerian market & become a net exporter of finished products; and begin the processes of educating our people on the importance of the Nigerianization of our economy in all aspects.

He further prescribed that Nigeria should be “Be prepared to subsidise local production, local manufacturing, local consumption & local industrialization; Be ready to damn the consequences & impose currency as well as capital control; Be audacious enough to impose debilitating tariffs & outright ban if necessary for what Nigeria can produce; Be ready to borrow more for capital expenditure & massive infrastructural developments nationwide and be prepared to enforce fiscal sanity, discipline & financial accountability across all levels of governments in Nigeria.

Crucially, the Tinubu administration must note there is no recorded success of devaluation & currency floatation for any developing economy in crisis historically.

It is a given that capital & currency control, infant industry protection, debilitating tariffs, local manufacturers subsidies are the hallmark of the growth of all the advanced economies today with the exception of Switzerland and The Netherlands.

If Tinubu could be bothered, then he needs to look at just two out of several tenable success intervention models from countries which experienced economic crunches but leveraged vision, discipline and courage to change their nation’s narratives.

Just recently, Reuters reported that Argentina’s embattled markets are showing signs of doubling down on the country’s no holds barred libertarian leader Javier Milei, betting he can pull the economy out of crisis.

Amid a painful economic downturn and with the government strapped for cash, President Milei made tough austerity a key focus since taking office in December, helping the country post its first monthly fiscal surplus for over a decade in January, music to the ears of investors after years of over-spending.

Both Milei and Tinubu took over in 2023 and inherited a disoriented economy, but both applied different measures to recovery.

Read also: Tinubu to attend Senegalese President inauguration

Also Nigeria’s current quandary recalls the condition in the US when Barack Obama assumed power in 2009. Obama became American president in January 2009, two years after America entered a severe financial crisis that began in 2007.

The economy reportedly lost nearly 3.6 million jobs in 2008. Also, major financial institutions either collapsed or were forced into mergers. Despite the precarious situation of the economy, Obama did not waste his time blaming his predecessor in office, but rather focused his attention and energy on how to rescue the situation, because that was why he was elected. Obamanomics wrought the economic magic to alter the US trajectory.


Chukwuma writes from Lagos.