• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Tinubu’s bold reforms: A testament to courage and patriotism

Tinubu’s bold reforms: A testament to courage and patriotism

By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye

In my recent article titled – ‘Tinubu: boldly steering Nigeria’s economy towards stability and growth’, published by several mainstream media in Nigeria, especially, BusinessDay, The Nation and The Guardian, I analysed various situations that posed severe challenges towards Nigeria’s economy and the bold steps being taken by the current president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to counter these challenges and drive the change we all have been clamouring for. These bold implementations and rules that once pitched Nigerians against the current government have now looked to be the ‘promising saviour’ that Nigerians direly need to navigate towards economic growth and stability

In the ever-changing scope of Nigerian politics and economy, where uncertainty looms large and promises are often left broken, President Tinubu’s administration has personally been a source of renewed hope and inspiration, influencing the expectation of Nigerians for a better economy that has been promised for over half a century without fulfilment.

Over the years in Nigeria, I have witnessed the struggles of ordinary citizens battling with economic hardship and political uncertainty. Two major things that the ordinary citizens hardly understand are how they are influenced. The huge difference between the official and parallel exchange rates, which has always been driven by corruption and exploitation, continuously posed a barrier to economic progress. However, with Tinubu’s decision to float the Naira, Nigeria, a nation that imports virtually all that she consumes, has witnessed a remarkable transformation in our currency exchange system.

Gone are the days when there are multiple exchange rates and most elites hoard foreign currency for profit racketeering. Tinubu’s decision to float the naira, a decision that should have been made years ago, has not only brought transparency and accountability to our financial system but has also restored faith in our economy. Unlike the previous government that exhausted 23 trillion Naira in eight years in order to manage Naira, which amounted to nothing positive, Tinubu took the bold step – floating the naira.

Recently, some opposition figures, most of whom are arm-chaired, tackled the present government over the decline in government foreign reserves. And truly, data from CBN as of the 5th of April, 2024, shows Nigeria foreign reserves to have declined from $34.45 billion to $33.69 billion, a development they say calls for concern. But I am compelled to applaud the government’s bold steps in clearing all the backlog of major forex payments to foreign airlines, petroleum marketers, and multinationals, which caused this decline. Nigerians noting the importance of the clearance of these backlogs is paramount for us to have a clear understanding of what influences Africa’s biggest economy instead of listening to sad tales from perennial election losers seeking for relevance through peddling of falsehood and propaganda.

Nigeria has over $1 billion in forex forwards that have matured, and it posed major concern for investors as foreign currency shortages continue to depreciate the Naira. So, the bold step the current government took in clearing the backlogs would continuously appreciate Naira and further drive investors to Nigeria. We all know foreign investors would only invest in a favourable economy. I strongly believe in the profound impact that these reforms will have on the nation’s economic stability and growth.

Currently, the management of fuel importation subsidies by the NNPC has proven the efficiency of Tinubu’s economic policies. It is heartening for Nigerians to see subsidies being utilised as a tool for fostering economic stability and growth rather than burdening the national budget or being embezzled by powerful office holders. In my previous report, I noted how fuel subsidy removal has led to the increment of all states and councils monthly allocations. One of the most significant changes I have observed in this current economy is the increase in FAAC allocations to states and local councils following the removal of subsidies.

Through the analysis of data provided by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, most states have seen a substantial increase in funding, enabling them to embark on crucial infrastructure projects that benefit ordinary citizens since they are closer to the grassroot government. According to a report by the BusinessDay, Nasarawa state’s monthly average FAAC allocation rose by 185.3 percent to N12.39 billion post-subsidy removal from N4.34 billion pre-subsidy removal, while that of Enugu increased by 94.3 percent to N6.72 billion from N3.47 billion. Anambra, Ogun, Ebonyi, Kogi, Bauchi, Plateau, Niger and Sokoto saw increases of 74.1 percent, 66.3 percent, 53.6 percent, 51.9 percent, 51.5 percent, 51.4 percent, 50.9 percent and 50.5 respectively. This means more allocation for the local governments, too, the closest to Nigerians to implement effective policies that would benefit the citizens directly. This tremendous increase wouldn’t have been possible without fuel subsidy removal, a bold step taken by Tinubu to promote economic growth. Hence, Nigerians should extend the tentacle of their demand for accountability to their Governors and local government chairmen and not Tinubu alone.

Looking forward to the future of Nigeria’s economy if the current government keeps up the pace, I am filled with great optimism about Nigeria’s growth even though at a slow pace. The beginning of operation of local refineries like the Dangote refinery will enhance self-sufficiency and reduce our dependence on foreign imports. Projections by the International Monetary Fund states that increased domestic refining capacity is expected to promote Nigeria’s position in the global market and enhance our economic resilience. What more would be great than experiencing this growth together?

A recent happening that has immersed Nigerians home and abroad in the pool of pride remains the huge appreciation of the Naira compared to a few months ago when 1 United States Dollar was exchanged for 1950 Naira. In Nigeria today, Naira to Dollar has appreciated $1 to 1,100 Naira, leaving Nigerians with a sense of pride and confidence over President Tinubu’s economic decisions. Many Nigerians, who had left home to seek opportunities abroad, are now expressing a desire to return home, drawn by the promise of a revitalised economy and improved living standards. Speaking to a friend of mine some days back, analysing the economic future of Nigeria, in his words,

“If a pound should ever equal one thousand naira, I would rather come back home to return to my business rather than continue slaving away in another man’s land, earning 2,500 pounds and use it all on house rent, utility bills and tax.”

His words proved to me that even though people are miles away from home, it is not by choice, and many are awaiting their father’s land transformative journey, to offer us all what we deserve as the true children of the land. While it is imperative to note that these changes are not extraordinary, they could have been implemented years back, and who knows, Nigeria might have been on the global chart for its economic prowess. The previous leaders lacked the courage and patriotism to implement these strategic moves that could have pitched them against the citizens, but Tinubu’s determination remains unwavering even in the face of adversity.

My journey of reflection on Tinubu’s bold reforms has reaffirmed my belief in the power of courage and patriotism to effect meaningful change. While several challenges remain, I am inspired by the resolve of the present government and fellow citizens to build a brighter future for Nigeria. As we continue on this journey together, I am filled with hope and determination to contribute my part towards our nation’s progress and prosperity.

Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye is a Communication-for-development expert, sent this piece from London, United Kingdom. He can be reached via [email protected]