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Nigeria: Tougher Economic Measures Underway after Buhari’s Inauguration

The fang of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policy is likely to bite the citizenry harder after the president’s low-key second-term inauguration.

Under the Buhari economics, Buharinomics, Nigeria slipped into recession in 2016 as a result of lower oil prices and production that was equally exacerbated by insurgency in the Niger Delta, the country’s main oil and region.

This was coupled with detrimental economic policies, including foreign exchange restrictions. However, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth turned positive in 2017 as oil prices recovered and output stabilised.

The current perception by some strategic thinkers is that President Buhari will insist on increasing transparency, effectively diversify the economy away from oil, and improve fiscal management.

To this end, the president is expected to take a protectionist approach that will favour domestic producers at the expense of consumers.

On the anti-corruption front, some more radical actions are expected to be taken by the president that is likely to see some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and their colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) running for cover.

The tougher anti-graft fight will be aimed at alleviating the scourge of corruption in the country. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) would be better managed, and a more transparent government payroll and personnel system that will eliminate duplicate and “ghost workers” foisted.

Already, the nomination of Godwin Emefiele for a second-term in office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) tends to show that Buhari will be working to develop a stronger Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for roads, agriculture, and power.

Emefiele has hinted that President Buhari is committed to repositioning the agriculture sector, pointing out that the Nigerian leader had on different occasions insisted that the country must be producing what she will consume and consume what she will produce.

With the charge resonating with the CBN management, Emefiele has warned the Nigerian people to brace up for a challenging time, stressing that the road ahead will be tough. He was speaking when he appeared before Senate’s Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions for screening for his second term.

While promising that the apex bank will continue to do its best, the CBN big boss insisted, ‘’the road ahead is still very tough’’, adding that the country has workable policies but ‘’implementation has been neglected because we see sabotaged activities. CBN will ensure that those who seek to undermine the policies of Nigeria will be brought to book. Pray for us because the road ahead is tough.

‘’On Agriculture, the credit should go to the President. It was what he said ‘eat what we produce’, that birth the anchor borrowers programme. We have started looking at Palm oil. The price of a barrel of palm oil is more than a barrel of crude oil. We will grow that market again. After palm oil, we will focus on cocoa in the south-west.’’

He is urging the Federal Government to attach premium to palm oil production because its price is higher than crude oil. Though he did not give the current prices of the commodities in the international market, Emefiele however, said that palm oil was a goldmine, which Nigeria had capacity to export to many countries.

While also stressing that Nigeria has the potential to export palm oil and boost her revenue generation, the CBN governor recalled that in the 1960s, Nigeria controlled 40 per cent share in the global palm oil chain.

According to him, ‘’we were exporting our palm oil to different parts of the world, but because we found crude oil, we receded and abandoned it. The price of a tonne of palm oil is more than the price of a barrel of crude oil. So, what happened?

‘’For other countries, when they had the opportunity in agriculture and in the crude sector, they did not let their guards down; unfortunately, we did and that is what we are paying for today. Such move is so that when there are some external shocks, it will not be felt. We will grow that market again and after that, we will go into cocoa.’’

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