As Christians worldwide celebrate Christmas, economic experts have reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s message to Nigerians, where he boasted of advancement on economic fronts.
On Saturday, in his Christmas message, Buhari felicitated with Nigerians, hoping that his successor in Aso Rock next year will build on his successes in infrastructure, food security, anti-corruption, security, and energy sufficiency.
But, outside infrastructure, experts and economic indicators showed that Buhari’s administration performed poorly on food security, national security, anti-corruption and energy.
Reacting to the development in an interview on Saturday, an Accounting and Financial Development don at Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun faulted Buhari’s economic advancement claim.
Oyedokun said the current economic indicators, such as high inflation, interest rate, poverty and slow Gross Domestic Product, GDP growth rate, are the scorecard of his administration.
He, however, lauded the administration for the successes achieved in infrastructure development compared with other civilian governments.
“It is not surprising if Mr President will come out and say this. I always say when you are in a land where everybody is blind, anyone with one eye is the king. So I won’t know to what extent the President would make this assertion. You will notice that the Lagos-Ibadan Express road the previous Government has been trying to do; if they were able to do it to the extent Buhari has done, we would have given them the pass mark. Look at the Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin road; since 1999, ex-President Obasanjo commissioned it, nothing has happened.
“Ibadan-Ife-Elesha road, look at the regime making it come to life. Second Niger Bridge, Kano-Kaduna-Zaria-Abuja road. It is this regime; give it to them; they have done their best. But if this is the best of APC, why are we celebrating it?
“The dividend of democracy is what we can term it. When the Military was onboard, they gave good infrastructures such as the Third-mainland bridge. I want to thank God that this Government is parking its load; we won’t die before the regime ends because they have barely 5-months left to exit.
“On the aspect of food prices, bad governance is the primary factor affecting it. Whatever economic indices we have today, such as high inflation, interest rate, and Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is the scorecard of this Government. We will always pray that Buhari’s Government won’t happen to Nigeria again.”
On his part, a financial inclusion/wealth management expert, Mr Idakolo Gbolade said Buhari’s administration had drawn the country backwards.
He stated that it would take Nigeria another 30 years of consistent progress “to get back to the spot we were economically in 2015.”
According to him, the Government performed poorly on most economic fronts.
He added that “the Naira depreciation against the Dollar in the exchange market, Year-on-Year inflation, increasing cost of staple foods, interest rate hikes, insecurity, and increased debt burden are areas the Nigerian Government has failed Nigerians in the last Seven years.”
However, Idakolo stated that the Government had done well in infrastructure with some brilliant projects such as revitalising Nigerian railway services, Second Niger Bridge and other federal road networks in the North and South-western regions.
“The policies of the Buhari administration in the past seven years have drawn the country back, and it will take over 30 years of consistent progress to get back to the spot we were in 2015.
“This administration achieved so many negatives; for example, the US dollar exchange rate was around N200/ $1 in 2015 but today it’s N745/ $1; we have witnessed year-on-year inflation, and food inflation never waned during the tenure of this Government. The cost of staple food has increased and has seen over 300% increase in some cases.
“Rice was going for around N10,000 in 2015, but it’s over N40,000 now. The insecurity has risen to another dimension as terrorists now kidnap not only on the highway but even from peoples’ houses. Recently the CBN has continuously increased interest rates which have a rippling effect on the cost of doing business.
“This Government has achieved the gold medal as the Government that has carried government debt to the highest level, with the country using over 95% of its revenues for debt servicing. Crude oil theft continued to the extent that we lost our position as the No one crude oil producer at the beginning of this year. We saw flashes of brilliance in infrastructure with borrowed funds; however, most of the projects executed might not be able to repay the loans.
“The administration came on the mantra of anti-corruption, but it has witnessed the highest rate of corruption than any government in Nigeria. If these observations can be counted as successes, then we are living in a fool’s paradise”, he stated.