By Peter Anosike
A returnee of the World Bank/IMF Board of Governors meeting, Olufemi Aduwo, has expressed concerns over the parlous state of the nation’s economy, saying President Muhammadu Buhari needs to constitute a strong economic team to rescue the nation’s sinking ship back to the shores of hope.
Aduwo, who is also the leader of the Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), further said there seems to be no pragmatic measures put in place to effectively checkmate the economic recession that is already starring Nigeria in the face.
“It is very unfortunate that the Buhari government was elected when the economy was in shambles. There is no lie about that. The nation’s economy has been wobbling for the past two years. But since the APC government already knew that there was economic crisis before it came on board, the question is, what did it put in place to remedy the situation or to cushion the effect on the masses that voted for it? The answer is nothing. They came in tabla rasa, just empty. To start with, a lot of people had expected “President Buhari to hit the ground running immediately he was sworn in. Having contested presidential election for three times and won on the fourth, a lot of people expected that he must be prepared with his blueprints but it took him almost six months to form his cabinet and before that, a lot of vital grounds had been lost. A lot of people in the international community were already expressing reservation about his capacity to implement the much talked about change. The enthusiasm with which the government was welcomed has died down. The worst of all is that when the cabinet was put in place, they had no vision. No agenda to follow. Right now what the people thought was the cure has become worse than the disease they ran away from”, he explained.
The IMF/Word Bank returnee said it was worrisome that the Buhari administration claimed it saved 2.2 trillion naira with TSA in three months, but cannot disclose what has been saved in eight months and yet wants to go on a borrowing spree.
“Why is it looking for loan to finance its over bloated and over padded budget? If it is a country that is governed by conscience, many of the ministers ought to have resigned by now. Just check the N4.3 billion budgets for Aso Rock clinic, which is only meant for the president, vice president and their families. The budget is more than that of all the teaching hospitals in the country, he stated.
Check out the money that was budgeted to buy books for the office of the vice president. The budget is more than that of 11 Colleges of Education in the country. I want to say that those who drafted the budget and those who saw and approved them are worse than Boko Haram”, he added.
As a panacea, Aduwo urged President Buhari to urgently look beyond the APC and set up an economic think-tank that will salvage the country.
It is unfortunate that the Okigbos, Alukos and Aboyedes of this world are no more but there are still very vibrant young economists that can be assembled to save this country from economic collapse. But to start with, the Governor of the Central Bank must leave office. As a returnee of the World Bank/IMF board of governors meeting, I can authoritatively say that the CBN governors of most countries in the world are economists. It is only in Nigeria that we have an accountant and a bank official as central bank governor and right now his monetary policies which I can call somersault monetary policy because it is always going back and forth will certainly not take Nigeria to any where and if we don’t watch it, before we realize what is happening naira has become as valueless as used tissue paper”, he stated.