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Nigerians divided on FT’s analysis of Buhari’s economic policies in 2 years


Since the last week’s tailored analysis of Nigeria’s economy under President Muhammadu Buhari by David Pilling, Africa editor of Financial Times of London, suggesting that the economy is becoming worse than the current administration met it, Nigerian economic pundits who spoke to our correspondents have shown a sharp division in their submissions.

Pilling had presented near convincing analogy, with a painted scenario that Nigerian economy will grow in 2017, just like a dead cat will bounce if thrown from a 50-storey building.

He said “The term ‘dead cat bounce’ derives from the fact that even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height. If you imagine a dead cat soaked in crude oil and dropped from a 50-storey building, you get a rough picture of how Nigeria’s economy is performing these days”.

“Nigeria is expected to grow 2.5 per cent this year after contracting 1.6 per cent in 2016. But the population is also growing at 2.5 per cent. So in per capita terms, things are going nowhere.

“The reasons for the “recovery” are twofold. First, last year’s performance was so dismal it would have been difficult for the economy to fall further. Without doing anything at all — a reasonable description of policy under Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s ailing leader and frequent London resident — the baseline effect has worked its magic. Second, the oil that makes up so much of government revenues is flowing faster. In June, production was 1.7m barrels a day, 10 per cent higher than a year ago.”

Continuing, Pilling averred that Nigeria’s power house has not heard of the advice that “one should, they say, never let a crisis go to waste”, further stating that Nigeria has let its recession go to waste and will return to business as usual as oil prices recover.

Aside agreeing that Nigeria has among “the sharpest, most driven and entrepreneurial” people on the African continent, the newspaper acknowledges Buhari “has spent much of the past year convalescing from a mystery illness that has sapped his presidency of vigour and set off a merry-go-round of political jockeying to succeed him. There has been practically nothing in the way of coherent economic policy”.

However, the analysis agreed that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is “competent and dynamic” to run Nigeria, and has been doing just that.

In his argument, Dr. Ken Igboanugo said “Well, Ft is talking as an outsider, but we all know that this administration started on a seemingly wrong footing when it clearly delayed its formation of government for six month searching for ministers that were finally found around it”.

“For, I have been searching for the technocrat in this administration and all I have been seeing are politicians, so the question is if it is possible for one to give what he does not possess without borrowing it”.

Another expert who pleaded anonymity said “Two years are still too early to assess this government considering the economic errors committed in the last 16 years by the opposition when it was in power”.

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