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By Omoh Gabriel, Emma Ujah, Clifford Ndujihe, Omeiza Ajayi & Naomi Uzor
LAGOS—AS economic hardship in Nigeria bites harder, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, reminded Nigerians that he was committed to his change agenda, but that such economic change cannot be achieved on a bed of roses.
The President, who spoke in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, added that through patience and perseverance, the challenges the country was facing would become a thing of the past. He reiterated his administration’s determination to implement the change agenda through the fight against corruption.
“We are determined to implement our change agenda by curbing excessive waste in government. We shall restore integrity to governance through the fight against corruption. We are determined to deliver and rescue the country from bad governance,” he said.
This came as an avalanche of reactions trailed the National Bureau of Statistics’ report which showed a negative economic growth in the first two quarters of the year, with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party Party, PDP, asking Buhari to resign over the economic misfortune.
Also, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, among others, proferred ways Nigeria can riggle out of the recession.
OBJ, Yar’Adua, Jonathan’s reckless decisions caused recession – APC
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, pooh-poohed PDP’s call on President Buhari to resign over the poor economic indices and accused the party and Nigeria’s past presidents produced under its platform of bringing the current economic recession upon the nation.
The PDP on Wednesday, took a swipe at the President Buhari-led Federal Government, over the statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, which showed a negative growth in the first two quarters of the year. In a statement by its Director, New Media, Deji Adeyanju, PDP stated that nothing showcased the incompetence of the Buhari administration better than the GDP, inflation and unemployment figures released by NBS.
“These figures revealled what we have repeatedly said over the last 15 months – the Nigerian President is destroying the Nigeria economy. The result of these indices is that Nigeria is in its worst economic state for 29 years – dating back to 1987 when the nation had to take harsh steps to recover from President Buhari’s policies of 1984-85. As with 1984-85, companies are fleeing our shores in droves. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) recently stated that 272 companies have shut down in the past one year. Furthermore, like we suffered in 1984-85, we are suffering a brain drain where our best and brightest talents are leaving the country in search of a better life elsewhere. It is disheartening that the Buhari administration is destroying the Nigerian economy and our collective future by the implementation of his archaic and incoherent economic policies which failed in 1984-85 and are failing spectacularly now. Our dismay is worsened by the fact that every sphere of the Nigerian socio-political space (ranging from the conduct of elections, human rights, respect for the rule of law, security, technology, health, etc) is negatively affected by the Buhari administration. We join all well meaning Nigerians to call on Buhari to resign if he is unable to reverse the disastrous economic decline he has brought on Nigerians,’’ the PDP had said.
However, APC countered that the 16 years misrule of the PDP plunged Nigeria into the current economic chaos. PDP’s several years in power produced ex-presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, said the PDP’s statement “is the latest in the party’s fs insensitive plot to deflect attention from the voodoo economics and reckless fiscal policies the country was subjected to during its 16-year rule. The warning signs were glaring to the immediate-past administration but it chose the path of economic sabotage by looking the other way and squandering the country’sfs commonwealth – a reckless decision that has brought the country to its knees.”
APC assured Nigerians that the President Buhari-led administration remained solidly committed to resuscitating the economy in the quickest possible time and in the best interest of the people.
“For the umpteenth time, the PDP lacks the moral basis and credibility to comment or condemn the government on the economy after the mess it left behind. Instead, the PDP must apologize to Nigerians.
“Nigerians will recall that even the immediate-past finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy (Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala), confessed that the zero political will to save under the immediate-past administration was responsible for the challenges facing the country,” Buni said.
APC listed several achievements of the Buhari administration, saying the nation was well on the path to quick economic recovery.
NUPENG urges Nigerians to be patient with FG
Reacting to the NBS report, NUPENG South-West Chairman, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo said in Lagos that before now, Nigerians had been living artificial life. He said it was time Nigerians faced the realities of the current moment.
“We need to be patient with the current government. This government is not out to punish anybody, but we should understand that the present hardship was caused by our former leaders. We have been living an artificial life in the past, it is time to pay for our past and we should all face the reality of the present,” he said.
The NUPENG boss, however, urged the Federal Government to take a second look at its economic policies, stressing that Nigerians were facing tough challenges. “Nigerians are finding it difficult to feed themselves; government should roll out policies that will provide food for the masses. Banks are being banned for foreign exchange activities and this has resulted into non-availability of dollars. Nigerians are looking up to government to create employment opportunities through its economic diversification programmes, especially in the agricultural and solid mineral resources sectors.”
Abuja Chamber tasks FG on innovative economic policies
On its part, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) urged the Federal Government to create valuable economic motivation plan to stimulate growth.
The Chamber’s President, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday.
He said: “Sadly, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been on the decrease since the last quarter of 2015. The NBS report shows that the recent -2.06 per cent (year-on year) in real terms was lower by 1.70 per cent points from the growth rate of –0.36 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter, and also lower by 4.41 per cent points from the growth rate of 2.35 per cent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015.”
According to him, this is really not a good time for the country, as economic recession has led to unemployment, lower wages and incomes, as well as lost opportunities.
The chamber’s president said education, private capital investments, and economic opportunity were all likely to suffer in the current downturn.
“The effects will be long-lived if not properly managed. Economic recession can lead to long-lasting damage to individuals’ economic situations and the economy more broadly. In terms of individuals’ economic situations, unemployment and income losses can reduce educational achievement by threatening early childhood nutrition; reducing families’ abilities to provide a supportive learning environment and forcing delay or abandonment of school plans.”
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