The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and economists have said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has failed in all economic indices and should be humble to admit.
The groups disclosed this while reacting to claims by President Buhari that the economy under him is better than it was when he took over power in 2015.
The Chairman of the Gas Group, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ola Adebayo, faulted implementation of policies under Buhari, stressing that his regime would not score a pass mark
Adebayo said, “One thing I have observed is that policy formulation is different from implementation. With the recent events, I don’t think the government has passed. We only have very good policies on paper, but the implementation has been lacking. Once there is no implementation, it becomes just an idea.”
Also, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, said the reality was at variance with the claims of the President.
He said the current regime has not been able to attract the private sector to invest in critical infrastructures like railways and airports, saying that the government’s economic model is counterproductive and not in the best interest of the economy.
“The business community has been consistent in saying so. It’s not a matter of disagreeing with him. It’s a matter of looking at the facts at the table.”
On his part, Director-General, the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Mr Sola Obadimu, said Buhari’s assessment of his administration’s economic policies did not reflect the realities on ground.
He said, “In the past seven years, we have witnessed the most volatile phases in our industrial life. For instance, if we pick the naira valuation as at when he came in and now, you will see the difference. That has been unfriendly to industry.”
He said the benchmark interest rate has been high at 13 per cent, making access to capital difficult.
An economist and Chief Executive Officer, Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, said that between 2015 and now, the nation’s economy has recorded over 200 percent currency depreciation.
He said that the investors’ confidence has worsened within the period under review and major indicators show that the economy is lagging behind.
Under Buhari, Nigeria experienced two recessions – one in 2016 and another in 2020 fuelled by COVID-19.
As at the fourth quarter of 2014, Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent, according to data by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS. As at the fourth quarter of 2021, the NBS disclosed that the rate in the economy had risen to 33.3 per cent, making it one of the worst in the world and signifying a 437 per cent increase over the seven-year period.
As at May 2015, Naira exchanged for dollars at N197/$ at the interbank market and N217/$ at the parallel market. Naira is N415-N420 to a dollar at the Importers and Exporters Window and nearly N603-N610 at the parallel market. Subsidy has since risen from N100 million in 2015 to N4 trillion in 2022.
Inflation is not spared as prices have risen by over 70 per cent since Buhari came to power. Inflation has since 2015 risen from 9.01 per cent (average number in 2015) to over 17 per cent in May 2022.