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Friday, March 3, 2017

President Buhari Inherited A Bad Economy, Made It Worse – Soludo

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has said President Muhammadu Buhari had worsened the “very bad” economic situation he inherited when he assumed power in 2015.
“Buhari met a very bad situation when he assumed power, but he has made the situation worse. Nigeria today is a fragile state with a failing economy. Some say failing state; some say failed state. 
“The economy is not just in recession; we are suffering from massive economic compression. Saying it is recession trivialises the issue."

Soludo spoke at the ‘Big Ideas Podium’, a public policy debate organised by the Afri Heritage Institution in Enugu, where he canvassed what he termed a “citizens united” campaign by Nigerians to demand change and accountability from government at all levels.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Prognosis of the Nigerian Economy 2017’, Soludo said Nigeria was fast approaching the status of a failed state.

The former apex bank chief noted that it would take nothing short of a miracle for the Federal Government to return the naira to its exchange rate to the dollar as of the time Buhari took over on May 29, 2015.

He said, “It will be a miracle if after eight years, by the time it leaves office in 2023, the current administration is able to return the economy in dollar terms to the exchange rate it met when it took over.

“The truth is this government inherited a very bad situation, but it has made it very much worse.”

He criticised what he described as the “official policy of waiting for the oil price to rise.”

Soludo said the government cannot be relied upon to provide the change that Nigerians desire.

The solution to the quest for change, according to him, is a citizens’ united campaign that will put government on its toes.

He called on Nigerians to agitate for the implementation of campaign promises by government at all levels, noting that the country would make progress if political parties kept at least 25 per cent of the promises they made before coming to power.

Soludo said, “Only citizens united can rescue Nigeria, not just the government alone. It is a big luxury for anybody to say I am minding my business, because what others do will come to mind your own business for you sooner than later.

“We can’t get the leadership that we desire but we can get the leadership that we demand and work for. If only each party or government implements 25 per cent of their promises, Nigeria will be a great country.”

He added, “If you see the governments run by APC, PDP and APGA, they are all the same, because Nigerians don’t hold them accountable. We must resolve as citizens not to let government off again; peaceful agitation must be encouraged and tolerated in this country. Everybody must be allowed to have a voice.

“For example, the APC promised us that they were going to restructure Nigeria; before the elections, they said the current structure was not working, they said that Nigeria was becoming a failed state; but now, they are in power and they are not getting it done.

“Unless we citizens rise up and tell the government ‘deliver on what you promised’, they will not get it done.”
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