Seven Reasons President Tinubu’s Economic Reforms Might Fail

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By Peter N. Peters

It’s no secret that Nigerian citizens are enduring one of the most severe economic downturns in history. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu came into office with a promise of “Renewed Hope,” pledging to revitalize the nation’s fortunes. However, 10 months into his first four-year term, is he making progress? Does success seem likely? Seven clear indicators suggest that restoring Nigeria’s economic glory may be a distant goal for him.

1. Lack of Accountability and Transparency in the Oil Sector

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) is plagued by rampant corruption, with little transparency in its crude oil transactions year after year. Despite privatization, the situation persists, hindering Nigeria’s ability to meet its OPEC quota for crude oil exports. Illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta exacerbates the issue, as Nigeria struggles to monitor and control oil extraction by International Oil Companies (IOCs). Additionally, Nigeria lacks ownership of vessels for international cargo transport, further complicating matters. President Tinubu’s recent directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to oversee crude oil sales faces legal challenges under the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

2. Lip Service to Endemic Corruption

Nigeria’s reputation as a “fantastically corrupt” nation, as labeled by former British Prime Minister David Cameron, continues under President Tinubu’s administration. Human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, recently called for a “Social Revolution,” highlighting questionable government expenditures amid widespread poverty. President Tinubu’s approval of extravagant expenses, such as N500 million for a 37-man Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage inauguration, raises concerns. Similarly, the lavish spending of the 10th National Assembly, including N160 million per lawmaker on brand-new Prado Jeeps, fuels corruption allegations.

3. Consumption-Driven Economy

President Tinubu’s administration perpetuates a consumption-driven economy, fueling currency devaluation and hindering local production. The government’s preference for foreign-made goods, exemplified by the procurement of close to 500 Prado Jeeps from abroad over locally manufactured options like those from Innoson Motors, exacerbates the situation. The decision to “float” the Naira without meaningful productive activities further destabilizes the currency, leading to rising prices and diminishing citizens’ purchasing power.

4. Over-bloated Bureaucracy and Profligacy

President Tinubu’s appointment of 48 cabinet ministers and 20 special advisers amidst economic turbulence reflects a disregard for prudent spending. Many appointees lack integrity, further straining government resources. The National Assembly’s inflated budgetary estimates, doubling to N344 billion in the 2024 federal budget, underscore the government’s profligacy amid widespread poverty.
5. Intractable Security Challenges:
President Tinubu’s failure to address escalating security threats undermines citizens’ safety and economic stability. Kidnappings and banditry have surged, disrupting farming activities and impeding movement across Nigeria. Despite government efforts, particularly in the Middle Belt region, the security situation remains dire, leaving citizens vulnerable to constant threats.

6. Lies and Propaganda as State Policy

The government’s credibility is marred by unanswered questions surrounding President Tinubu’s background and campaign promises. Contradictions, such as the declaration of subsidy removal despite ongoing fuel subsidies, erode public trust. Failed commitments, like the unfulfilled promise to restart the Port Harcourt refinery, further contribute to the trust deficit among citizens

7. Burden of Legitimacy

President Tinubu’s controversial electoral victory, characterized by allegations of rigging and minority voter support, undermines the government’s legitimacy. Despite judicial validation, the fact remains that a significant portion of voters rejected the ruling party and its candidate, posing a persistent challenge to governance.

In conclusion, President Tinubu faces daunting challenges in revitalizing Nigeria’s economy, with systemic issues such as corruption, security threats, and a consumption-driven approach hindering progress. Addressing these concerns requires genuine accountability, transparency, and a commitment to prioritizing citizens’ welfare over political interests.

Peter N. Peters is an Abuja-based Media Practitioner and Executive Secretary of Concern for Ethics & Values in Nigeria (CoEViN). Contact email: pnpeters21@gmail.com

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