THE DEEP ECONOMIC CRISIS UNDER PRESIDENT BUHARI’S WATCH
There was a high level of optimism in some quarters with respect to the supposed revival of the Nigerian economy by the Buhari-led cabinet riding on the mantra of change, fighting corruption and recovering loot on the heels of the ripple effects of recession witnessed in the country in 2014, However, the contrast has been the case as economic hardship has been astronomical, giving rise to uncontrollable crimes and insecurity witnessed within the past 3 years under his watch.
Focusing on macroeconomics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate has jumped 18.8% over the past three years. While youth unemployment rate is currently around 33.1%, inflation rose to gravity-defying levels, from 9.8% in May 2015 to 18.72% in January 2017, the last quarter of 2018 has it at 16.5%. This reveals how poorly the Buhari-led economic team has performed.
Recently, Forbes magazine released Africa’s richest list for 2018 with Alhaji Aliko Dangote maintaining top spot as Africa’s richest man but not without the conundrum of losing a whopping $2 billion owing to the drop in stock price of Dangote cement. It is only logical to deduct that in a country where hunger and suffering is ravaging her citizens, who cares to put up structures without first attending to priorities of putting food on the table.
Manufacturing businesses and service providers are struggling, with many shutting down, as they are unable to access the regular stream of foreign exchange needed for their operations. Some resorted to the more expensive parallel market and as a result, forced through price hikes to protect their margins. In all, President Buhari's initial sluggishness, the CBN's damaging foreign exchange controls, and a decimated oil sector contributed to the nation's abysmal economic performance in the past four years. In turn, the average Nigerian is worse off than in pre-Buhari times, an observation that is hard to deny. President Muhammadu Buhari has fallen well short of economic expectations and giving him another four years will be tantamount to plunging the country to the “next level” depths of suffering.
Chart showing Unemployment rate in Nigeria as at July 2018