"Buhari Has No Economic Policy" – Junaid Mohammed


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Forex policy killing businesses —
NECA
By Clifford Ndujihe, Victor Ahiuma-
Young, Dapo Akinrefon & Gbenga Oke
- LAGOS
Some eminent Nigerians and employers of labour, yesterday,
disagreed with Information Minister,
Alhaji Lai Mohammed over President
Muhammadu Buhari’s economic
policy.
While the Information Minister said, yesterday, that President Buhari’s
administration was on the right track
and that there was no alternative to
what it was doing economically, some
eminent Nigerians disagreed, insisting
that the economy could be run better. Speaking at a meeting with members
of staff of the Nigerian Embassy in
Madrid, Spain, during his two-day
official visit to the United Nations World
Tourism Organisation, UNWTO,
according to NAN, Lai Mohammed said: “I believe that we are on the right
track, there will be some pains, but
there is no alternative to what we are
doing.”
He claimed that the administration had
fulfilled its campaign promises to address insecurity, fix the economy
and fight corruption.
In the area of security, Mohammed
said when President Buhari came on
board, 14 of the 20 local government
areas of Borno State, four in Adamawa and three in Yobe were under the
sovereign authority of Boko Haram.
He said the proactive measures and
soft diplomacy with neighbouring
African countries, the U.S., France and
the G-8 had helped the country to “decisively deal with Boko Haram.”
“Today, all the major highways
leading to Maiduguri are open and
about two months ago, the Nigeria
Football Federation, NFF, played a
league match in Maiduguri stadium,” he said.
On the renewed agitations in the
Niger-Delta and parts of the South-
East, the minister reassured that the
government would not marginalise
any part of the country and assured that economic development would go
round to everyone.
He stressed that no amount of
economic reforms put in place could
work unless the monster of corruption
was successfully dealt with. Mohammed said the administration’s
fight against corruption was not
selective, and that the government
was not probing the 2015 elections
campaign funds of Peoples Democratic
Party, PDP. The minister’s take on the economic
strides of the government elicited
sharp response from Second Republic
politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu; Second
Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid
Mohammed; the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA; and
National President of Arewa Youth
Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima
Shettima.
There is no economic policy in place –
Ikokwu Decrying the level of poverty in the
country, Chief Ikokwu wondered the
kind of economic policy that had been
in place in the last 14 months.
His words: "The nation is totally
confused with regard to the economic policy. If there was clear economic
policy, we won’t be in recession. If the
policy is market-oriented, instead of
government-oriented, the private
sector would have readjusted one
year after the government took off, there would not have been maximum
devaluation of the currency.
"It has been one year without an
economic policy. Why should there be
imbalance in the economy if there is
economic policy? Full implementation of the budget is yet to begin.
Economically, the nation is
disillusioned and the complaints are
everywhere."
Buhari has no economic policy —
Mohammed Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid
Mohammed, said President Buhari and
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed
should stop deceiving Nigerians that
this government had any economic
policy. He said: “As far as I am concerned,
President Buhari and Lai Mohammed
are paying lip service to the economy
by telling Nigerians they have a policy.
Today, I cannot see anything and
several Nigerians cannot see any policy in place.
So, why should Nigerians support this
so called policy that they do not know
and why should they believe Buhari
and Lai Mohammed?
“They talk about diversifying the economy but I can tell you that the
same fertilizer I bought for N4,000 last
year is now N9,000 this year. If this is
what they call diversification, then they
are talking nonsense. When there is
no insecticide and no better harvest, what are they diversifying the
economy to.
“I am not persuaded by that lie by Lai
Mohammed."
Nigerians are sick and tired of excuses
- Alhaji Yerima Shettima, Nigerians are sick and tired of the
excuses made by the federal
government in fixing the nation’s
ailing economy.
“This is part of the excuses we have
seen from this government. After coming out to state that the previous
government failed, the APC promised
that it was coming to make things
right, but to our surprise, the party is
now coming out to tell us that it did
not know the extent of the damage done by the past government.
"I must tell you that Nigerians have
not had it this bad and this is
worrying. When the Federal
Government is saying there is no
alternative, is it implying that this is a case of incompetence on the part of
the government or lack of
experience? I see this as an excuse."
Forex policy killing business —
Oshinowo, NECA boss
The National Employers Consultative Association, NECA, on its part, said the
Foreign Exchange, forex, policy of the
government had been killing
businesses.
NECA Director-General, Mr. Segun
Oshinowo, lamented that the first half of the year was particularly
excruciating to businesses as it was
very difficult for business owners to
access foreign exchange to buy raw
materials and critical spare parts.
“First half of the year was horrible because the key issue was access to
foreign exchange. Even for those
business owners government
recognize as having a right to access
foreign exchange for their businesses,
also found it difficult to access foreign exchange for raw materials and critical
spare parts. Even for those big players,
with all their muscles and influence,
they found it difficult to source for
their critical raw materials. Their
suppliers could not access foreign exchange to honour their contractual
obligations to them. So, on account of
that, some of them had to shut down
certain aspects of their production
lines and declared workers
redundant. “With the flexible foreign exchange
market, some are doing a little better
than the first half. But, the problem still
remains that supplies have not
increased significantly. Of course, one
should not expect the supplies to improve significantly over night. One
advantage this current dispensation
should have on this economy is
significant inflow of foreign exchange
sources other than the sale of our
crude oil. I do know that those who are likely to make that happen will not
take on the spot decisions. The
tendency for them will still be to stand
on the sideline and watch whether
government will be consistent with its
policy. So, I really did not see an immediate
solution to the issue of supply. But as
we move towards the end of the year,
we want to believe that the supply
would improve. Because it is in the
improvement of the supply that businesses will be able to have access
to foreign exchange. Until that
happens, one would continue to see a
situation where the difficulties that
businesses are going through will still
continue towards the end of the year."