CFL GMD Decries Worsening Economic Crisis under Buhari

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Lai Omotola

Blames Nigeria’s woes on four ministers

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Group Managing Director of CFL Group, Mr. Lai Omotola has said Nigeria’s domestic economy is dangerously drifting to the precipice under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Omotola equally blamed the Minister for Finance, Ms. Zainab Ahmed; Minister for Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Minister for State, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Minister for Works, Power & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and the Governor, Central Bank Governor (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele for the country’s worsening economic crisis.

Omotola made the comment during a recent media parley in Lagos, noting that the country’s economy had nose-dived in the last four years and that pragmatic effort should be put in place to rescue the economy from outright collapse.

Speaking at the session, Omotola said, “To state that Nigeria’s economy is challenged is an understatement. The truth of the matter is that our economy is dangerously moving towards the precipe. Every nation depends on a strong economy to have peace and Nigeria cannot be an exception.”

He explained how the four ministers caused the current economic challenges, which he attributed to the economic model of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank the country adopted without considering its effects on the country.

Lamenting that the economic model could not bring about prosperity, Omotola said the economic mode “is hinged on heavy investment on infrastructure. In as much as this is good, the impact on our economy has been little.

“The problem is that we cannot say our economy will come out better by just doing one thing. When this government reeled out her achievement, the first thing they mention is infrastructure.”

Omotola cited the dearth of synergy between the Minister of Finance and the CBN Governor as another challenge, saying for the nation to achieve a buoyant economy, it should possess the ability to move persons and goods without hinder because transportation should be seamless, integrated and efficient.

He said the only thing the ministry of transportation had been promoting since 2015 “is rail and yet major rail projects that will catapult the economy remain comatose and we have embarked on rural rail projects that cannot be seen by urban people that contribute majorly to the GDP.

“Look at Light Rail (Blue Line) from Okokomaiko to Marina, one will think the Buhari government that destroyed the metro rail will compensate Lagos and help complete the light rail project. Take a look at the rail corridor at our port. For close to four years, there is no transportation reform and no master plan.”

As for the Minister of State of Petroleum, Omotola recalled that Kachikwu had told the country that the refinery would start work in six months and that one refinery had indeed commenced work.

But he said the country’s refinery remained comatose while decrying that Nigeria had returned to the subsidy regime, which he described as a fraud.

On works, power and housing, Omotola said one person could not handle the three ministry that are highly technical, saying Fashola continued to deceive the nation on the Lagos Ibadan expressway.

He added that it could not be explained why government would spend money on such a lucrative route that should have been done under the Public-Private Partnership, PPP agreement.

“This minister cannot complete the second Niger Bridge. The minister is suppose to be on the front seat to rescue this economy but he has perfected ways on how to deceive the people and the government through projects that are more of social sentiments than economic benefits.

“It is a shame today that Apapa port remains where it is, resident have to stage a protest. He has failed on housing and this is not new because he failed during his tenure as governor,” he stated.

Omotola said Nigeria had realised that the appointment of ex-bankers as governors of central banks had not been able “to help the economy. They have a mindset of leaving the core agenda of the CBN, which is monetary and regulatory issues and have delved into competition with banks in doing the business of lending.

He noted that the CBN “has intervened in almost every sector of the economy from real estate, to power, aviation, agric and so many others with little impact. The CBN is now fully lending to businesses instead of the banks and more recently the CBN announced to set up micro-finance banks in 774 local governments. Is this not going back to the peoples bank days?”

Omotola said the federal government’s policy had crowded out private sector-led economy and taken a lead role in doing business instead of allowing the economy to be private sector driven not knowing that the wealth of the citizens is the wealth of the nation.

According to him, the purchasing power of people have been greatly eroded and today our economy has been reduced to a pedestrian economy as exemplified by trader moni of N5,000,000.00.