There is light at the end of the tunnel, reckons Allison Abanum

As May draws to a close, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assumed office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for one year. “Renewed Hope” was his promise, and he made good on it by swiftly taking the necessary steps. Upon taking office, it was evident that the President had inherited a significant economic crisis. Those familiar with his leadership style recognized his propensity for implementing bold reforms that would ultimately lead to success in the near future. Therefore, it was no surprise when he announced the elimination of fuel subsidies in his inaugural speech.

This decision was a rational response to widespread corruption and mismanagement of funds by a few individuals seeking to deplete the nation’s resources. While these economic reforms affecting the country’s main revenue source and more were welcomed by experts, they had far-reaching consequences on the economy. Fluctuating foreign exchange rates and rising petroleum prices led to increased costs of goods and services, subsequently driving up inflation rates.

It was anticipated that such extensive reforms would initially result in some pains; however, the situation is no longer as bleak, as the benefits of these proactive and decisive measures are now beginning to manifest across all sectors of the economy. The President’s unwavering determination and courage, combined with the expertise of qualified economic advisors who are implementing suitable fiscal and monetary policies, are gradually but steadily reversing the initial negative economic trajectory inherited from the previous administration.

The funds saved from petroleum subsidy and by extension from theft and corruption that had engulfed the process in the past, are now being put into good use. The first roll out of saved funds from subsidy removal to the tune of N2Billion was released to the governments of the 36 states and the FCT. This fund was aimed at providing relief to the people as they faced the impact of economic reforms. The President had also advised that state governments use the allocated funds to ensure workers welfare by giving out salary awards.

These interventions show a President that is not just willing to take the hardest decisions but also ready to manage the risks involved. Numerous state governments have seen wisdom in the presidential recommendations and have since reacted affirmatively and are intensifying efforts to distribute relief materials to assist their citizens in vital sectors including agriculture, food accessibility, education, and healthcare. The acknowledgement and subsequent utilisation of these funds further aided in debunking rumours peddled in some quarters that petroleum subsidy had not been removed.

National security has presented a significant challenge for past administrations, and the Tinubu-led government has had to devise strategies to address it. Fortunately, there have been positive outcomes in this regard. Facilitated by the President’s directive to refrain from paying ransom to kidnappers, bandits, and other criminals, collaborative efforts between the federal and state authorities, and security agencies have yielded remarkable enhancements in the internal security landscape, particularly in volatile areas of conflict and insurgency. This progress is evident in the significant decrease in fatalities resulting from security-related issues, plummeting from over 2000 deaths per month to less than 200 in recent times. The ultimate objective is to drive these figures down to as low as possible. Furthermore, the proactive and improved performance of security agencies and their leaders is highlighted by the elimination of key bandit and terrorist cell commanders in the North East region, many of whom have direct ties to past violent incidents.

The President, in conjunction with state governments, has established a high-level committee to implement state police in order to enhance security. Additionally, the Pulaku initiative, which is endowed with N50 billion, seeks to tackle farmer-herder conflicts and promote national cohesion. This initiative will concentrate on the revitalization of communities in seven states impacted by these conflicts through the development of infrastructure.

Upon presentation of the 2024 budget, President Bola Tinubu had indicated that the Budget of Renewed Hope places significant emphasis on Nigeria’s national defense and internal security, as well as local job creation, macroeconomic stability, optimization of the investment environment, human capital development, poverty alleviation, and social security. 

Over the past year, the President, keenly aware of the necessity to revitalize the economy, has extensively engaged with stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, in addition to hosting various international diplomats. It is evident that in order for the economy to stabilize and progress towards growth, the private sector, domestic and foreign investments, as well as international partnerships and alignments, must be strategically managed as well as securing the necessary aids from various international organizations to help the repositioning of the economy. The President’s overseas trips to participate in business, trade, investment, security, and economic conferences are expected to yield positive impacts on the economy, with some initiatives already demonstrating profitable outcomes, ensuring that the administration is on track as regards its renewed hope agenda. Well, despite the seemingly harsh albeit necessary effect of the economic reforms carried out, there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

 Abanum writes from Orogun, Delta State

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