Mohammad Idris: Tinubu’s First Year Transformative Journey Towards Stability

•Nigeria not working, Atiku declares, insists Tinubu practising cocktail of trial and error economic policies

•Labour Party: Nigeria has witnessed one-year reign of economic hardship 

•PDP: Country’s situation worsened under Tinubu

Olawale Ajimotokan, Chuks Okocha, Deji Elumoye, Sunday Aborisade, Juliet Akoje in Abuja and Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammad Idris, has said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first year in office has been a transformative journey towards stability, prosperity and security, guided by the eight-point “Renewed Hope Agenda”.

Idris made the declaration in a statement titled, “One Year of the Tinubu Administration – Building a Safer, Stronger, and Prosperous Nigeria.”

However, in his one-year assessment of the Tinubu administration, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubukar, stated that Nigeria was not working, saying the government’s economic policies have been a cocktail of agonising trial and error runs.

Similarly, the Labour Party (LP) caucus in the House of Representatives described Tinubu’s one year in office as a reign of economic hardship, insecurity and hopelessness, which, according to them, negates the “Renewed Hope Agenda” campaign promises of the administration.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in its assessment, said after a thorough review of the worsening state of the nation in the last one year under the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, it was obvious Nigeria had seen the most challenging period in its history since the civil war.

Likewise, an analysis of major economic indicators in the past one year by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) showed that Tinubu’s first year in office was characterised by rising public debt, soaring inflation and interest rates, weakened Naira and declining performance of the manufacturing, agriculture and telecom sectors.

But Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, said the Tinubu administration had made significant strides in steadying the ship of state through impactful reforms, policies, programmes, and initiatives. Abbas stated this in his appraisal of Tinubu’s one year in office.

The presidency also said Tinubu’s one year in office were months of baby steps, assuring that the president has laid the foundation for next three years of abundance.

Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to the President, Bayo Onanuga, made the affirmation yesterday, in a statement.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari equally extended his best wishes to Tinubu on the completion of his first year in office.

In a similar vein, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Jibrin Barau, and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu hailed Tinubu on his government’s first anniversary, describing the president as a great leader and an architect of modern Nigeria.

Idris said amid economic challenges marked by turmoil and unemployment, the Tinubu administration’s bold economic reforms had stabilised the economy and sparked growth.

He stated that under Tinubu’s leadership, the administration had tackled critical national challenges and implemented comprehensive policies aimed at fostering national growth and development.

The minister stated, “A significant move was the removal of the unsustainable fuel subsidy, redirecting approximately $10 billion annually towards critical sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and security.

“This action alone led to a 50 per cent reduction in petrol importation and increased state and local government revenues. The elimination of the foreign exchange subsidy and the harmonisation of forex rates bolstered the Nigerian economy, resulting in the Nigerian Exchange Group becoming the top-performing bourse globally and strengthening the Naira.”

On security, the minister said substantial investments aimed at modernising the armed forces and achieving significant milestones in national security was made, resulting in the liberation of over 4,600 hostages, neutralisation of 9,300 criminals, and arrest of 7,000 terrorists and bandits.

He added that the security forces also recovered thousands of weapons and rounds of ammunition crucial in combating banditry and insurgency.

Idris stressed that in addressing food security, Tinubu declared a state of emergency, leading to the restructuring of the Ministry of Agriculture into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. He added that initiatives, such as the National Agricultural Development Fund and the Dry Season Farming Initiative, had been launched to boost agricultural productivity and ensure food sufficiency.

The minister also noted that energy and natural resources management had seen enhanced security measures in the Niger Delta, leading to an increase in oil production and more stable natural gas output.

Onanuga also reiterated that the president was not restrained by turbulence, insisting he remains focused on the marathon of the next three years.

He recalled that as Nigeria’s 16th President, Tinubu, during his campaign for the office, said he would make difficult decisions and that running the country would not be business as usual.

According to him, “From day one, he sought to fulfill his promises, beginning from his earthshaking ‘subsidy is gone’ announcement at the Eagle Square, on the day he was sworn in.

“The announcement reverberated around the country and beyond. He was not just actualising a promise he made. He was also affecting the consensus of all the major candidates in the 2023 election that the several decades old, wasteful subsidy must end.

“His administration followed this up with the decision to harmonise the foreign exchange rates. The multiple exchange rates executed under his predecessor had given room to various abuses, among which was arbitrage, where people close to the power loop made humongous money, getting forex at the official rate and offloading it at the so-called parallel market for almost 100 percent profit. “Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank advised the Nigerian government to end the policy, to no avail, as forex obligations piled up, FDI’s dried up, and investors shunned Nigeria. Tinubu knew that to reset the economy and build renewed confidence locally and internationally, there must be a policy change.”

The presidential spokesman said Tinubu fulfilled what he promised during the campaign, with the government announcing its desire to harmonise the rates in “weeks”, a decision that caught the attention of the financial world that Nigeria was at the cusp of great change.

He averred that the administration had responded on many fronts to its challenges with a raft of palliative policies. He listed the subsidised bus transport for the public last December, as well as free train service to Nigerians going home for Christmas and New Year as some of the measures.

Onanuga noted that the subsidy was also offered for the return journeys, while over 200,000 Nigerians benefited from the bus service.

In agriculture, he said government declared a food emergency, launched a massive dry season farming in important crops such as wheat and maize, along with assisting farmers with N100 billion worth of fertilisers.

In addition, he lauded the magnanimity of the federal government for releasing 43,000 metric tonnes of grains from the National reserves and for buying another 60,000 metric tonnes of rice from local millers for distribution to the vulnerable people.

Onanuga stated, “As part of the ameliorative measures, the Tinubu administration announced wage awards of N35,000 to Federal workers to enable them cope with food inflation and transport costs, as it works out a new national minimum wage.

“It announced in July last year the Presidential CNG Initiative. Under the programme, that will herald a new industry and new jobs, hundreds of buses and tricycles, which will be powered by Compressed Natural Gas(CNG), will be locally assembled for countrywide rollout.

“Some of the vehicles will be electric for use in some Nigerian states, where CNG is not readily available. A panel to drive the vision was inaugurated in October 2023. However, bureaucratic delays slowed its procurement work.  A large number of the buses and tricycles will be available as part of the ceremonies to mark the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration.”

He applauded the Tinubu administration for supporting businesses through the Bank of Industry, in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, which disbursed N50,000 to nano businesses under the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme.

He noted that the programme, which targeted over 1,000,000 nano businesses, benefitted retail marketers, corner shop owners, petty traders, market men and women, food and vegetable vendors, vulcanisers and shoemakers, among others, adding that government also announced an aid package of N1billion each to 75 big businesses.

Onanuga said the Tinubu government approved $617 million for up-skilling Nigerian youths, providing start-up funding, catalytic infrastructure, and policy advocacy, noting youths with digital skills are now registering to benefit from the fund, being administered by the Bank of Industry.

He praised the president’s foresight of tinkering with the tax structure and bringing more money to the national coffers, which was a difficult choice in a country with 200 million people and tax to GDP ratio less than 10 percent.

He said, “The NNPC was ordered to remit its dollar earnings into CBN.  Revenue inflow generally is increasing. FIRS is working towards increasing the percentage of tax to GDP to about 20 per cent.

“The inflow of money is making the Tinubu administration dream big and plan big. With Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund due for launch, the government is already embarking on legacy projects, such as the 700 kilometre Lagos-Calabar Coastal Superhighway, which began in March. Government also plans to reactivate the Sokoto Illela-Badagry Superhighway, which was abandoned in 1976.

“Many roads and bridges in state of disrepair are to be refurbished. There are plans for rail. Funding for the Ibadan-Abuja-Kaduna rail is being arranged. Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail will be resuscitated while the Kano-Kastina-Maradi rail line, started by the Buhari administration will be completed with $2billion dollar loan already secured.”

He commended the president for the executive order on investment in the oil and gas sector, ascribing the opening of three big gas plants in the Niger Delta by the president in recent weeks as the quick fruits of the policy.

Onanuga said mega investments running into over $15 billion were expected in weeks.

Nigeria Not Working, Atiku Declares

Atiku yesterday said Nigeria was not working and the Tinubu administration was practising trial and error economic policies

In a statement he signed, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated, “On May 29, 2023, President Bola Tinubu raised the hopes of Nigerians with his pledge to ‘remodel our economy to bring about growth and development through job creation, food security and an end of extreme poverty’.

“Since then, Tinubu has also spoken about growing the economy at double-digit rates to $1 trillion in six years, ending misery and bringing immediate relief to Nigeria’s cost-of-living crisis.

“On listening to this, Nigerians must have breathed a sigh of relief after their experience with ex-President Buhari’s eight years of economic misadventure.”

But Atiku said Tinubu laid out no plans for the “remodelling” of the economy but soon embarked on a cocktail of policies to achieve it.

 According to Atiku, ” In May 2023, he eliminated petrol subsidies, and a month later, the CBN implemented a new foreign exchange policy that unified the multiple official FX windows into a single official market.

“More policies followed in rapid succession: the tightening of monetary policy to reduce Naira liquidity, a hike in monetary policy rates, the introduction of cost-reflective electricity tariff, and a cybersecurity tax.

“Predictably, 12 months on, Tinubu’s pledge of growing the economy and ending misery remains unfulfilled. His actions or inactions have significantly worsened Nigeria’s macroeconomic stability.

“Nigeria remains a struggling economy and is more fragile today than it was a year ago. Indeed, all the economic ills – joblessness, poverty, and misery – which defined the Buhari-led administration have only exacerbated.

“Africa’s leading economy has slipped to the 4th position lagging behind Algeria, Egypt, and South Africa. Citizens’ hopes have been dashed (and not renewed contrary to the propaganda of the administration) as Nigeria’s economic woes have multiplied.”

Atiku wondered how Nigerians got to current agonising state.

In answering the question, Atiku said, “In my press statement on the state of our economy, earlier this year, I expressed my concerns about the downside risks of unleashing reforms without sequencing; without any ideas on how to implement them; and without any regards to their potential and real devastating consequences.

“Implementing policies without proper planning and a clear destination is nothing other than trial-and-error economics.

“My concerns have not diminished. I will focus on just four areas to underscore those downside risks associated with Tinubu’s reform measures and their dire consequences on Nigeria’s medium to long-term growth and development.

“First, President Tinubu’s policies do not create prosperity. Instead, they pauperise the poor and bankrupt the rich. They spare no one. Nigerian citizens, the majority of whom are poor, are going through the worst cost-of-living crisis since the infamous structural adjustment programme of the 1980s.

“The annual inflation rate at 33.69 per cent is the highest in nearly three decades. Food prices are unbearably higher than what ordinary citizens can afford as food inflation soared to 40.53 per cent in April, the highest in more than 15 years.

“Nigerian citizens have to pay 114 per cent more for a bag of rice, 107 per cent more for a bag of flour, and 150 per cent more in transport fares relative to May 2023.

“Today, in some locations, motorists are paying 305 per cent more for a litre of fuel. Yet, on a minimum wage of the equivalent of US$23 per month, Nigerian workers are among the lowest wage earners in the world. Tinubu had the ‘courage’ to remove subsidy on PMS and impose additional taxes on his people but lacks the compassion to raise the minimum wage or implement a social investment programme that would reduce the levels of vulnerability, and deprivation of workers and their families.”

According to the former vice president, “It is clear from the foregoing that President Tinubu has an exaggerated understanding of the efficacy of his policies and was not ready for the potential fallouts. “Tinubu and his team are not exactly sure of where the reform process is and what the next steps are. Has Nigeria reinstated fuel subsidy? Is the Naira on a free or managed float? These trial-and-error policies raise questions about the readiness of the administration and their capacity to restore the economy to a path of sustainable growth.”

He warned Tinubu against further pauperising the poor by introducing new taxes or increasing tax rates.

Atiku added, “I have always been a reform advocate. The Nigerian economy certainly requires a large dose of reform measures to accelerate its transformation after many years of lacklustre growth.

“The difference is that I understand the appropriate reforms to undertake and what steps to take per time to mitigate their negative impact. In my Policy Document, I had anticipated that the withdrawal of subsidy and unification of exchange rates could, in the absence of fundamental interventions, impact negatively on micro and small enterprises in the informal sector and on the medium to large enterprises in the formal sector.”

Labour Party, PDP Say It’s Been One Year of Reign of Economic Hardship

Labour Party (LP) caucus in the House of Representatives described Tinubu’s one year in office as a reign of economic hardship, insecurity and hopelessness, which, according to the opposition party, negates the “Renewed Hope Agenda” campaign promises of the current administration.

According to a statement signed by the caucus Leader, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, the LP caucus said it is bewildering that the economy of the nation has dangerously continued on a free fall, one year after the inauguration of the current administration.

The statement released in Abuja, yesterday, to mark the first year anniversary of the current dispensation said the current state of the economy had cast a cloud of doubt on the capacity of the APC government to rescue the country from the present situation, especially after “the precarious eight years of the past administration, characterised by widespread despair”.

The caucus stated, “After last year’s glitch-determined presidential election, and the legal gymnastics which ratified the indolent behaviour of the electoral umpire, our caucus had taken a backseat, in the patriotic hope that, maybe, just maybe, the beneficiary administration would be able to wrought magic and pull the nation from the precipice of economic annihilation.

“But, as can be obviously felt by the blind, and seen by the deaf, the entire country has, after one year, come to the full and unambiguous understanding of what President Bola Tinubu meant, when he said that his administration would continue with the ‘legacies’ of his predecessor.”

The lawmakers also said, “From 29.9 per cent in January – the highest since 1996 – Nigeria’s general inflation rate today stands at 33.20 per cent and a poverty rate of 38.9 per cent.

“As the nation begins the journey into the second year of this administration, we call on President Tinubu to, as a matter of urgency, prioritise on minimising the suffering of Nigerians, by ensuring food security, access to clean water, healthcare and education.

“Tackling poverty and guaranteeing these necessities are pivotal to the sustenance of peace in the nation.”

On its part, PDP declared the last one year under Tinubu as the most challenging in Nigeria’s history since the civil war.

In a statement by its National Publicity to  Debo Ologunagba, PDP insisted that the current rising insecurity, excruciating poverty, economic hardship and general despondency in the country, necessitating the fleeing of thousands of Nigerians, especially the youth, from the country further confirmed that there was no hope in sight with APC on the saddle.

Ologunagba said, “It is apparent that inflicting pain and misery on Nigerians remains the policy thrust of successive APC administrations which became heightened by the not well thought-out twin anti-people policies of removal of fuel subsidy and the floating of the Naira without due consideration for the citizens’ welfare and security.

“As if these were not enough, the APC administration continues in its anti-people policies in the arbitrary hike in electricity tariff and imposition of multiple taxes on the already impoverished Nigerians with no corresponding tangible development directed towards the welfare of the people.”

 According to the PDP, “Instead of addressing the grave economic challenges facing our nation, the APC administration continues to wreck our productive sectors with its ill-advised policies which have resulted in the exit of multinational giants including GlaxoSmithKline, Procter and Gamble, Microsoft among others and massive divestment by major oil and gas companies from our country in the last one year.”

However, PDP commended Nigerians for their steadfastness and urged them not to allow the failures of the APC administration to make them lose hope in democracy and the nation.

Barau, Kalu Hail Tinubu On First Anniversary

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Jibrin Barau and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, hailed Tinubu on his government’s first anniversary, describing the president as a great leader and an architect of modern Nigeria.

Barau, in a statement to commemorate the first anniversary of the government, said Tinubu navigated the once-adrift ship of the Nigerian state to safety.

Barau said President Tinubu had led the country out of the doldrums in the last year.

He said, “The National Assembly, as the voice of all Nigerians, will always stand in synergy with Mr President’s visionary administration in facilitating the achievement of the Renewed Hope Agenda to restore hope in the country.”

Kalu, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation and former governor of Abia State, also urged Nigerians to be patient with the federal government in its efforts to improve the well-being of the people.

He stated that the Tinubu government was implementing pragmatic and sustainable reforms for ultimate development of the country, adding that the citizenry and government at all levels must complement each other for the sake of Nigeria.

Kalu appealed to leaders at all levels of government to engage their constituents before, during and after elections, and urged politicians to play the game by the rules.

Tinubu Steadying Nigeria’s Ship Through Impactful Reforms – Abbas

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, said the administration of Tinubu has been making significant strides in steadying the ship of the state through impactful reforms, policies, programmes and initiatives.

Abbas, in a statement issued yesterday, by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi, said Tinubu had demonstrated courageous leadership and taken bold decisions in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

He said the president met a lot of challenges in various sectors of the Nigerian society, including insecurity, economic downturn, national disunity, among others.

Abbas stated, “The president demonstrated his readiness for leadership on the first day in office by stopping the corruption-infested fuel subsidy, which had become a drain to the country. The subsidy regime was already throwing Nigeria into bankruptcy. Though that decision has expectedly caused some pains, it is a necessary economic policy that is key to our economic recovery and growth.

“The fuel subsidy removal and merger of the exchange rates showed his strong political will to prevent the administration from being taken hostage by the bureaucracy.”

Buhari Hails Tinubu, Appeals for Nigerians’ Support

Ex-President Muhammadu Buhari extended his best wishes to his Tinubu, on the completion of his first year in office.

The former president, in a release issued yesterday, appealed to all Nigerians to continue to strengthen the thread of national unity and goodwill. He also appealed to them to give their blessings and support to the Tinubu administration so that it can succeed in its efforts to build a Nigeria of our dreams.

Buhari expressed his wish for a successful tenure in office by the Tinubu administration.

LCCI: Soaring Inflation, Public Debt, Declining Real Sector’s Performance Mark Tinubu One Year in Office

Analysis of major economic indicators in the past one year by the LCCI showed that Tinubu’s first year in office was characterised by rising public debt, soaring inflation and interest rates, weakened Naira and declining performance of the manufacturing, agriculture and telecom sectors.

The LCCI in its “Scorecard for the Tinubu Administration After One Year,” stated that the economy has been in an adjustment mode “with several variables like stubborn inflation, persistent weakening of the Naira, supply chain disruption driven by insecurity, and weak production base, defining the outlook at any given time.”

Director General of LCCI, Dr. Chinyere Almona, said while policy choices had been liberal on the sides of the monetary and fiscal authorities, expected outcomes had not been recorded yet.  

Almona said, “The fight against inflation has not been successful, as the prices of goods keep an upward trend, with the inflation rate rising from 22.22 per cent in April 2023 to 33.69 per cent in April 2024, recording more than a 10 per cent leap in 12 months.”

She added, “Nigeria’s debt stock was N97.34 trillion ($108.22 billion) at the end of 2023, compared to N87.38 trillion ($113.42 billion) at the end of June 2023. This represents an increase of about N10 trillion. The total public debt stock increase is reflected in domestic and external debt.”  

Commenting on the impact of fiscal and monetary policies on the manufacturing sector since the inception of Tinubu’s administration, the LCCI stated that the manufacturing sector experienced fluctuations in its growth rates throughout the quarters of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, reflecting both challenges and opportunities.

According to the chamber, “The first quarter of 2024 presented some challenges, with nominal GDP growth slowing to 8.21 per cent year-on-year. Quarter-on-quarter growth was negative at -17.67 per cent, reflecting a contraction. Despite this, the sector’s contribution to nominal GDP remained substantial at 14.79 per cent.”

It advised the government “to fix the forex crises, adopt a lower exchange rate for import duties on imported raw materials for manufacturing, offer manufacturers concessionary interest rates in the face of shrinking credit to the private sector, and ensure the policy environment is stable and predictable” in order to buoy the fortunes of the manufacturing sector.

It further stated that in the first year of Tinubu’s administration, the agriculture sector was impacted mainly by insecurity, fuel subsidy removal, and consistent exchange rate deprecation, which increased the cost of fertilizer and other input costs.

Related Articles