Tinubu’s Tightrope: Assessing Nigeria’s Economy After One Year In Office

Bola Tinubu 2027 presidential election

By James Ezema

As President Bola Tinubu’s administration in Nigeria clocks the one-year mark, the state of the country’s economy remains a cause for concern.

Since taking office on May 29, 2023, President Tinubu has faced numerous challenges in stabilising the economy and setting it on a path to sustainable growth. However, the Nigerian economy continues to wobble under his administration with increasing hardship.

Amid various challenges, ranging from inflation to unemployment, Tinubu’s government faces the daunting task of repositioning the economy for sustainable growth.

In assessing the current state of Nigeria’s faltering economy as inherited by President Tinubu, key areas his government should focus on to steer the country towards economic stability are herein highlighted in an attempt to contribute ideas that could usher in a better life for the citizens.

The State of the Nigerian Economy

Since assuming office, President Tinubu has inherited from former President Muhammadu Buhari an economy plagued by high inflation, rising debt levels, and sluggish growth.

Inflation has been on the rise, reaching double digits in recent months, making it difficult for ordinary Nigerians to afford basic necessities. No thanks to the sudden removal of subsidy on petrol. The high inflation has been exacerbated by the depreciation of the Nigerian Naira, which has lost value against major foreign currencies, leading to higher prices for imported goods and services.

To be blamed also is the carried-over negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which earlier led to job losses and increased poverty levels. Despite efforts to stimulate the economy through various policies and interventions, the impact has been limited, and the economy continues to struggle.

Inflation and Exchange Rate Stability

One of the key areas of concern for the Tinubu administration is inflation and exchange rate stability. As captured in the background of this article, it is important to emphasise that inflation has been on the rise, eroding the purchasing power of Nigerians and making it difficult for businesses to plan and invest. The exchange rate has also been volatile, leading to uncertainty in the business environment.

Addressing these issues will be crucial in restoring confidence in the economy. It is obvious that the economic policies of the administration have so far not reduced inflation and addressed the exchange rate problem. A change of policy or a change of guard could be considered.

Unemployment and Youth Empowerment

Another major challenge facing the economy is the high level of unemployment. Despite the government’s efforts to create jobs through various initiatives, the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, particularly among young people. This has hindered economic growth, as a large segment of the population is unable to contribute positively to the economy.

Unemployment remains a major challenge in Nigeria, with a large percentage of the population, especially the youth, without jobs. President Tinubu’s government must prioritize youth empowerment programs and initiatives to create job opportunities and reduce the unemployment rate.

Investing in skills development and entrepreneurship will be key to unlocking the potential of Nigeria’s youth population. Without an adequate power supply, the situation will worsen with the high cost of fuel for generators that could power small businesses.

Infrastructure Development

In addition to these challenges, Nigeria’s economy has also been hampered by a lack of infrastructure development. The country’s roads, ports, and power supply are in dire need of investment and improvement, which has slowed down economic activities and deterred foreign investors from setting up businesses in the country.

Infrastructure development is essential for economic growth and development. President Tinubu’s government should, therefore, focus on improving the country’s infrastructure, including roads, power, and transportation networks, beginning with intra-state transportation systems. Investing in infrastructure will not only create jobs but also attract foreign investment and stimulate economic activity.

Therefore, for emphasis, the government must prioritize investment in infrastructure development beyond mere sloganeering. Specifically, the government must intentionally improve the country’s roads, ports, as well as power supply as electricity infrastructure is key. This will boost economic activities and attract needed foreign investors looking to set up businesses in Nigeria. This will go a long way in creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and contribute to the urgently needed economic growth.

Diversification of the Economy

Over the years, Nigeria’s economy has been heavily reliant on oil, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices and local factors.

President Tinubu’s government should, therefore, prioritize diversifying the economy by promoting non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services beyond mere words. Diversification will reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenue and make the economy more resilient to external shocks.

If the current administration will ever get the economy right, the Tinubu administration must, as a matter of urgency, do more towards implementing policies that promote economic diversification and industrialization. The heavy reliance on oil exports over the decades has increasingly made Nigeria’s economy very vulnerable, which has worsened with reports indicating that Nigeria’s oil has been sold in advance for unspecified periods.

Therefore, by diversifying the economy and promoting the growth of non-oil sectors such as agriculture, and manufacturing for export, among others, the government can create new sources of revenue and employment opportunities for Nigerians.

Fiscal Discipline and Debt Management

Fiscal discipline and debt management are crucial for ensuring the sustainability of Nigeria’s economy. President Tinubu’s government must prioritize prudent fiscal management and debt sustainability to avoid a debt crisis or over-taxation of impoverished citizens who are economically gasping for breath at the moment. Implementing reforms to improve revenue generation, without overburdening poverty-stricken Nigerians, and reduce wasteful spending by government officials and appointees will be essential in achieving fiscal stability.

Anti-Corruption and Good Governance

Despite efforts by the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede, corruption remains a major impediment to Nigeria’s economic development. President Tinubu’s government should intensify efforts to combat corruption and promote good governance.

Strengthening institutions, enhancing transparency, and holding corrupt officials accountable will be crucial in restoring trust in the government and attracting investment. A major priority for President Tinubu’s administration should be a systematic recovery of all and every fund allegedly looted by officials of the immediate past administration and the tracing and recovery of the allegedly shared oil revenues by those referred to as former President Muhammadu Buhari’s “boys”. There are allegations of looted loans, which should be thoroughly investigated as the recovery of looted funds from former ministers and other appointees of the previous government could give a lifeline to the funding of the 2024 budget against borrowing.

Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation

The poverty levels in Nigeria have remained very high, with a significant portion of the population living below the poverty line. President Tinubu’s government should prioritize social welfare programmes and poverty alleviation initiatives to improve the living standards of Nigerians. The sharing of money or the so-called conditional money transfer has only enriched the very wealthy government officials and appointees.

Therefore, President Tinubu’s administration should consider investing in affordable healthcare, free education, and social protection to reduce the poverty and inequality gap in the country.

In conclusion, as President Tinubu clocked one year in office on May 29, 2024, there are several areas that his government should focus on to reposition the ailing economy and set it on a path to recovery.

By focusing on such key areas as inflation and exchange rate stability, unemployment and youth empowerment, infrastructure development, diversification of the economy, fiscal discipline, anti-corruption, good governance, social welfare, and poverty alleviation, his government can reposition the economy for sustainable growth and development. President Tinubu must take bold and decisive actions to steer Nigeria towards economic stability and prosperity.

Comrade James Ezema is a journalist, political strategist and President/Executive Coordinator of the Not Too Young To Perform (NTYTP), a young people-driven pro-democracy and leadership development advocacy group. He is also the National President of the Association of Bloggers and Journalists Against Fake News. He writes from Abuja and can be reached via email at [email protected] or WhatsApp on 08035823617

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