Economy Has Been Better in Your Absence, Leave it to Osinbajo – The UK Economist Urge Buhari
Ever since word trickled out that Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s 74-year-old president, was not just taking a holiday in Britain but seeking medical care, his country has been on edge. But has Nigeria’s president noticed that the economy has improved during his absence?
In an article titled ‘Get Well Soon, Mr Buhari,’ revered British newspaper, The Economist, wants President Muhammadu Buhari, who is away on an extended medical vacation, to leave affairs of the economy with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The newspaper advised Buhari to provide leadership for the fight against corruption and insurgency, and allow Osinbajo focus on the economy.
The Economist said “although his government moves at a glacial pace, earning him the nickname ‘Baba Go Slow’, he (Buhari) has wrested back control of the main towns in three states overrun by Boko Haram.
“Yet the jihadists still control much of the countryside, and the government has been slow to react to a looming famine that has left millions hungry.
“On corruption, Mr Buhari has made some progress. A former national security adviser is on trial in Nigeria for graft, and a former oil minister was arrested in Britain for money laundering. So far, however, there have been no big convictions.
“Mr Buhari’s main failures have been the eeconomic damage caused by a fall in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main export, has been aggravated by mismanagement. For months Mr Buhari tried to maintain a peg to the dollar by banning whole categories of imports, from soap to cement, prompting the first full-year contraction of output in 25 years.”
The newspaper added: “With Mr Buhari in London, the country’s economic stewardship has, whisper it, improved a bit. Mr Osinbajo has allowed a modest devaluation and started on reforms aimed at boosting growth. This is already paying off.
“If his health recovers, Mr Buhari still has two years left in office. He should focus on doing what he does best: providing the leadership his troops need to defeat Boko Haram and the moral authority to clamp down on corruption.
“And, noting how much better the economy is doing without him trying to command it like a squad of soldiers, he should make good on a long-forgotten electoral pledge to leave economic policy to the market-friendly Mr Osinbajo.”