A rundown of Buhari’s economic blunders of 2017

Despite the achievements of the Buhari Presidency in securing the North East, and battling corruption, the state of the economy was kept on the back burner in 2017. Nairametrics looks at the areas where the Buhari administration failed to create significant mileage. This is a review of economic blunders made by the president.

1.       Late budget passage

The 2017 budget was signed into law by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in June 2017, due to the absence of President Buhari who was on a medical vacation. Prior to this, the budget was also marred by allegations of padding.  The late passage of the budget resulted in it being rolled over into 2018.

2.       High Unemployment

Unemployment levels closed at 18.8% compared to the 14.4% in the first quarter of the year, according to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). A total of 15.9 million Nigerians were unemployed as at Q3 2017.

3.       Fuel scarcity

Nigeria, once again, suffered an acute fuel scarcity that left many individuals spending the festive period queuing for petrol. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), and Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) have since traded blame over responsibility for the crisis.

4.       Aviation

The aviation sector has not gained much traction. The much touted concession of the airports has been put on hold, due to agitations by unions.  A proposed national carrier has also not moved beyond the memorandum of discussion.

Arik and Aero Contractors are still under the administration of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). Ethiopian air, which had earlier shown interest in the airlines, pulled out after AMCON denied knowledge of the matter.

5.       The Capital Market

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) remained without a board in 2017. Nominees for the SEC board were also absent from a recent list released by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) at the tail end of the year.

6.       Squabble with the National Assembly

A disagreement with the National Assembly over the continued function of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has led to approval of vital nominees being placed on hold. These include Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aishah Ahmad, and several members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

7.       Education

The Education sector witnessed very few positive developments in 2017. A presidential summit on education was held belatedly in November, after nearly three years in office. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions went on the strike over non implementation of prior agreements.

8.       Health

In perhaps a damning admission of the poor state of the country’s health sector, President Buhari was away for nearly 4 months due to his trip to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

The health sector also saw very little activity, save for the monkey pox virus that has been contained and the resumption of the production of vaccines in conjunction with May and Baker.

9.       Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC)

While the administration has touted its fight against corruption as a cardinal agenda, not much has been achieved in the area of convictions. The cases involving former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, and the former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayodele Oke, are yet to make significant headway. Various high-level cases have to date remained unresolved. Former governors and ministers accused of corruptly enriching themselves have ended up bailing themselves, while they walk free.

Also, the squabble between the Presidency and National Assembly over the continued stay of EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, could have a negative effect on the commission’s operations.

As 2019 draws closer, the president would do well to go back to the drawing board and find ways to address these blunders;failure to do so might cost himhis mandate.