NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESIDENT BUHARI’S ADMINISTRATION
By Elizabeth Christopher
When President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reign of power eight years ago, Nigerians had high expectations from an administration, which made economic turn-around a major task to be pursued with vigor, and possibly attained.
President Buhari’s other promises were a concerted effort to defeat insecurity, and to wage unrelenting war to end corruption which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. These are part of the programmes aimed at revamping the country’s economy. The administration promised to pursue an economic diversification programme that would make Nigeria produce what it needs and consume what it produces with less dependence on imports.
He promised also to tailor expenditures to match the administration’s plan envisaged in three Executive Orders to encourage investments in key sectors of the economy and make it easier for investors to do business in Nigeria.
The growth rate of two point eight four percent recorded in the economy in the first three months dropped to two point one percent during the fourth quarter of 2015 national economic plan at a time the country’s GDP was projected to grow by four percent by the end of that year.
This trend of decline in growth continued in 2016, when the country went into a recession for the first time in twenty-five years, occasioned by the drop in the market price of crude oil, made worse by the shortfall in the daily crude output and increased incidents of oil thefts.
Efforts by the administration to diversify the economy with investment in non-oil sector like agriculture was affected in 2020 following the out-break of Covid-19 Pandemic, a situation which forced a very inconveniencing economic failure across the globe. This was due mostly to the lockdown and the attendant effects on international movement of persons, goods and services.
Although the economy had started to witness signs of growth in 2021 as activities picked up across the globe, the effects of the past recession as well as the almost stagnant growth during the Covid -19 Pandemic left a bad taste in the economy.
The negative impact of insurgency, banditry and terror attacks across the country did much to persuade many would be investors to become skeptical about putting their money in Nigeria’s economy, which began to witness capital flight due mainly to insecurity.
The cumulative effect of the problems Nigeria was experiencing became visible in the astronomical rise in prices of goods and services, inflation went all time high and interest rates drove many companies aground, leaving the few ones which could rise above the waters to dictate the pace of development and the citizenry were at their mercy.
Though the Nigerian economy slipped into recession twice under President Buhari, it was able to return to the path of growth before the effects began to have a bandwagon influence on other areas of the nation’s life, making it impossible for policy management aimed at salvaging the economy to take firm roots for a coordinated growth as projected.
With the current Nigeria’s average debt tool of one hundred and three thousand, one hundred and ten point eight-four million US dollars, the in-coming administration needs to work extremely hard to reduce this debt burden.
Strong global strategic business policies should be put in place to create conducive atmosphere that will attract Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, into the country.
Leakages of Nigerian resources in the areas of oil and gas, solid minerals, special concessions, funds and tax invasions should be checked to retrieve them into the nation’s coffers.
When these policies become operational in the new dispensation of the in-coming administration, Nigeria’s economy will not only blossom but, expand to the African continent.