Tinubu Hasn’t Found Right Way To Handle Economy — Obasanjo

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the removal of petrol subsidy by the administration of President Bola Tinubu was necessary but “wrongly and thoughtlessly” implemented.

Obasanjo made the remark on Saturday while speaking virtually at a colloquium themed ‘Nigeria’s Development: Navigating the Way Out of the Current Economic Crisis and Insecurity’.

He said the federal government also got the implementation of the exchange rates unification wrong, hence impoverishing Nigerians.

“Today, the government has taken three decisions, two of which are necessary but wrongly and thoughtlessly implemented and have led to impoverisation of the economy and of Nigerians. These are removal of subsidy, closing the gap between black market and official rates of exchange and the third is dealing with a military coup in Niger Republic,” Obasanjo said.

 

On attracting foreign investments, the former president said the Tinubu-led government “has not found the right way to handle the economy to engender confidence and trust for investors to start trooping in”.

He said the government cannot attract investors when those in the country are leaving, adding that investors do not take Nigeria seriously.

Obasanjo said Total Energy chose Angola over Nigeria to invest $6 billion dollars because “they do not find steady and stable policy in Nigeria”.

 

“The way forward is production and productivity which belief and trust in government leadership will engender. No shortcut to economic progress but hard work and sweat,” he said.

“Economy does not obey orders, not even military orders. I know that. If we get it right, in two years, we will begin to see the light beyond the tunnel. It requires a change of characteristics, attributes and attitude by the leadership at all levels to gain the confidence and trust of investors who have alternatives.

“They know us more than we know ourselves. And now they are laughing at us, not taking us seriously. We have to present ourselves in such a way that we will be taken seriously.

“With change by us, the investors will give us the benefit of doubt, and security being taken care of on a sustainable long-term basis, they will start to test the water. With the right economic policies, attributes of integrity and honesty of purpose, all should be well with all hands on deck and the government becoming a catalyst for development, growth and progress.

 

“Tinkering with the exchange rate is not the answer. The answer is consistency and continuity in policy to ensure stability and predictability.”

As part of the solution to Nigeria’s economic woes, Obasanjo suggested a 25-year social economic development agenda “that will be generally agreed to by the nation, by all political parties and passed into law by the national assembly with state assemblies aspects also passed into law by the state houses of assembly”.

He listed some priorities in the agenda to include education for all, food and nutrition security through agribusiness, energy for all, health for all, industrialisation and manufacturing, and science, technology, innovation and artificial intelligence.

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