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23.04.2024 Featured Data: Buhari, Tinubu Took Nigeria’s Economy 18 Steps Backward in 9 Years

Published 23rd Apr, 2024

By Opeyemi Lawal

Data has shown that President Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari, the immediate past president, took Nigeria’s economy 18 steps backward in nine years.

According to Statisence, an AI data company, Nigeria dropped to the 42nd largest economy in the world in 2023 from its 22nd position in 2015, the year Buhari took power.

The Nigerian economy was estimated at $568.50 billion in 2014 and $374.95 billion in 2023.

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While Buhari was president, the Nigerian economy slipped twice into recession, causing a massive depreciation of the naira.

A 2017 Stears report stated that while Buhari took over a fragile economy from ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, he allowed the country’s economy to sail nearly on autopilot:

“High oil prices had flattered Nigeria’s bleak economic picture for many years, and the end of the boom triggered a period of uncertainty as the crisis loomed. In fact, in a bid to curtail the damage, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) devalued the naira from ₦155/$1 to ₦168/$1, and subsequently to ₦199/$1, to no avail. The combination of the oil price slump and gross maladministration of previous regimes left the economy on tenterhooks by the time President Buhari took charge. 

“The Buhari administration started off on the wrong foot in terms of economic strategy. Ab initio, the President failed to capitalise on the massive goodwill he enjoyed at the start of his tenure to push through decisive policies during his honeymoon period. Initiatives like quickly repealing the Land Use Act or pushing through the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill were overlooked in favour of nothing. 

“For months after taking power, President Buhari did close to nothing on the economic front. His lackadaisical approach, exemplified by his failure to appoint federal ministers until six months after his inauguration, did the economy no favours, leaving economic management to just the CBN.”

“In all, President Buhari’s initial sluggishness, the CBN’s damaging foreign exchange controls, and a decimated oil sector contributed to the nation’s abysmal economic performance in the past two years. In turn, the average Nigerian is worse off than in pre-Buhari times, an observation that is hard to deny. 

“Two years is too little time for a definite assessment of President Buhari’s economic performance, and the absence of a counterfactual scenario means we cannot be too harsh. But the sharp economic deterioration in the last two years points to an uncomfortable truth – President Buhari has fallen well short of economic expectations.”

The Nigerian economy is currently witnessing one of its lowest dips and is now close to its position in 1999.

Data showed that from 2006 to 2010, Nigeria’s economy only ranked between the 30th and 34th in the world, at $222.79 billion, $262.22 billion, $297.46 billion and $369.06 billion, respectively.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Nigeria was set to lose its place as Africa’s largest economy following several depreciation bouts of the naira and the rising cost of living.

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The report stated that Nigeria’s GDP was projected to take the fourth place, behind Algeria at $267 billion, Egypt at $348 billion and South Africa at $373 billion, by 2027.

Nigeria’s economy is perceived to have been weakened by some of President Bola Tinubu’s decisions, particularly fuel subsidy removal, a power tariff hike and the floating of the naira.

“Despite a recent rebound, the naira is still 50% weaker against the greenback than what it was prior to him taking office after two currency devaluations,” Bloomberg stated.

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Published 23rd Apr, 2024

By Opeyemi Lawal

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