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Can Tinubu revive Nigeria’s economy?

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By Abraham Adekunle

Country's economic reforms under President Tinubu are called into question.

As President Bola Tinubu assumed office, the challenges facing Nigeria’s economy were daunting, with inflation at 22%, crippled public finances, low oil production, and ongoing militancy. The 71-year-old former governor of Lagos State, belonging to the same party as his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari, embarked on a distinctive economic path, marked by the removal of fuel subsidies, currency reforms, and the dismissal of high-profile officials. In his inaugural address, Tinubu announced the immediate removal of fuel subsidies and later streamlined the national currency exchange rates, signaling a departure from the economic policies of his predecessor. High-profile dismissals, including the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, were made, with Emefiele facing corruption charges.

Observers like Danladi Verheijen, co-founder of Verod Capital, believe that Nigeria’s economy is on the brink of a significant recovery due to the “massive step change” in policy making. Newly appointed officials, such as finance minister Wale Edun and CBN governor Olayemi Cardoso, are seen as more experienced and pro-business, fostering optimism among international investors who are now showing renewed interest in Nigeria. For decades, Nigeria’s economic model relied heavily on exporting crude oil and importing most other goods. The consequences of this approach are evident, with many Nigerians struggling to afford basic necessities, high unemployment rates among young adults, and neglect of the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The central challenges facing Tinubu’s presidency is to reduce imports, boost local production, and increase the export of value-added products to international markets.

Infrastructure challenges and the impact of currency depreciation.

Efforts to address this challenge are underway, notably with the Lagos Free Zone, situated 65 km outside Lagos, aiming to become a major manufacturing hub. Operated by Singaporean conglomerate Tolaram, the Free Zone offers tax incentives and has attracted major companies like Kellogg’s, Colgate-Palmolive, and BASF. However, challenges persist, such as the need for improved infrastructure, including road connectivity, to fully realize the Free Zone’s potential. While the Lagos Free Zone represents a step in the right direction, challenges in attracting modern consumer industries are evident, particularly in the inadequate road infrastructure between the industrial corridor and Lagos. Efficient road connectivity is crucial for the success of the Free Zone, and ongoing construction efforts aim to address this issue.

The nairas depreciation against the dollar, a result of the government’s exchange rate reforms, has made domestic manufacturing more economically viable, according to Tejaswi Avasarala, deputy CEO of the Lagos Free Zone. Despite this, some major brands have scaled back their Nigerian manufacturing operations due to reduced consumer purchasing power and higher costs of imported raw materials. The new administration’s bold reforms, including the removal of fuel subsidies, have raised questions about the pace of change. The removal of fuel subsidies, while deemed necessary, has led to significant financial hardship for many Nigerians, as petrol prices skyrocketed overnight. The impact of the subsidy reforms, coupled with the naira’s depreciation, contributed to a surge in inflation, reaching 28% in November, up 6% since Tinubu took office.

Unlocking Nigeria’s economic potential via entrepreneurial determination.

This rapid pace of change raises concerns about the government’s strategy and its potential impact on various sectors. Small hospitals and clinics, in particular, are facing challenges in keeping up with bills, and the healthcare sector is witnessing a “brain drain” as professionals seek better opportunities abroad. Whether Tinubu’s reforms are truly moving the country in the right direction remains uncertain, with leading credit rating agencies cautious in upgrading Nigeria’s rating due to persistent economic fundamentals.

Nigeria’s economic potential is widely recognized, driven by its large market and a projected population growth from 220 million to 374 million by 2050. Despite abundant oil wealth, the country faces challenges in realizing its potential, evident in low life expectancy and development metrics. Tinubu’s presidency represents an opportunity to reverse these trends, with the tech sector flourishing and digital infrastructure spreading across the country. Nigeria’s entrepreneurs remain determined to unleash the country’s potential, irrespective of the government’s support. Textile entrepreneur Chekwas Okafor, founder of Onchek, returned to Nigeria to revive the garment manufacturing industry.

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Despite challenges, including competition from Asian rivals and the loss of jobs in the textile industry, Okafor sees potential in the naira’s devaluation making domestic manufacturing more economically viable. President Tinubu’s efforts to attract foreign investors and implement reforms are critical for Nigeria’s economic revival. While the potential for change is clear, executing these plans will be the determining factor in the success of the administration. As investment advisor Olugbolahan Mark-George emphasizes, Nigeria has policies and documents in place; the critical factor is execution. The government’s ability to demonstrate a conducive business environment will shape Nigeria’s economic trajectory in the coming years.


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AN-Toni
Editor
1 month ago

Can Tinubu revive Nigeria’s economy? – Country’s economic reforms under President Tinubu are called into question. – Express your point of view.

SarahDiv
Member
1 month ago

There’s hope for economic revival under President Tinubu’s leadership, marked by bold reforms and attracting international investors. Initiatives like the Lagos Free Zone show promise, but challenges remain, including infrastructure needs and the impact of reforms on sectors like healthcare. The potential for positive change is acknowledged, and successful execution of these plans is key for the country’s economic trajectory.

Adeoye Adegoke
Member
1 month ago

It’s important to remember that the economy of a country is a complex system influenced by various factors. While individuals can play a role in shaping economic policies and reforms, it’s not solely the responsibility of one person to revive an entire economy.
Tinubu has been a prominent figure in Nigerian politics and has made significant contributions to the country’s development. However, economic revival requires a collective effort from the government, private sector, and citizens as a whole.
It’s crucial to have a comprehensive and inclusive approach to economic reforms, focusing on areas such as infrastructure development, job creation, diversification of industries, and investment in education and healthcare. These efforts require collaboration, expertise, and long-term planning from multiple stakeholders.
So, while Tinubu’s involvement in economic reforms can bring valuable insights and ideas, it’s important to recognize that sustainable economic revival requires a broader collective effort and a comprehensive approach.

Kazeem1
Member
1 month ago

A comprehensive strategy and cooperation from many stakeholders are necessary for the difficult process of reviving a nation’s economy. It’s vital to take into account the larger picture and the difficulties that Nigeria experiences, even though President Tinubu may have certain changes to the economy in mind.

Taiwo
Member
1 month ago

Can Nigeria’s economy be revived under Tinubu? The – Economic improvements implemented by the nation under President Tinubu are questioned.Developing facilities creating jobs, and other areas of the economy should be the main priorities of any balanced and open strategy to societal changes.