When President Muhammadu Buhari assumed offices in 2015, the economy of Nigeria was not really stable. Though some years ago, Nigeria had the largest economy in Africa.
In building a strong economy in any country, it has to properly planned and the plan (if well organized) must be monitored to achieve the desired goal. Economic growth does not happen by chance. It must be planned and must be implemented.
In the case of Nigeria, there was a high degree of certainty over the president changing or improving the economy of the country for the better. This he is trying to achieve by fighting corruption and insecurity in the country.
Before Buhari got into office in 2015, the country’s economy was showing signs of decline. This could be due to the currency crisis which threatened to cripple the nation’s economy. The currency crisis also led to inflation as the Naira tumbled and slowed down the growth of the economy.
The bombing by the Niger Delta militants reduced the oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day to about 1.6 million barrels per day. This, together with the price of crude oil crashes in 2014 during the era of former president Goodluck Jonathan, made the economy go into recession.
One may easily blame past presidents, president Buhari or the APC government for this setback, but it must be remembered that falling oil prices and Naira devaluation may have led to the fall in our economy before he took over.
It is highly worrying that the 2018 budget was passed lately. Such a development could also negate the development of the national economy. One would remember that the 2017 budget was also like that, this could impact economic growth negatively on the country, but the timely passage of the 2019 budget will usher in changes economically and otherwise in the country.
The delay by President Buhari to select his cabinet after being sworn in on May 29, 2015, weighed heavily on the economy. His refusal to allow the Central Bank of Nigeria to devalue the Naira when falling oil prices were eroding the nation’s external reserves compounded Nigeria’s problem. When the CBN eventually de-pegged the Naira in June 2016, the local currency depreciated so badly that the economy and citizens felt the pain it has brought to the downtrodden masses.
Although inflation has been reduced, yet the effects can still be felt.
The truth is, Nigeria needs to implement more fiscal and monetary measures with a strong focus on agricultural development to boost economic growth.
Today, the nation proudly boasts of foreign exchange stability and moderating inflationary pressures; this could be off the back of recovering oil prices in the OPEC market.
Lessons from the past regarding falling oil prices should act as a wake-up call for the nation to break away from oil reliance and diversify into a self-sustaining economy like agriculture. With the implementation of the new Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) supporting trade and capital flows, the outlook of Nigeria remains encouraging. The CBN has the ability to boost economic growth by cutting interest rates. With inflation pressures slowly becoming a thing of the past and economic data improving, it becomes a matter of when, rather than if, interest rates will be reduced.