Buharinomics came like an Earthquake, leaving a crater in the pockets of Nigerians like never before seen, except for once before…the last time he was head of state.
President Muhammed Buhari may be a lot of things but he is not a good manager of money, and systems.
In 2016, the UK’s most respected financial publication called the president’s economic policies “the height of foolishness.”
He feels systems should bend to his will,and not the forces of supply and demand as evidenced by how he squanders prosperity, turning it to squalor almost as seamlessly as fluid from the sea turns into rain on the Earth.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in power were epic mismanagers of the proverbial national cake, second only to the military dictatorships that plagued Nigeria for decades, however bad as their track record, they were able to preserve the economic status quo, and preserve the wealth of the nation.
A wise man once said men lai, women lai, but numbers don’t lie.
Under the PDP (as corrupt and clueless as they were called), inflation was steadily declining, Nigerian Economic Growth was stable and one of the fastest growing in the world, the foreign exchange rate was within a sound margin; and so it begs the question, what is it about Buhari that makes everything he touches whither.
Forget about the oil price, or the PDP’s malfeasance. Granted all these were contributing factors, but President Buhari’s lack of leadership at crucial moments in our national history were the biggest usurpers of our relative economic prosperity. Here is a man that Allah has granted providence twice to be the leader of the largest and richest black nation on Earth, but every time he is at the helm, he grinds prosperity to poverty with the same grinding stone.
Two notable things about President Buhari’s economic leadership.
First of all, the President’s learning curve is very low. You have to tell him the same thing over and over again before he takes action on these, unless you are a member of his immediate family, an in-law or the most preferable, a cabal insider.
The revelations that emerged from the oil Ministry Secretariat in the form of a leaked memo to President Buhari, has cemented Buhari’s reputation as a virtually idea-comatose individual, bereft of corporate governance best practices, intellectual leadership cues, and astute only at keeping up appearances, appearing handsome for photos and raging against the machine.
Secondly, President Buhari is adept at taking any system and running it aground. Even our yam is rejected in the United States. The same yam we have festivals for in the east has been rejected by America’s Food and Drug Administration and United States Customs and Border Protection. Thankfully there are technocrats scattered in his cabinet, chief among whom is the able vice-president. Ibe Kachikwu is also a stabilizing factor and Udoma’s reputation in the private sector is the stuff legend is made of. The fact it took PResident Muhammed Buhari 6 months to appoint this cabinet is the shock that led to the recession Nigeria just climbed out of.
Left to its own free market devices, the Nigerian economy will correct itself and it currently boasts one of the best performing stock markets in the world, with the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index providing over 33% year-to-date returns to investors. Thankfully President Buhari listened to the voice of reason, and left his artificial manipulation of the Nigerian Naira to market forces.
Many Nigerians who earn Naira from their businesses are still hurting severly from the over 200% inflation to the price of the American greenback which makes their cost of living higher and their standard of living lower as a result. Hallmarks of the economic legacy of Buhari’s government.
President Buhari made millions of Nigerians in the diaspora, especially in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Europe infinitely richer in Naira terms.
For illustration, a software engineers average wage in the USA is above $100,000 or N20 million approx when Buhari entered into government, now that same Nigerian is worth N36 million on Naira terms. At a point in 2016, when Buhari was artificially pegging the Naira FX rate, the engineer was worth N50 million.
Meanwhile a Nigerian businessman that earned N20 million or $100,000 at the same time Buhari entered into power is now worth N20 million or $55,000. So in major economic terms Buhari impoverished Nigerians, no be small. Obviously it is as a result of his poor educational antecedents, a man whose secondary school certificate is yet to be widely authenticated.
If the diaspora were to be the only ones to vote in 2019, they would re-elect Buhari by a landslide just to thank him for how much richer he has made them over the past 29 months. Those in Nigeria should remain watchful and see if President Buhari is content with his shabby economic legacy he has bequeathed to once prospering Nigerians, even as he seemed in a hurry to make the value of the Naira seem like toilet paper in comparison to the value of major world currencies.