Tinubu: A year later – Tribune Online

THE Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, during the Ministerial Sectoral Update held in Abuja as part of the activities to mark President Tinubu’s first birthday on May 29, announced that President Bola Tinubu’s anniversary celebration would be subdued are . Also speaking at the event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, said the Federal Government apologized to Nigerians for the pain and economic hardship experienced in the country. He, however, noted that the policies of the Tinubu-led government were on track. He said that despite the currency crisis and inflation, which had frustrated economic growth, things would get better. President Tinubu, in his first year in office, has outlined policies and initiatives aimed at laying a strong foundation for sustainable economic progress and prosperity for all Nigerians. The government, operating under the banner of the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’, has identified eight key priority areas aimed at boosting economic growth and increasing prosperity for Nigeria. Despite these efforts, problems have arisen since the government came to power in May 2023.

In practical terms, the government has increased the price of petrol by removing subsidies, and devalued the Naira by unifying the foreign exchange market across all platforms; implemented fiscal expansion and increased the debt burden through additional borrowing. This policy has not been people-friendly. They have caused food inflation and millions of Nigerians have been unable to feed themselves. Poverty and want have come to dominate the lives of ordinary Nigerians, who have become demoralized and frustrated. The decision to float the Naira was aimed at increasing exchange rate flexibility and boosting economic growth. However, volatility in the currency market has had unintended consequences for businesses and consumers. Fluctuating exchange rates have disrupted import-export dynamics, raising production costs and increasing price instability, affecting the viability of businesses and the purchasing power of consumers. The lack of effective exchange rate management strategies and currency stabilization measures has exacerbated economic uncertainties and contributed to the challenges Nigerians face.

The sudden and comprehensive removal of subsidies, especially on an essential commodity like petrol, has had a direct impact on the cost of living for ordinary Nigerians. The sudden price increase has exacerbated inflation, eroded purchasing power and placed a heavy burden on households already grappling with economic challenges. The lack of adequate social safety nets and targeted interventions to cushion the effects of subsidy elimination has further increased economic pressure on vulnerable populations, leading to widespread hardship and dissatisfaction. The abolition of subsidies could have been gradual if measures had been taken to address the resulting problems. Plunging citizens into sudden and profound hardship has made them suspicious of the government’s intentions given their economic experiences under the previous All Progressives Congress (APC) government. That government was characterized by high inflation, increased youth unemployment, increasing poverty and increasing insecurity.

Recognizing the hardships citizens face is not enough. The government must reassess these policies and embrace a holistic approach to economic management and social protection. Addressing structural shortcomings in policy implementation, strengthening social safety nets, and prioritizing inclusive economic policies are essential steps toward alleviating the pain that citizens experience. Maintaining social cohesion, promoting inclusivity and ensuring the integrity of governance are critical imperatives for Tinubu’s leadership. Addressing social inequalities, promoting transparency and increasing accountability are essential for building trust, increasing the effectiveness of governance and fostering a sense of national unity. Tinubu must demonstrate commitment to ethical leadership, responsive governance and social justice to overcome divisions, promote unity and advance the collective well-being of the Nigerian people. Yet President Tinubu demonstrated the qualities of a listening leader by making changes at the behest of Nigerians. On occasions, such as the cybercrime levy, the appointment of university board members and the suspension of a minister, he has occasionally withdrawn. He has tried to get even opposition members on board. But many of his appointees have not followed his civility: they respond to criticism with insults and some have used their privileged position to violate the rights of journalists by abusing access to the police.

The economic challenges facing Nigeria require bold reforms, innovative solutions and a clear development agenda. Over the past year, Tinubu’s leadership has been called upon to revive the economy, create jobs and promote sustainable growth, amid fiscal constraints and structural constraints. His reform priorities appear not to have clarified the path to economic recovery and prosperity for all Nigerians. The challenges Tinubu faces are formidable, yet surmountable with visionary leadership, strategic planning and unwavering commitment to the common good. Tinubu must build confidence and lead Nigeria to a better future by embracing proactive leadership, inclusive governance and sustainable development policies.

The economic challenges Nigeria currently faces require courageous reforms, creative and people-oriented solutions and a well-defined development strategy. Tinubu’s leadership has been tested over the past year to rejuvenate the economy, create jobs and promote sustainable growth, despite budgetary constraints and structural obstacles. The sequence and priorities of his reform agenda do not appear to have clearly outlined a roadmap to economic recovery and prosperity for all Nigerians. Although Tinubu faces significant challenges, they are not insurmountable thanks to visionary leadership, strategic planning and an steadfast commitment to the well-being of the people. By overcoming obstacles, instilling confidence and steering Nigeria towards a promising future, Tinubu has the potential to bring about positive change. Embracing proactive leadership, inclusive governance and sustainable development strategies will be paramount.

READ ALSO: A year later, Nigeria no longer works under Tinubu – Atiku

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