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The Economist, a forefront London-based magazine published an article on Nigeria’s economy titled “Crude Tactics.” The article provided an argument explaining why the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, is making a mistake by refusing to devalue the nation’s currency, in order to battle the fall in global oil prices. Instead, most people were captivated by the side jab the article threw at the country’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, using derogatory words. The article called him an “ineffectual buffoon”, who allowed “politicians and their cronies fill their pockets with impunity.” As a result of this, many Nigerians felt offended.

Perhaps, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was corrupt, but calling the man a clown? Considering that Jonathan has recently been receiving a lot of international recognition for his contribution to democracy in Nigeria, this article may come across as mere rambling. Also, the publication questions the intelligence of Nigerians by inferring that the new president, Muhammadu Buhari is making colossal errors in his fiscal policies concerning the Nigerian economy. Maybe he is, but the article fails to mention how devaluing the Naira will affect the common people, the masses Buhari swore to protect in his inauguration speech.

The article makes a case for foreign investors in Nigeria and the difficulties for locally owned businesses who have recently been “forced into the black market.” Perhaps it would hamper them, but is it not playing to President Buhari’s plans of diversifying an economy that is currently too dependent on oil? In fact, producing locally will reduce the pressure on foreign exchange. Regarding claims that foreign investors are leaving  the country, several bilateral agreements signed by Buhari on his foreign trips since he became president are set to yield positive results, hence there is no cause for alarm yet.

The Nigerian Manufacturers Association has commended President Buhari for his anti-import policies as provided for in the budget, apparently, this is something the article does not acknowledge. The assertion that “several local manufacturers have suspended operations”, without any evidence is just not good enough.

According to the article, Buhari’s first stint as Nigeria’s leader caused the dearth of “much of Nigeria’s nascent industry?” But isn’t it too early to determine that just yet? It’s almost like saying he was the sole cause of Nigeria’s manufacturing woes between 1980 and 1990 because he was the leader of Nigeria for about 18 months between 1983 and 1985.

In 1984 when Buhari was the Military Head of State, he started by attempting to rebuild the nation’s socio-political and economic systems under harsh economic conditions. This included cutting back on excesses in the national expenditure and ending corruption, especially in the public sector. Buhari tightened importation and, instead, encouraged the use of local materials. However, this resulted in the loss of jobs and subsequent closure of many businesses. At the time, Buhari’s philosophy was partial to a statist economy rather than a free market. And some might say that because corruption in Nigeria hasn’t faltered, neither will his views on how best to manage Nigeria’s economic growth.

Still, while it could be that history is repeating itself, the article hardly makes a case for the present realities facing Nigeria’s economy as a whole; an important piece missing from the puzzle of “crude tactics.”

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