With the lingering economic recession, job losses, high unemployment rate and hunger among others, many socio-economic groups and the Nigeria Labour Congress have said President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policies are not working and advised him to come up with “workable” policies.
They said if the President’s economic policies were effective, unemployment rate and hunger would have reduced among Nigerians, and companies wouldn’t have had it so bad, struggling to survive.
According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rate grew from 12.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 to 13.3 per cent in the second quarter, while about 1.5 million Nigerians have lost their jobs in the past one year.
“Accordingly, out of a total youth labour force of 38.2 million (representing 48.7 per cent of total labour force of 78.48 million), a total of 15.2 million of them were either unemployed or underemployed in Q1 2016, representing a youth unemployment rate of 42.2 per cent,” the report added.
Lamenting to Punch, the Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said the economy had not been favourable to the manufacturers.
"We are not doing well. Things are very slow. There are no investments in the manufacturing sector."
Jacobs, who said there had been a face-off between the association and the Central Bank of Nigeria over forex scarcity, disclosed that MAN would be meeting with the apex bank this weekend.
According to Nigeria Labour Congress, the difficulties being faced by Nigerians clearly shows that the economic policies of the government have not been effective so far.
NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, who called for a review of government’s economic policies, said, “Government needs to rethink and review its policies in order to ensure that the various difficulties are overcome.”
Funny enough, National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Chief Bassey Edem, opined that President Buhari’s administration did not even have any economic policies in the first place.
Citing the delay in the passing of the 2016 budget, among other factors, Edem said the economy had been bad because the President had no interest in making it work.
He said, “Before we talk about economic policies not working, are there even policies in the first place? What are this administration’s economic policies? There is none. This is a government that just passed the budget into law. This is October already; they ought to have gone to the National Assembly to start working on next year’s budget.
“The President has said it many times that as far as he is concerned, he only wants to fight corruption and insecurity, and he is doing fine there. He has no plans for the economy. But I think they have seen the consequences now and are now trying to invite some private sector players."
Some other economic analysts who spoke on the issue, said it was obvious that the economic policies of President Buhari’s administration were not working properly.
“Don’t forget what former President Olusegun Obasanjo said about Buhari not having what it takes to run the economy very well,” a Lagos-based economist, Dr. Babatunde Abrahams, said.
Sadly, the economic recession has led to closure of around 40% of small businesses in the country, according to the President of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Femi Egbesola, who described the Federal Government’s economic policies as in need of “a total overhaul.”