As the suffering continues to bite harder, civil society groups have lashed out against the government accusing him of disappointing the people and plunging them into economic chaos.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Several 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 more feasible alternatives before hunger kills many in the land.
According to Punch
, 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 to survive.
A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics, revealed that unemployment rate in the land has increased 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.
While speaking about the poverty in the land, 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,” he said.
He further revealed that because of the scarcity
in forex, there had been a face-off between the association and the Central Bank of Nigeria over forex scarcity.
On the part of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the group disclosed that Nigerians are suffering bitterly because the government’s economic plans have all failed and are ineffective.
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.”
Also in the same vein, the Kwara State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Olumoh Kolawole, said the government has failed the people which has caused high inflation, mass retrenchment of workers by companies, high cost of living and high unemployment rate as reasons.
He said, “The situation is pathetic. In fact, the economic policies are not working. It is high time the Federal Government brought in professionals to help revive the economy.
“Some of those currently on-board are not competent. We need professionals and not bureaucrats.”
The National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture
, Chief Bassey Edem, lambastedd President Buhari’s administration as he said the government does not even have an economic policy.
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.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria has only succeeded in pushing the exchange rate to N420 per dollar, while the Minister of Finance (Mrs. Kemi Adeosun) said recently that they were going to inject N350bn into the economy for capital projects. These are not policies. A policy gives a guideline and sets an organisation in a particular direction. That’s not the scenario here.”
The President of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Dr. Femi Egbesola, said Buhari’s economic team needs a total overhaul. He said, “The best way to judge if a policy is working or not is from the pulse of the people on the streets and not from the papers. People can describe your policies as the best in the world on paper, but when it comes to the reality on the ground, are they really making an impact?
“We don’t need a soothsayer to tell us that things are going from bad to worse economically and that is why many businesses are closing up shop. Already, 35 – 40 per cent of companies have closed shop, some of them because they cannot get raw materials to work with.
“The rate at which the government is borrowing from the domestic market is too high and the banks are not encouraged to loan money to business owners when they can invest in treasury bills.
“As of today, there is no blueprint or economic direction of the government. If there is no economic direction, then how do you expect others to key in to achieve your goals?”
There is a sense of general discomfort with Buhari’s administration as many believe things might soon get out of hand leading to a revolt by the people as the hardship continues in the land.