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New York Times Exposes Tinubu Govt’s Economy Troubles; FG Counters Claims

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The Nigerian Presidency has responded to a New York Times report criticizing the economy, defending President Tinubu’s economic policies. Special Adviser Bayo Onanuga outlines the inherited challenges and the administration’s efforts to restore stability and growth.


Abuja, Nigeria — The Nigerian Presidency has issued a robust response to a New York Times article that described the country as facing its worst economic crisis in a generation. According to the Presidency, the report overlooked key factors and misrepresented the efforts of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to address the inherited economic challenges.


Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, criticized the report titled “Nigeria Confronts Its Worst Economic Crisis in a Generation,” published on June 11 by Ruth Maclean and Ismail Auwal, for presenting a one-sided, negative view of Nigeria’s economy. Onanuga argued that the article failed to acknowledge the significant economic hurdles Tinubu inherited and the steps his administration has taken to rectify them.


Onanuga emphasized that President Tinubu did not create the current economic issues but inherited them. He cited previous policies, such as the fuel subsidy regime, which drained $84.39 billion from public funds between 2005 and 2022, and the complex exchange rate system, as significant factors contributing to the current economic difficulties.


“As a respected economist in our country once put it, Tinubu inherited a dead economy. The economy was bleeding and needed quick surgery to avoid being plunged into the abyss, as happened in Zimbabwe and Venezuela,” Onanuga noted.


He highlighted the immediate actions taken by Tinubu’s administration upon assuming office in May 2023, including the removal of the fuel subsidy and the unification of the exchange rates. These reforms were necessary to stabilize the naira and address the unsustainable fiscal policies of the previous government.


Onanuga also pointed out the positive outcomes of these reforms. The economy recorded a trade surplus of N6.52 trillion in Q1 2024, compared to a deficit of N1.4 trillion in Q4 2023. Investor confidence has been restored, with notable transactions such as the acquisition of Diageo’s stake in Guinness Nigeria by Tolaram. Additionally, international financial institutions like the World Bank have extended significant loans, indicating renewed confidence in Nigeria’s economic prospects.


The administration is tackling inflation, particularly food inflation, by investing in agricultural production and dry-season farming, providing incentives and fertilizers to farmers, and encouraging states to set up retail shops for affordable food items.


Onanuga urged Nigerians to recognize the global context of rising living costs, noting that many countries, including the USA and European nations, are facing similar economic challenges. He expressed confidence that with continued reforms, Nigeria’s economic situation would improve significantly.


“Our country faced economic difficulties in the past, an experience that has been captured in folk songs. Just like we overcame then, we shall overcome our present difficulties very soon,” he concluded.

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