The Presidency has said that Nigerians are enjoying the lowest cost of living in Africa.
The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, stated this in a statement he signed titled ‘Atiku Abubakar and his new hobby.’
Onanuga was reacting to the comments made by the PDP presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar, that the Tinubu government’s economic policies were dashing hopes, creating pain, and causing despair among Nigerians.
Atiku in a statement released over the weekend said that President Tinubu’s response to the nation’s challenges was setting the stage for a prolonged and deeper economic crisis.
“The economy’s performance has, in recent weeks and months, been a subject of intense discourse among Nigerian citizens at home and abroad. Nigerians are gravely concerned, and rightly so, that Tinubu’s poor response to Nigeria’s economic challenges is setting the stage for a prolonged and deeper domestic economic crisis.
His economic policies, drawn from a so-called Renewed Hope Agenda, are ironically dashing hopes, creating pain and causing despair. The private sector is shrinking by the day as small businesses are emasculated and as Multinational Companies, confused and weary of the economy, leave Nigeria in droves. The intense cost of living pressures has created more misery for the poor in towns and villages. There is hunger in the land as basic commodities, including BREAD, are becoming out of reach for average Nigerians.
BAT has shown no capacity to deal with the adverse and disastrous impact of the new subsidy regime on the people and businesses and the new foreign exchange policy, which provides for a free-floating exchange rate. His initiatives are uninformed, arbitrary, and chaotic. BAT’s palliatives are too mean, pitiable, and contemptuous of the poor. He seems genuinely lost, bewildered, and overwhelmed.”
Reacting to his comment, Onanuga in the statement released, faulted Atiku’s assertions about the rising cost of living.
“His claim that the government’s policies have created intense cost of living pressures are also not grounded on facts as recent comparative cost of living indices show that Nigerians still enjoy the lowest cost of living in Africa. Atiku’s claims that the private sector is shrinking and that multinational companies are leaving our companies in ‘droves’ are not grounded on facts,” he said
The presidential aide added that Atiku should be honest enough to admit that President Tinubu inherited a weak economy which ‘to all intents and purposes…needs a complete overhaul.’
‘’Atiku should be honest enough to admit that President Tinubu inherited a weak economy, which to all intents and purposes and to ensure the survival of our country needs a complete overhaul.
The economy was plagued by decades of significant fiscal deficits, a low revenue base, high external and domestic debts, and huge debt service burden.
The national budget Tinubu met in 2023 showed that 97 percent of revenue was to be spent on debt servicing, with little reserved for capital, thereby foreclosing growth and jobs.
Confronted with this grim economic reality, President Tinubu faced a difficult choice of balancing the political and economic costs of reforms against the risks of economic recession. His government chose the former, to keep the economy afloat and set it back on the path of growth and prosperity.
President Tinubu is focused on solving our economic and security challenges. The fiscal and monetary policies his administration is pursuing are delivering unprecedented value to investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Nigerian Stock Exchange is outperforming others in the world and is now the best, not based on bubble, but record profits by many listed companies.”
On the removal of fuel subsidy and the adverse effect it has had on Nigerians, Onanuga said all the major candidates in the 2023 presidential election agreed that the fuel subsidy regime, which had become an albatross on the economy, must end as well as addressing the multiple exchange rates.
‘’ Where President Tinubu and Atiku differed was in selling NNPC Limited and other national assets. Atiku went for this so he could sell these important national assets to his friends and cronies.
President Tinubu removed the subsidy from Day One and announced moves to harmonise the exchange rates. Since then, he and his economic team have been working vigorously to harmonise the rates and also end the rampant and criminal arbitrage that the multiple windows allowed.
President Tinubu acknowledged, on different occasions, that the reforms his government is implementing will cause immediate pains, but will usher in an era of prosperity in the medium and long terms.”