Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, says Nigerians are right to be disappointed on the state of the economy, but that they should direct their anger to the “right quarters”.
In a piece entitled:
‘What is President Buhari doing with the economy?’, Shehu attributed the poor situation of things to years of mismanagement and corruption.He advised the people to “keep a fiery memory of the past” in order to avoid repeating mistakes.
“Nigerians are right to be disappointed but they must direct their anger at the right quarters. The bad management and corruption of the past are firmly to blame,” he wrote.
“People are still talking about who ran governments in 1865, you want us to forget those who left government last year?
“Let us keep a fiery memory of the past so that we don’t repeat its mistakes. Look back, look ahead. The future must of necessity be built on the foundations of the past,” he said.
“To avoid repeating the past mistakes, Nigerians must come to terms with what went wrong with the past, how bad were things, what was done wrongly, what the past government should have done, before we come to what needs to be done to right those wrongs.
“Believe me, episodes from the Jonathan era can fill books, and other possibilities such as courtroom drama thriller.”
Shehu said in addition to failure to spend money on what was needed by past governments, no savings was made.
“As explained by President Buhari again and again, trumpeted by Madam Adeosun and other senior officials, we solely relied on oil, the price of which was as high as US$140 per barrel,” he wrote.
“Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries. This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy.
“Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing. Nigeria has not recorded a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years. In short, the money was mismanaged.”
The presidential spokesman explained that by the time the Buhari administration took over power in May 2015, the country’s debt had accumulated to a level it was before the Paris Club debt forgiveness.
He said in the bid to resuscitate the economy, Buhari’s government flagged off its anti-corruption fight.
“No government has ever considered the poor like this one. Under the current budget, the administration devoted N500Bn for social intervention programmes for those who need and deserve support,” Shehu said.
“There are also programmes for affordable housing with mortgages which will transform thousands from tenant status to home ownership.
“Any process that will endure, must involve some pain but things will begin to improve. There is always a time lag between policy and effect. That is why the bad effects of past policies are manifesting now.”