Former Vice President for the World Bank's Africa Region and former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, on Monday, accused the President Muhammadu Buhari of murdering the naira with poor economic policies since he assumed office in May 2015.
Ezekwesili who spoke on an Arise TV programme also alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria has now become an annex of the Aso Villa in Abuja as the apex bank receives unhelpful instructions from the Villa.
The ex-minister who is a Charted Accountant said with the current economic policies of the Federal Government, it could be difficult for Nigeria to come out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.
She said, “The greatest tragedy of the last five years of the country has been the fact that there has been poverty of ideas in terms of economic management. The economic management of this administration has impoverished many more Nigerians.
“The only thing that we associate with the administration that is saying that this year is going to be buoyant for the country is poor economic policies. When you think in terms of monetary policies, the Central Bank has become an extension of the Villa and that is problematic; you can’t have your monetary authority so badly politicized in the way it is currently is and have a sound monetary policy.
“This government has not shown evidence that it will work its resolution because it has made these resolutions so many years now and we have seen it work in contrast to what it says it wants to achieve.”
Ezekwesili further lambasted the President for the over 15-month closure of the country’s land borders which she argued made no sense in the first instance, as the closure hugely impacted the activities of business owners in the country.
She said, “You close the border. Precisely for what? Has this government evaluated the effect of that border closure on small businesses in this country? Does this government realize the damage it did to many sectors in this economy as a result of that singular act that just didn’t make any sense.”
The ex-minister said the border closure was similar to Buhari’s foreign exchange policy “that made us get into a situation where he, in fact, ended murdering the naira”.
“When the president took over power in 2015, the situation that he had on hand could have been handled differently. The naira could have found good positioning by sort of getting its new level and that signal would have been a clear signal to the private sector that politics was not going to drive pricing levels in our economy, the private sector would have adjusted and we wouldn’t have ended up in a situation where foreign direct investment or portfolio money all escaped from our country and found a safer place to land,” she noted.
Ezekwesili, however, urged the Buhari regime to “face the energy sector and fully implement the spirit and the content of the Power Sector Reform Act and the Reform Plan that was available before he (Buhari) took over office.”
She added that the government must provide the enabling platforms for businesses to thrive in the country and realize that “market principles do work and that China that it takes pride in going to borrow money from was a very impoverished country for as long as it stuck its neck in the woods of communism and socialism but when China understood that market does work, it began to grow.”