WSJ, yesterday June 14th. In the article, President Buhari stated that Restoring hope, Rebalancing our economy and Regenerate growth are the three changes Nigeria needs. Read the article after the cut..
Nigeria is at a crossroads. Just over a year ago,
people voted in a historic democratic election to end corruption and
business as usual, opting instead to build an economy that delivers for
all Nigerians. The old order was based on an unsustainable commodities
supercycle. While the boom had many positives and contributed to Nigeria
becoming Africa’s largest economy, it fostered an epidemic of
corruption and inefficiency.
Foreign businesses and financial institutions also benefited as some
people spent and sometimes hid huge sums abroad, lifted by the rising
tide of oil exports and dollar revenues. Now we are living in a new
world of low energy prices.
The economy has slowed while unemployment and inflation have jumped.
Longstanding structural imbalances and overdependence on imports have
been cruelly exposed. We are an oil-rich nation that imports most of our
We are a farming nation that imports most of our basic food staples.
This is simply not acceptable or sustainable. Our solutions must be in
proportion to the challenges. Fundamental change takes time and we are
driving not one but three changes to reposition Nigeria for inclusive
We have begun to tackle the endemic corruption and mismanagement that is
crippling our economy and corroding trust in our institutions. The
anticorruption fight is at the heart of combating poverty and improving
We have stepped up enforcement and new prosecutions to get our house in
order, and I have called for foreign governments to work with us to
identify where funds stolen during previous administrations are lodged
and for multistate cooperation to combat oil theft. Fighting corruption
is not enough.
We need accountable government and a public sector that can do more with
less. We have already taken initial steps by bringing all government
finances into a single treasury account where we can monitor spending
and impose discipline, implementing zero-based budgets and benchmarks
targeted at waste and fraud, and establishing electronic platforms for
government agency interface.
Rebalance Our Economy
In a world of lower oil prices and dollar revenues, the only
sustainable path is to reduce Nigerians’ overreliance on imports. We
must rebalance our economy by empowering entrepreneurs and producers,
big and small, to create more of what their fellow Nigerians demand. The
supply of foreign exchange to the economy must be increased. This
requires radically increasing exports and productivity and improving the
investment climate and ease of doing business. Nigeria’s growth and job
creation will be led by the private sector.
We are a young, entrepreneurial society with vibrant success stories in
new industries such as telecommunications, technology and entertainment.
Government is doing its part to lower taxes on small businesses,
eliminate bureaucracy to bring the informal economy out of the shadows
and provide development funding for priority sectors such as
agriculture. The central bank has moved to introduce greater flexibility
in our exchange-rate policy. These actions are a downpayment on our
people’s ability to succeed.
We must reposition our economy by attracting investment in domestic
industries and infrastructure. Nigeria has huge untapped gas reserves
and also a critical shortage of electricity. Our private sector loses
too much of its revenue due to brownouts and power outages.
Half of my fellow Nigerians have no access to the power grid. Investment
in our power infrastructure, restructuring of the state-run oil-and-gas
sector and development of other industries such as solid minerals,
metals and petrochemicals will help to create a virtuous circle of
growth and exports while creating jobs and reducing poverty.
I am optimistic that our actions are providing the breathing room
Nigeria needs during this period of fundamental change. But we cannot
improve living conditions and restore fiscal health without making
people feel safe and secure—just as we cannot defeat militancy without
reducing poverty and dislocation. One of our main achievements this past
year has been to unite regional and global allies to push back Boko
Haram. What we do in the next three years to build an economic bridge to
Nigeria’s future will be just as important for bringing lasting peace