Atiku Criticizes Tinubu's Unmet Promises and Economic Policies

Atiku Criticizes Tinubu's Unmet Promises and Economic Policies May, 29 2024

Atiku Criticizes Tinubu's Unmet Promises and Economic Policies

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has voiced strong criticism of President Bola Tinubu's administration, claiming that after one year in office, the promises made by Tinubu have not been fulfilled. Atiku stated in a detailed review that the current administration's policies have not created prosperity, but have instead exacerbated the conditions of the poor and pushed the wealthy closer to financial ruin. This critical review comes as Tinubu wraps up his initial twelve months in power, a period marked by numerous controversial policies.

In his statement, Atiku highlighted that the Tinubu government has yet to show a clear direction for economic remodeling. Instead of laying out a strategic economic plan, the administration has introduced a series of mixed policies aimed at addressing Nigeria's economic issues. According to Atiku, this approach has resulted in adverse consequences for the majority of Nigerian citizens. Specifically, he pointed out that the policies have undermined the nation's macroeconomic stability, leaving the economy in a more fragile state than when Tinubu took office.

Policies that Missed the Mark

When Tinubu assumed office in May 2023, he made significant changes to existing economic policies, starting with the removal of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy. This was followed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implementing a new foreign exchange policy aimed at unifying multiple official FX windows into a single market. Further policies included tightening monetary measures to curb Naira liquidity, increasing monetary policy rates, introducing a cost-reflective electricity tariff, and even a new cybersecurity tax. Atiku argues that these policies, rather than fostering economic growth, have rendered the economy more fragile.

Inflation is a significant issue that Atiku highlighted. He pointed out that the annual inflation rate has soared to 33.69%, the highest in nearly thirty years. Food inflation is perhaps the most troubling aspect, with prices rising to levels that ordinary Nigerians can no longer afford. For instance, the cost of staple food items like rice and flour has skyrocketed, increasing by 114% and 107% respectively since May 2023. Additionally, transportation costs have surged by 150%, and fuel prices have increased by 305% in some areas. These steep hikes have strained the finances of average Nigerians, who are also grappling with one of the lowest minimum wages globally, equivalent to just $23 per month.

A Call for Comprehensive Reviews

Atiku has called on Tinubu to undertake several comprehensive reviews to mitigate the negative impacts of his policies. First, he suggests revisiting the 2024 budget within a new reform framework to ensure it addresses the current economic challenges effectively. Additionally, Atiku calls for a thorough review of the Social Investment Programme to provide much-needed relief to vulnerable households. He warns against introducing new taxes or increasing existing tax rates, as this would further impoverish the poor.

The clarity regarding the fuel subsidy regime is another critical point raised by Atiku. He insists that the government should be transparent about the fiscal commitments and benefits from the subsidy reforms. This transparency is crucial for understanding the impact on the Federation Accounts and for ensuring public trust in the administration's economic policies. Furthermore, Atiku emphasizes the need to tackle Nigeria's security issues head-on, as insecurity continues to pose a significant threat to both economic stability and citizen well-being.

Disillusionment Among Citizens

Many Nigerians had high hopes that Tinubu's administration would bring about positive changes and alleviate the economic hardships exacerbated during the previous administration. However, according to Atiku, these hopes have largely been dashed. Instead of witnessing improvements, Nigerians have experienced worsened conditions across various economic indicators. Joblessness, poverty, and misery, key issues that plagued the Buhari-led administration, have not only persisted but intensified under Tinubu's leadership.

Nigeria's standing as Africa’s leading economy has also taken a hit. The country has slipped to the fourth position, now lagging behind Algeria, Egypt, and South Africa. This decline is indicative of broader systemic issues that have yet to be addressed effectively. Atiku's critique underscores the urgent need for strategic, well-implemented policies that can genuinely stimulate economic growth and provide relief to the most affected segments of society.

The Need for Compassionate Leadership

One of Atiku's most pointed criticisms is directed at the perceived lack of compassion in Tinubu's policies. He acknowledges the courage it took to remove the PMS subsidy but argues that this action needed to be paired with measures that would cushion the economic blow for average citizens. Instead, Tinubu's administration has imposed additional taxes without corresponding efforts to raise the minimum wage or enhance social investment programs. This, according to Atiku, reflects a disconnect between policy decisions and the lived realities of the Nigerian population.

The minimum wage remains a significant concern. With Nigerian workers earning some of the lowest wages globally, the lack of wage increases means that many are facing severe financial strain. This is particularly troubling given the dramatic rise in the cost of living. Atiku argues that raising the minimum wage and implementing robust social investment programs would be key steps towards alleviating poverty and supporting struggling families.

Future Prospects and Recommendations

Looking ahead, Atiku urges the Tinubu administration to adopt a more strategic and compassionate approach to governance. He recommends a focus on policies that promote sustainable economic growth while also addressing the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens. Transparent fiscal management, comprehensive social welfare programs, and effective security measures are critical components of this strategy.

The former Vice President also highlights the importance of inclusive governance. Engaging with diverse stakeholders, including opposition figures, civil society organizations, and experts, can help create more balanced and effective policies. By fostering an environment of collaboration and mutual respect, the administration can work towards building a more resilient and inclusive economy.

In summary, Atiku's critique serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing Nigeria's current administration. The unmet promises and adverse impacts of recent policies underscore the need for urgent and comprehensive reforms. For Nigeria to move forward, Tinubu's administration must prioritize the well-being of its citizens, implement transparent and effective economic policies, and address the systemic issues that continue to hinder the nation's progress.