Leave the economy with Osinbajo, London Economist urges Buhari

The Economist of London has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to leave affairs of the economy with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and focus on providing leadership for the fight against corruption and the fight against the insurgency in the northeast.

In an article in its current edition titled ‘Get Well Soon, Mr Buhari,’ The Economist said “although his government moves at a glacial pace, earning him the nickname ‘Baba Go Slow’, he (Buhari) has wrested back control of the main towns in three states overrun by Boko Haram.

“Yet the jihadists still control much of the countryside, and the government has been slow to react to a looming famine that has left millions hungry.

“On corruption, Mr Buhari has made some progress. A former national security adviser is on trial in Nigeria for graft, and a former oil minister was arrested in Britain for money laundering. So far, however, there have been no big convictions.

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“Mr Buhari’s main failures have been the economic damage caused by a fall in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main export, has been aggravated by mismanagement. For months Mr Buhari tried to maintain a peg to the dollar by banning whole categories of imports, from soap to cement, prompting the first full-year contraction of output in 25 years.”

“With Mr Buhari in London, the country’s economic stewardship has, whisper it, improved a bit. Mr Osinbajo has allowed a modest devaluation and started on reforms aimed at boosting growth. This is already paying off,” the newspaper continued.

“If his health recovers, Mr Buhari still has two years left in office. He should focus on doing what he does best: providing the leadership his troops need to defeat Boko Haram and the moral authority to clamp down on corruption.

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“And, noting how much better the economy is doing without him trying to command it like a squad of soldiers, he should make good on a long-forgotten electoral pledge to leave economic policy to the market-friendly Mr Osinbajo.”