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Subsidy removal, exchange rate unification implementation faulty – Obasanjo



Obasanjo denies meeting with Osinbajo, demands apology, retraction from AIT

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has blasted President Bola Tinubu’s over the removal of fuel subsidy and the unification of the exchange rate.

Although the former president admitted that the moves were necessary, he pointed out that the implementation of the policies were faulty at this time.

The two policies have been fingered as the causes of the current hardship in Nigeria.

Obasanjo, according to a statement issued on Sunday by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, spoke at a colloquium titled: “Nigeria’s Development: Navigating the Way Out of the Current Economic Crisis and Insecurity” held on Saturday in Abuja.

He said: “Today, the government has taken three decisions, two of which are necessary but wrongly implemented and have led to the impoverisation of the economy and of Nigerians.

“These are the removal of subsidy, closing the gap between the black market and official rates of exchange and the third is dealing with a military coup in Niger Republic.

“The way forward is production and productivity which belief and trust in government leadership will engender. No shortcut to economic progress but hard work and sweat.”

Obasanjo also took a swipe at those against his position on the refurbished refinery in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, describing them as “sycophants and spin doctors”.

READ ALSO:‘Only selfless leadership can change Nigeria’s situation’ —Obasanjo

He said such people failed to remember that the 2007 attempt to partly privatise the refineries was made after a thorough study of the situation, hence his knowledge and a better understanding of the situation before making his decision late last year.

On his assessment of President Tinubu’s administration in the 365 days, the former president called for a 25-year development agenda to put Nigeria on the path of sustainable progress.

He added: “The economy does not obey orders, not even military orders. I know that. If we get it right, in two years, we will begin to see the light beyond the tunnel. It requires a change of characteristics, attributes, and attitudes by the leadership at all levels to gain the confidence and trust of investors who have alternatives.

“Total Energy has gone to invest $6 billion in Angola instead of Nigeria. If the truth must be stated, the present administration has not found the right way to handle the economy to engender confidence and trust for investors to start trooping in.

“They know us more than we know ourselves. And now they are laughing at us, not taking us seriously. We have to present ourselves in such a way that we will be taken seriously. If the existing investors are disinvesting and going out of our country, how do we persuade new investors to rush in? We can be serious if we choose to be but we need to change from transactional leadership in government to transformational and genuine servant leadership.

“With change by us, the investors will give us the benefit of the doubt, and security will be taken care of on a sustainable long-term basis, they will start to test the water. With the right economic policies, attributes of integrity, and honesty of purpose, all should be well with all hands on deck and the government becomes a catalyst for development, growth, and progress.

“Tinkering with the exchange rate is not the answer. The answer is consistency and continuity in policy to ensure stability and predictability. That way, we will be sure of incentivizing domestic and foreign investment. There must be honesty and transparency in government dealings and contracts and not lying with deception about these issues. When the government is seen as pursuing the right policy, the private sector will go for production and productivity. Change is possible but it must begin with the leadership.”

By: Babajide Okeowo

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