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Ezekwesili faults Buhari’s ‘command and control’ economic policies


OBIAGELI-EZEKWESILI• Budget To Be Signed Into Law “Very Soon”, Says Osinbajo
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday, took a swipe at the “ineffective and inefficient economic policies” of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

She also described it as mere “command and control” approach, which has further worsened the standards of living of Nigerians.The former Vice President of the World Bank, who also faulted government’s manipulation of the policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), called on the authorities to give a free hand to the apex bank, to perform its constitutional role of managing monetary policies.

Ezekwesili, who spoke at The Platform, an event organised by Covenant Christian Centre in Abuja, to mark this year’s Workers’ Day, said what the average Nigerian wants today is “jobs, jobs and jobs!”

She said: “In nearly one year of this administration, inflation has gone back to 13 per cent. For the first time, we have lost a single digit. Economic growth rate has dipped since 2015. The good about the action of Mr. President is that he does not want the poor to suffer because his votes came from them, (but) this intention and outcome has diverged.”

While she observed that the weakest and most vulnerable now suffer the pains, the leader of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign said, “My preach is to ask Mr. President to sit with his team, to rejig their economic policies. What we are doing with ‘command and control’ is not helping matters. The same government fighting corruption is inefficient and ineffective in the allocation of resources, as the monetary policies of the administration is mortgage by political and other considerations.”

She urged the government to give back to the CBN its powers to manage the country’s monetary policies, adding, “On the fiscal side, all of us have seen the failure in the signing of the 2016 budget. It’s even unfortunate that states are now coming up daily to ask for bailout. The time to replace oil with diversification of the economy is now.”

On the way forward, Ezekwesili said: “We must clean up all barriers against growth. We must identify new economic sector growth. We need new intelligentsia to manage the economy.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerians that signing of the 2016 budget into law by President Muhammadu Buhari will happen “very soon”.

He said once the budget is assented to by the President, the Federal Government will immediately go to work, finishing power projects left uncompleted by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He, however, gave no definite timeline for the President’s assent, but promised that the budget will be operational in the next few days.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, during a chat with reporters, last week, said both the legislature and the executive arm had identified areas of disagreement on the budget and had found solution to them.

Osinbajo, who was also at The Platform, chided Nigerians who have grown mixed feelings over the government’s Change Agenda, saying they are unnecessarily impatient with an administration that is working behind the scene to correct the ills that have been inflicted on them.

“People wonder, ‘where is the Change? Where is the change that formed the crux of our electioneering campaigns?’ But they fail to understand that patience is also a virtue that they must have as a people,” he said.

He said now that it has been established that oil resources can no longer guarantee sustenance of the economy, owing to fall in prices at the international market, the Federal Government will spearhead diversification. According to him, such diversification will begin from key sectors of agriculture, technology and innovation, as well as entertainment.

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