A former World Bank Vice President Oby Ezekwesili has attributed the present state of the nation’s currency to the poor economic policies of the present administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She, however, urged the government to revert to market economy and pursue economic reforms in the power sector and the reform plan that was available before 2015.
Ezekwesili , who also was a minister under the Olusegun Obasanjo government said with the current economic policies of the Federal Government, it could be difficult for Nigeria to come out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.
The ex-minister who spoke on Arise Television on Monday also accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of turning itself to an annex of the presidential villa, taking unhelpful instructions from the Villa.
“The greatest tragedy of the last five years of the country has been the fact that there has been poverty of ideas in terms of economic management.
“The economic management of this administration has impoverished many more Nigerians.
“The only thing that we associate with the administration that is saying that this year is going to be buoyant for the country is poor economic policies.
“When you think in terms of monetary policies, the Central Bank has become an extension of the Villa and that is problematic; you can’t have your monetary authority so badly politicised in the way it is currently is and have a sound monetary policy.
“This government has not shown evidence that it will work its resolution because it has made these resolutions so many years now and we have seen it work in contrast to what it says it wants to achieve,” Ezekwesili said.
The ex-World Bank Vice President condemned the government for the closure of the land border with her neighbours, noting that the closure made no sense.
“You close the border. Precisely for what? Has this government evaluated the effect of that border closure on small businesses in this country? Does this government realise the damage it did to many sectors in this economy as a result of that singular act that just didn’t make any sense.”
The ex-minister said the border closure was similar to Buhari’s foreign exchange policy “that made us get into a situation where he, in fact, ended murdering the naira”.
“When the president took over power in 2015, the situation that he had on hand could have been handled differently.
“The naira could have found good positioning by sort of getting its new level and that signal would have been a clear signal to the private sector that politics was not going to drive pricing levels in our economy, the private sector would have adjusted and we wouldn’t have ended up in a situation where foreign direct investment or portfolio money all escaped from our country and found a safer place to land,” she noted.
She asked the president to “face the energy sector and fully implement the spirit and the content of the Power Sector Reform Act and the Reform Plan that was available before he (Buhari) took over office.”
The government, she said must provide the enabling platforms for businesses to thrive in the country and realise that “market principles do work and that China that it takes pride in going to borrow money from was a very impoverished country for as long as it stuck its neck in the woods of communism and socialism but when China understood that market does work, it began to grow.”