Nigeria struggles as Buhari wrangles with budget, naira


President Muhammadu Buhari
When Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari finally swore in his cabinet in November, nearly six months after taking office, he hoped to shake off his nickname “Baba Go Slow”.
But troubling errors in the budget of Africa’s largest economy and the continuing free fall of the naira on the black market have both Nigerians and investors worried that Buhari still isn’t moving fast enough to address a deepening economic crisis.
Since its peak in 2014, the global price of oil — which accounted for two-thirds of the Nigerian government’s revenue — has plunged by 70 percent, decimating economic growth and the naira.
In response, Buhari announced a record 6 trillion-naira ($30-billion, 27 billion-euro) budget promising to triple investment to stimulate growth.
Yet his budget proposal was pockmarked with mistakes, repetitions and, given the circumstances, extravagant demands.
The errors include the same purchases for vehicles, computers and furniture that are duplicated 24 times, totalling 46.5 billion naira.
This opens the door for graft, according to Oluseun Onigbinde, co-founder of BudgIT, a Nigerian transparency group.
“It clearly showed there was foul play,” said Onigbinde said.
“Nigerians are in a crisis period with the price of oil dipping below 30 dollars, so there should be a budget in line with the mood of the time,” he added.
Buhari on Monday sacked the director-general of the budget office and appointed former banker Tijjani Abdullahi to take the helm.
Now there are serious revisions to be made before Buhari can sign off on the budget and inject Nigeria’s sputtering economy with much-needed cash. It’s a process likely to take months.
“We need more speed on this thing,” Onigbinde said, “he (Buhari) should have moved faster when he got into power.”
– Policy paralysis –
The budget confusion is yet another deterrent for investors already reluctant to invest in the country as a result of Buhari’s monetary policies, …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper