Despite worsening economy, insecurity, Buhari says he’s given his best to Nigeria

With about 98 million Nigerians, representing roughly 47.3 per cent of the nation’s estimated 206 million population said to be living in poverty, President Muhammadu Buhari says he has given his best to Nigeria and he expects citizens to acknowledge the same after he leaves office.

Mr Buhari, who said this in an interview with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) aired on Thursday, may have also discountenanced the worsening insecurity which has led to the closure of many schools especially in the northern part of the country. PREMIUM TIMES has reported how dozens of people are killed weekly by non-state actors across Nigeria and many others kidnapped for ransom.

But the Nigerian leader, in the interview monitored by PREMIUM TIMES, insisted that what he is expecting “is for Nigerians to say this man has done his best.”
The president said through the years, he has been involved in governance in various capacities within the country and has done his best.

“I have been a governor, minister and now a second term as president, What else can I do for this country,” he added.

Mr Buhari also said he hopes that Nigerians will recognise that he has served to the best of his abilities when he leaves office in 2023.
He said he plans to take a well-deserved rest after leaving office in about 17 months.

Is Buhari’s best enough?

Nigeria’s economic indicators suggest the economy is getting worse under Mr Buhari. At an earlier interview aired Wednesday, a Channels Television reporter reeled out data showing the worsening economic indicators to the president.

“When you took over in 2015, our debt stock at the time was about 12 trillion, now it’s about 32 trillion. Inflation rate was about 9 per cent, it’s now sitting at about 15 per cent; unemployment rate was about 9.2 per cent, it’s now at about 32.2 per cent; exchange (rate) was about N197 to a dollar, now it’s way over N400 to a dollar.

“Now people would look back and say before you took over some of these indicators were fair, and now the figures are not friendly at all,” the journalist told Mr Buhari.

In response, the Nigerian leader said the solution to the economic problems was for Nigerians to return to farming.

“All I know is that we have to allow people to have access to the farm. We just have to go back to the land,” the president said.

On Inflation

The National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s agency in charge of data, said in December that the prices of goods and services, measured by the Consumer Price Index, increased by 15.40 per cent (year-on-year) in November 2021.

The development, the statistics office said, indicated that Nigeria’s inflation rate stood at 15.40 per cent in December from 15.49 a month earlier.

According to the NBS, this rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, fish, food product, potatoes, yam and other tubers, oil and fats, milk, cheese and eggs and coffee, tea and cocoa.

It added that on a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.07 per cent in November 2021, up by 0.16 per cent points from 0.91 per cent recorded in October 2021.

“The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve months ending November 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 20.62 per cent, 0.1per cent points lower from the waterage annual rate of change recorded in October 2021 (20.7per cent),” it said.

Unemployment

In the last six years of Mr Buhari in power, Nigeria’s jobless rate more than quadrupled as the economy went through two recessions, and cast a shadow over the government’s efforts to address the socio-economic crisis in the oil-producing country.
The statistics released by the NBS in March 2021, according to Bloomberg, indicated that unemployment in Nigeria surged to the second-highest on a global list of countries monitored by the newspaper.
“The jobless rate in Nigeria rose to 33.3 per cent in the three months through December (2020), according to a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics on its website Monday. That’s up from 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, the last period for which the agency released labour-force statistics.”

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