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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Reviving the Economy: Strategies for Growth – Atiku



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• Ex-VP urges Tinubu to adopt Argentina model

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has urged President Bola Tinubu to emulate his Argentine counterpart, Javier Milei, for accelerated economic growth in Nigeria.

In a tweet posted last night on X, following a report by Reuters International news agency on Argentina’s market optimism, Atiku called for a decisive action to tackle Nigeria’s economic challenges.

“I read a recent report in the Reuters, titled: Argentina’s market double down on Milei as investors ‘start to believe’; I took a keen interest in reading the report because I know quite well that Argentina and Nigeria closed the last quarter of the Year 2023 on a similar path of economic downturn.

“In the case of Nigeria, a new government was installed at or about the middle of 2023; for Argentina, the new government came on board in December; both leaders inherited a disoriented economy, but both applied different measures to recovery.

“President Javier Milei of Argentina was sworn into office on December 10, 2023; he inherited a worse condition than Nigeria’s. But what he did to return his country to a place where investors are ‘starting to believe’ should serve as a lesson to Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu.

“Nigeria is where we are today simply because of what Tinubu has done or did not do; his shifting the blame on the opposition and, even ridiculously, his predecessor is needless and myopic; market forces don’t play politics, they respond to your actions and inactions.

“President Milei’s major campaign promise was to re-position the Argentine economy after years of slow growth, high debt levels, triple-digit inflation (160 per cent when he took over the Presidency in December 2023) and 40 per cent poverty rate; his first task was to begin implementing measures to achieve greater macroeconomic stability and promote higher global competitiveness.

“He came into the office with a comprehensive stabilisation plan, which seeks to implement far-reaching measures within the context of a market-oriented economy; he started off cutting government expenditure by cutting the size of government and wastages; blocked stealing of government funds, and attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through concessions, tax holidays, and improved ease of doing business.

“President Milei flies regular business class for all his travels and does not offer the presidential fleet of Argentina for his son’s birthday; likewise, there is no settlement for his hangers-on and political allies through unwieldy and burdensome appointments to public offices,” Atiku stated.

The former Vice President drew further contrast between Nigeria and Argentina, saying he has a sure recipe for Nigeria’s economic restoration.

Atiku added that he was willing to discuss his solutions with the Federal Government.

The former Vice President expressed his liking for the Argentine economic turnaround, saying: “I am attracted to the reforms in Argentina because Javier Milei’s stabilisation plan bears a similar emblem with my Recover Nigeria Plan; it is a plan that I am more than willing to disclose details of its workings with the current government in order to take Nigeria out of the depth of hunger and anger that we find ourselves.

“The plan includes strategic steps we must take to recover the economy and make it stronger, dynamic, resilient, and competitive; we had outlined plans to relax the fiscal constraints facing us to include:

• Improving spending efficiency and blocking leakages

• Saving money through:

a. A review of fiscal support for non-performing government enterprises and the privatization of those that cannot sustain themselves.

b. Steps to improve spending efficiency through a gradual reduction in government recurrent expenditures, ensuring that those expenditures reflect higher levels of service delivery. Over the medium term, recurrent expenditures should not exceed 45 per cent of the budget.

c. A review of government procurement processes to ensure high levels of transparency, competitiveness, and value-for-money and eliminate all leakages.

“Unless, and until there are clear-cut policies and pathway to economic rejuvenation predicated on a leadership led sacrifice, there will be discontentment, especially among the youths, which may find expression in protests and for which it will be silly to continue to blame the opposition for,” Atiku said.

Credit:The Nation