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The first level of the democratic Buhari administration ended last week. To say it was difficult will be putting it lightly. We saw real economic growth drop from 3.6 percent a year into recession, shrinking by over two percent at its worst. The economy has somewhat recovered from those depths, but the current two percent growth is nothing to write home about. Especially given that our population is growing at around 2.7 percent a year implying that on average, Nigerians have been getting poorer since 2015. This is even before you start to talk about inequality.
The unemployment numbers have been even worse. The unemployment rate increased from just over eight percent when Buhari took to over 23 percent the last time we measured it in 2018. The result is that more people have probably been thrown into poverty, but we can’t say for sure because we haven’t officially measured it in over a decade. Maybe we are scared of what we may find.
On the macroeconomic stability front things haven’t been good either. No one needs a reminder of the foreign exchange crisis that gripped the nation while the central bank was playing demand management games. Inflation shot up from under nine percent in mid-2015 to a peak of over 18 percent before dropping to the 11 percent range it is now. Still some way from the central bank’s target of a single digit inflation rate. Many other problems persist. Bank lending has refused to grow. Foreign direct investment has not recovered back to what it was in 2014. The federal government’s finances are in a big mess and debt has piled up so high that servicing the debt now takes up roughly 60 percent of all federal government revenue. As a result, … Read More...