Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nigeria’s Economy Going Worse Under APC, Says PDP
30 Aug 2015
Nigerian ThisDay

• Presidency: Jonathan economic achievement fake

By Tobi Soniyi and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as alarming, the damage so far done on the nation’s economy by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) since it took office at the centre, three months ago.

The party said the shambolic state of the nation’s economy within the period, which represents the worst in the nation’s contemporary history, is a direct fallout of uncertainty created by the inability of the Buhari-led government to chart a clear-cut economic policy, worsened by abuse of regulations, and flagrant violation of constitutional provisions. It cited alleged a decline in Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with about 2.35 per cent, while at the same time claiming that job creation has dropped by 69 per cent.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement yesterday said instead of gains, official reports show that the last three months under the APC-led government have brought a sudden decline in the nation’s GDP, with attendant losses and hardship to the citizens, “while the government embarks on propaganda of imaginary achievements, in addition to attempts to foist harsh economic regime to cover its ineptitude.

“Whereas the APC led government is busy with its propaganda of imaginary achievements, official reports from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the economy is being grounded with Nigeria’s real GDP plunging with about 2.35 per cent, while job creation has dropped by 69 per cent.

“In the last three months under an APC-led government, our nation’s economy, which before now, held the record as the largest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world, suddenly plummeted as officially evidenced in the lull in the capital and money market sectors which have lost billions of naira; spiral rate of inflation, and stagnation in domestic and foreign direct investments, with investors scared away due to the uncertainty arising from lack of economic direction and apparent confusion in the polity.

“Nigerians would recall that we recently raised alarm on the negative consequences of the recent foreign exchange transaction restrictions, wherein this government is making it impossible for honest Nigerians to engage in free trade and regulate their personal activities as guaranteed by the constitution.

“We also warned about the consequences of foisting a communist economic regime with bans and clampdowns on free trade and the freedom of Nigerians to freely open and operate domiciliary accounts as provided by the Foreign Exchange Monitoring And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, otherwise known as Decree No. 17 of 1995 and wondered whether the nation was not heading back to the era of import duty licences and regulation of commodity prices.

“Only recently, Fitch Rating, which, under the previous administration, affirmed Nigeria’s long-term foreign and local currency IDRs as well as senior unsecured bond and Short-term foreign currency IDR ratings respectively at ‘BB”s, had now alerted that Nigerian banks and other businesses in the sector would be adversely affected by the economic slowdown occasioned by the incompetence of the President Buhari-led APC government.

“This is more so as the absence of ministers has left the coordination of important government policies in ministries, departments and agencies in tatters, while creating loopholes for overzealous persons claiming closeness to the President to invade the system for inflated concessions, allocations, jobs and other financial sleazes, including misleading the President for approvals outside his limits.

“We invite Nigerians to note that whereas the Presidency has gone ahead to unilaterally deplete the funds inherited in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other government savings, as well as reports of engaging in discussions with the World Bank for loans without recourse to appropriate statutory arms of government, no corresponding improvement has been witnessed in the economy. Indeed, we are worried that the damage already done in the last 90 days may linger with us for years to come.

“Nigerians are no longer in doubt that they have been scammed with long list of empty promises which the APC government has no intentions or capacity to fulfill. The free meals for school children, allowances for discharged Corps Members, N5,000 monthly allowance for indigent Nigerians, free houses, bringing the dollar to the same value as the naira and other bogus promises for which they were voted into power, have become streams of mirage.

“Finally, we state categorically that Nigerians are becoming tired and weary of the diversions and propaganda of creating imaginary achievements, dramatisation of routine appointments, offering mundane excuses for crass incompetence and orchestrating a selective and witch-hunt of anti-corruption crusade”, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the presidency has advised the PDP to stop its pathetic efforts to play down President Buhari’s achievements in his first 100 days in office and bury its head in shame for subjecting Nigeria to the worst economic plunder through corruption in its recent history.

Reacting to the PDP statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, that the economy was going down under the APC administration, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the economy of Nigeria was gasping for breath under “the egregiously corrupt PDP administration”, and that the country was witnessing an acceleration of poverty which united Nigerians for change. According to him, the excruciating hardship experienced by Nigerians under the PDP misrule was unprecedented.

He said: “It is ridiculous for any sane government to artificially rebase the economy and claim to transform Nigeria into the largest economy in Africa as the PDP administration did.”
He explained that the defeated former ruling party was artificially manipulating statistics to create the illusion of impressive economic performance record.

The Presidential Media Aide said one falsehood built on another could not stand, adding that if the PDP claim of economic successes in terms of GDP, employment generation, poverty alleviation and others were genuine, Nigerians wouldn’t have voted the party out of power.

He wondered which contented electorate would have voted a performing party out of office. He explained that if the former ruling party was doing so well, the opposition parties would have found it difficult to defeat a popular ruling party.

Shehu said the PDP assumed performance was nothing more than window dressing, and a detachment from reality. The presidential spokesman said no  economy could grow with corruption, an area in which the PDP administration demonstrated more competence.The presidency said criticism for its own sake was not the hallmark of credible opposition.

According to him, Nigerians no longer face exploitation at filling stations because the government is taking punitive measures against marketers that punish poor Nigerians.He noted that queues had disappeared at the filling stations, adding that the naira was also enjoying favourable exchange rate.

Shehu said the Buhari administration had successfully blocked leakages and other avenues for corruption, practices which he said the previous PDP administration lacked the will to stop.
As a result of the measures to block leakages, he said the Buhari administration had frustrated the efforts by corrupt elements to divert public funds to private pockets.

Shehu explained that once the formal trial for corruption begins formally, the PDP might no longer have the moral legs to stand on, let alone talk down on Nigerians with fake claims of economic miracles under its most incompetent and grossly purposeless and sleazy administration.

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