Cries for Economic Team Now Deafening as Buhari Looks for ‘Righteous Ministers’

The delay in the appointment of ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari has created a sharp lull in economic activity with retail sales of garments and electronics down to 30 percent, also leaving 55 percent of the flats in Lekki vacant, among other economic indicators.
Analysts say, the euphoria that greeted the victory of Buhari in the last elections is waning as economic problems remain unattended to.
Bismarck Rewane said, “economic activities will remain tepid until clarity on fiscal policy direction”.
He recalled the words of Donald Rumsfeld: “You go to war with the army you have – not the army you wish to have”. The implication is that, President Buhari must work with Nigerians and not some ‘saints’ he wish he had.
Rewane said the party without a government is a meaningless association. He said unemployment added to underemployment has risen to 26.5 per cent, while headline inflation is currently 9.2 per cent, with some analysts saying it might rise further.
Rewane said the misery index for Nigeria has risen to 35.7 per cent, while interest rates (average Nigerian Inter Bank Offer Rate (NIBOR) are also on the increase. As at weekend, inter-bank lending rates has risen to as much as 40 per cent, compared to the 6.75 per cent of the previous week.
For now, the foreign exchange continues to suffer as good monetary policy alone is not enough. Analysts believe that, good fiscal policy will support the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s monetary policy in getting better result.
The Gregory Kronsten led research analysts at First Bank of Nigeria Capital, FBN Capital, have decried the inability of President Muhammdu Buhari’s administration to appoint ministers, make policies. Investors believe that has led to losses of N890 billion this year as the market impatiently awaits directions.
Analysts say, the benchmark performance indicator of the Nigerian equities market has slowed due to the combination of factors such as companies’ poor financial results and what investors refer to as a drift since the handover to the administration of Buhari, more than two months ago.
The research analyst’s team noted that the inability to provide a good policy direction to entice buyers also contributed a great deal in the lost.
Worse hit are stocks in consumer goods, oil and gas, insurance and other highly capitalized stocks, most of which are in the banking and industrial goods segment at the Nigerian stock market.
The team at First Bank of Nigeria Capital are afraid that the “NSE is at risk of further drift.
“The APC (All Progressives Congress political party) assumed power at the end of the transition with a good deal of goodwill with the population and investors.
“The market is waiting impatiently for new appointments and policies.”
Also, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), recently called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately release the blueprint of his economic policy and constitute an economic team that will facilitate a new policy direction.
The chamber also said it was not comfortable with the present approach of the Federal Government to economic issues, which has continued to diminish investors’ confidence.
LCCI stated this in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Lagos.
According the communiqué issued at the end of a meeting, presided over by its president, Mr. Remi Aluko, there was no clarity yet in the policy direction of the government in relations to the economy, which it described as a major factor in investors’ confidence.
“The uncertainty that began in January this year seems to have lingered. Council urged the Buhari administration to make a clear pronouncement with respect to its fiscal policy, foreign exchange policy, tax policy, subsidy policy, trade policy, reform of oil and gas sector (upstream and downstream), the power sector, the 2015 budget, the auto policy, sectoral policies, etc. All these are necessary for investors to have a clear insight into the policy direction of the government and take strategic investment decisions,” it stated.

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