In a recent editorial, the London-based Financial Times publication has cast doubt on the effectiveness of President Bola Tinubu’s economic reform efforts in Nigeria. While acknowledging the initial steps taken by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, such as the removal of fuel subsidies and a shift towards a market-driven exchange rate, the publication has raised questions about the trajectory of these reforms.
The editorial points out that, despite the promising start, the past four months have seen signs of challenges and uncertainties emerging within the reform agenda. One of the notable events that raised eyebrows was the removal of Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The manner in which this change was executed, initially involving charges related to firearms possession, led to suspicions of political reprisal.
Regarding the new exchange rate regime, the Financial Times report highlights that it has yet to be adequately explained to the public. Additionally, the publication anticipates that the new leadership at the CBN will likely resort to raising interest rates as a measure to curb inflation. José Cardoso, a former Citibank Nigeria chair, is considered a sound appointment by the markets, but concerns linger over some of President Tinubu’s other choices.
The report emphasizes the importance of restoring institutional independence to the CBN and allowing it to perform its duties without undue interference. It also calls on President Tinubu to become more proactive and articulate in his policy communication, particularly with a skeptical public. Furthermore, the editorial advises against announcing plans, such as the restoration of democracy in Niger, without clear implementation strategies. Effective execution, the publication argues, is crucial to maintaining the momentum of the reform agenda.
As President Tinubu’s presidency reaches its four-month mark, the Financial Times editorial suggests that what began with promise may be at risk of losing momentum, emphasizing the need for the President to regain the public’s confidence and ensure the success of his economic reforms.