Published On: Mon, Aug 5th, 2019

Sustain the fiscal growth momentum

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has just released the consumer price index, a measure of the latest inflation rate. The index, according to the bureau, dropped year-on-year from 11.40 per cent in May to 11.22 per cent in June. It said the June inflation rate represented a decrease of 0.18 percentage points, down from the rate recorded in May.

On month-on-month basis, NBS said the index increased by 1.07 per cent in June 2019, noting that this is 0.04 per cent rate lower than the 1.11 per cent recorded in May. “The CPI which measures inflation increased by 11.22 percent year-on-year in June 2019. This is 0.18 percent points lower than the rate recorded in May 2019 (11.40 percent).”

The CPI , in a sense, does for the national economy what the stethoscope does for a human being. It tells whether or not the economy is healthy. In this case, we are being told that the Nigerian economy is doing well, one month after President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) were given a second 4 year term in the Feb. 23 presidential election. This good news also as come on the heels of the president’s reappointment of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Though not initially appointed by Buhari, Emefiele quickly adapted to the president strong armed monetary posture. It helped to take the nation out its first recession for 20 years, strengthening the naira against the United States” dollar (USD). Emefiele is expected to continue along this trajectory, an indication of which is his decision that banks recapitalize this year. The last time they did so was 2006.

The fall in the inflation rate, therefore, shows that the government”s fiscal policies are working and the economy is on the rebound. However, the political opposition and doomsayers do not see this. Or they pretend they don’t see. Of course, we don’t expect the Buhari bashers to suddenly change course. They won’t. When a previously unknown foreign agency this year rated Nigeria as the “headquarters of extreme poverty”, the critics drew out the long knives. However, they said nothing when another agency said Nigeria was not at the risk of fragility in spite of its current security challenges.

What does this say? Buhari should ignore the opposition tantrums, and go to work to meet the expectations of millions of Nigerians who gave him the vote in February. It is nearly two months since his second inauguration, yet he has not hit the ground running as expected. He has not put together his new team of ministers. Yes, it is good to take time to do that, given that a good number of his first term ministers failed to impress. However, four years was long enough for him to know who to retain in his second term cabinet and which fresh hands to bring on.

Good_natured Nigerians are famous for being longsuffering. However, let this patience not be allowed to turn to frustration.

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