The Presidency has fired back at the 2023 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, over his criticism of the current administration’s economic policies.
The Presidency in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, describes Atiku as a hypocrite who has resolved to attack the government’s economic strategies without providing any alternatives.
The former Vice President had on Sunday, claimed via a post on his X handle, that Tinubu’s policies “dashing hopes, creating pains and causing despair.”
Reacting to Atiku via a post on X handle, Onanuga described the former Vice President as someone who has been offering pedestrian and uninformed interventions on the national economy
The statement reads: “The Tinubu administration has so far taken the steps it has taken to revive an economy that had been thoroughly beaten down by several decades of abuse and mismanagement, introducing economic strategies focused on bringing mid and long-term solutions.
“President Tinubu himself had from the onset told Nigerians that the policies will bring initial tough times, which will in the long run bring about desired prosperity and ease.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has certainly found a new hobby to keep himself busy, having failed to achieve his lifelong ambition of becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is increasingly carving for himself the role of opposition-in-chief to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his government.
“However, we notice that the former Vice-President, just like in his political contests, is also doing a poor job of it, offering pedestrian and uninformed interventions on our economy and other matters of public concern
“Atiku’s latest diatribe was another uncharitable commentary on the state of the economy and the efforts of the President Bola Tinubu administration in remoulding it for sustained prosperity.
“Nigerians can easily see through the hypocrisy of Alhaji Atiku, who in accusing President Tinubu of poor response to the nation’s challenges and causing pains and despair, didn’t offer any better policy options in his run for the Presidency different from the economic reform agenda being pursued by President Tinubu.
“All the major candidates agreed that the fuel subsidy regime, which had become an albatross on the economy, must end. They all agreed that the multiple exchange rates must be fixed. Where President Tinubu and Atiku differed was in selling NNPC Limited and other national assets. Atiku went for this so he could sell these important national assets to his friends and cronies.
“President Tinubu removed the subsidy from Day One and announced moves to harmonise the exchange rates. Since then, he and his economic team have been working vigorously to harmonise the rates and also end the rampant and criminal arbitrage that the multiple windows allowed.
“President Tinubu acknowledged, on different occasions, that the reforms his government is implementing will cause immediate pains, but will usher in an era of prosperity in the medium and long terms.”
The statement further claimed that unlike the former Vice President, reputable individuals and organisations, within and from far parts of the world, who had taken accurate studies of the Tinubu administration’s economic policies have rated them as realistic and sustainable.
“Minus Atiku, reputable local and international agencies who understand the situation the Tinubu administration found itself in have commended the administration, having seen a policy trajectory that is positive, realistic and sustainable.
“Atiku’s claims that the private sector is shrinking and that multinational companies are leaving our country in ‘droves’ are not grounded on facts.
“His claim that the government’s policies have created intense cost of living pressures is also not grounded on facts as recent comparative cost of living indices show that Nigerians still enjoy the lowest cost of living in Africa.
“Instead of mouthing platitudes every time in a bid to earn cheap political mileage, Alhaji Atiku who presumes himself as the leader of opposition should tell Nigerians what he would have done better if he had been elected President.
Onanuga however noted that the economy inherited by the Tinubu administration had been ill for decades and desperately in need of sincere intervention and restructuring.
“Atiku should be honest enough to admit that President Tinubu inherited a weak economy, which to all intents and purposes and to ensure the survival of our country needs a complete overhaul.
“The economy was plagued by decades of significant fiscal deficits, a low revenue base, high external and domestic debts, and a huge debt service burden.”
“The national budget Tinubu met in 2023 showed that 97 per cent of revenue was to be spent on debt servicing, with little reserved for capital, thereby foreclosing growth and jobs.
“Confronted with this grim economic reality, President Tinubu faced a difficult choice of balancing the political and economic costs of reforms against the risks of economic recession. His government chose the former, to keep the economy afloat and set it back on the path of growth and prosperity.”
It further explained that the Tinubu administration so far, has taken steps to reposition the economy, steps that have been hailed globally as right for reviving an ailing economy.
“President Tinubu is focused on solving our economic and security challenges. The fiscal and monetary policies his administration is pursuing are delivering unprecedented value to investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The Nigerian Stock Exchange is outperforming others in the world and is now the best, not based on the bubble, but on record profits by many listed companies.
“The administration has also embarked on comprehensive fiscal and tax policy reform that will drive speedy recovery and spur economic growth.
“Nigerians and the global investment communities trust the ability and competence of President Tinubu to deliver progress and share prosperity.
“While President Tinubu and his able team are working very hard to make our country better, and ensure our economy is stronger and more competitive, Atiku Abubakar and his cohorts may continue to belly ache.
“However, they cannot stop the serious work of nation-building already set in motion by President Tinubu.”