The influential international weekly magazine ‘The Economist’ has bashfully described former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as an ‘ineffectual buffoon’ in this week’s edition of the print titled ‘Crude Tactics – Cheap oil is causing a currency crisis in Nigeria. Banning imports is no solution’. The article described the ex- president as one who let politicians and their cronies fill their pockets with impunity thus allowing corruption flourish under his watch.
The article also had a piece for President Muhammadu Buhari, while hailing his progress on the anti-corruption war, says he was repeating an economic error he made as dictator 30 years ago for refusing to devalue the naira to reflect the country’s loss of purchasing power.
It read in parts;
” …In the eight months since Mr. Buhari arrived at Aso Rock, the presidential digs, the homicidal jihadists of Boko Haram have been pushed back into the bush along Nigeria’s borders. The government has cracked down on corruption, which had flourished under the previous president, Goodluck Jonathan, AN INEFFECTUAL BUFFON who let politicians and their cronies fill their pockets with impunity.
“Mr. Buhari, who—unusually among Nigeria’s political grandees—is said to have just $150,000 and a couple of hundred cattle to his name, abhors such excess. As military ruler he jailed, fired or forced into retirement thousands of bureaucrats whose fingers had been in the till. This time, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested dozens of bigwigs, including a former National Security chief accused of diverting $2.2 billion. The EFCC has a poor record of securing convictions; but a single treasury account has been introduced to try to stop civil servants siphoning off cash. And agencies which may not be remitting their fair share to the state are having their books trawled by Kemi Adeosun, the finance minister….
“Instead of letting the naira depreciate to reflect the country’s loss of purchasing power, Mr. Buhari’s government is trying to keep it aloft. The Central Bank has restricted the supply of dollars and banned the import of a long list of goods, from shovels and rice to toothpicks. It hopes that this will maintain reserves and stimulate domestic production.
“A weaker currency would spur domestic production more than import bans can and, in the long run, hurt consumers less. The country needs foreign capital to finance its deficits but, under today’s policies, it will struggle to get any. Foreign investors assume that any Nigerian asset they buy in naira now will cost less later, after the currency has devalued.
‘Frustratingly, this crunch is one that Nigeria has been through before—under the then youthful Mr. Buhari. Then, as now, he refused to let the market set the value of the currency. Instead he shut out imports, causing the legal import trade to fall by almost 50% and killing much of Nigeria’s nascent industry in the process. Between 1980 and 1990, carmaking fell by almost 90%. Today, as in the 1980s, the president is making a bad situation worse…” the International news magazine probed.
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The publication of this article comes during Mr. Jonathan’s global tour. Earlier this week he spoke in Geneva, Switzerland to members of the press club. Last week Mr. Jonathan visited the United States where he met with supporters and attended the Presidential Precinct which was held in Virginia.
Nigerians have however not turned a blind eye to these remarks by the Economist magazine, expressing their anger and smashing the magazine for labeling a former president of the country, Goodluck Jonathan an in such derogatory words.