Tinubu Replies New York Times on Nigeria's Economic Woes: "I Inherited Them"

Tinubu Replies New York Times on Nigeria's Economic Woes: "I Inherited Them"

  • The Presidency responded to a New York Times article on Nigeria's economic crisis, asserting President Bola Tinubu inherited severe economic challenges
  • Special Adviser Bayo Onanuga criticized the article for focusing on Nigeria's economic hardships
  • Onanuga highlighted Tinubu's decisions to end fuel subsidies and unify exchange rates as necessary steps to address economic distortions

FCT, Abuja - President Tinubu said on Sunday, June 16, that it inherited a severely weakened economy but is resolutely tackling the nation’s economic challenges.

Tinubu was replying to a New York Times (NYT) feature article titled: “Nigeria Confronts Its Worst Economic Crisis in a Generation."

Tinubu sends a message to NYT
Tinubu sends a message to NYT Photo credit: Bola Tinubu
Source: Facebook

The feature, penned by Ruth Maclean and Ismail Auwal, highlighted Nigeria’s economic woes, citing rampant inflation and a plummeting national currency exacerbating hardships for millions struggling to afford necessities, Punch reported.

Criticism of foreign media portrayal

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Reacting to the aforementioned article, Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to the president on information and strategy, in an article titled: "Rejoinder to New York Times' Jaundiced Report on Nigeria's Current Economic Situation", said the article was a typically biased portrayal by foreign media of African nations.

He said:

“The typical predetermined, reductionist, derogatory, and denigrating way foreign media establishments have reported on African countries for several decades.”

Tinubu's inherited economic situation

Onanuga argued that it focused disproportionately on Nigeria’s negative economic aspects without acknowledging the current administration's positive strides and reforms.

He said:

"To be sure, President Tinubu did not create the economic problems Nigeria faces today. He inherited them.
"As a distinguished economist in our nation once articulated, Tinubu assumed control of a severely weakened economy. The economy was hemorrhaging and required urgent intervention to prevent a collapse similar to what occurred in Zimbabwe and Venezuela."

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Onanuga pointed to inherited fiscal deficits exacerbated by unsustainable fuel subsidies and a fragmented exchange rate system.

Policy decisions for economic recovery

The special adviser highlighted policy decisions undertaken by Tinubu in mid-2023, including the cessation of fuel subsidies and the unification of exchange rates, as crucial steps toward economic recovery.

Onanuga justified these actions as necessary to address long-standing distortions and restore fiscal discipline.

Addressing financial challenges

Onanuga underscored Nigeria's financial challenges, such as massive debt servicing obligations and substantial currency defence expenditures, which he attributed to previous administrations.

He said:

"After weathering several months of turbulence, during which the naira plummeted to as low as N1,900 against the US dollar, there is now some semblance of stability, despite lingering difficulties.
"Currently, the exchange rate has improved to below N1,500 per dollar, and there are expectations that the naira could strengthen further and reach between N1,000 and N1,200 by year's end."

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"The economy recorded a trade surplus of N6.52tn in Q1, as against a deficit of N1.4tn in Q4 of 2023.

The special adviser noted recent improvements in economic indicators under Tinubu's tenure, including a reduction in the inflation rate and a trade surplus recorded in the first quarter of 2024.

Tinubu's response below:

Efforts to combat inflation

The Presidency outlined ongoing efforts to combat inflation, particularly food inflation, through increased agricultural production and governmental initiatives to reduce costs for consumers.

Onanuga emphasized collaborative efforts between the federal and state governments to bolster food security and alleviate economic pressures on citizens.

Tinubu seeks prayers amid economic hardship

In another development, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has called upon all Nigerians to include the nation in their prayers for enduring peace and stability.

Tinubu made this call during the eve of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration on Sunday, June 16, in Lagos.

Source: Legit.ng

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Ezra Ukanwa (Editor) Ezra Ukanwa is a first-class graduate of Anchor University, Lagos. He holds a master's degree in mass communication. Ezra currently serves as the Current Affairs and Politics Editor for Legit.ng, where he covers events and provides insightful analysis and reportage on national issues. He was named best Campus Journalist (Anchor University Communications Award, 2019). Kindly contact him at: ezra.ukanwa@corp.legit.ng or +2349036989944