Adams Oshiomhole, lawmaker representing Edo-North Senatorial District, has said “nothing can be worse” as the nation’s economy inherited by President Bola Tinubu from Muhammadu Buhari, his predecessor.
Oshiomhole said the Tinubu-led administration took over an economy in which the nation’s national revenue was barely enough to service the debt burden, spending 96 percent of the income.
This is even as the former Edo governor stressed the need for painful decisions by Tinubu, comparing it to undergoing surgery to address a serious ailment.
The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) spoke to State House Correspondents after meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the State House, Abuja.
Oshiomhole, who was also a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said: “The issues of the economy is work in progress. There is no quick fix. The government inherited a terrible economic situation. The government inherited an economy in which our total national revenue was barely enough to service our debt burden, spending 96%, which is to say every N100k Nigerian earn, 96k is going to repay debts, to service debt. So, you have only 4k left to pay all the salaries. So, nothing can be worse.
“But they came determined that they will have to do business unusual; to arrest the drift; stabilize the economy and then begin to move forward. Some painful decisions are necessary.
“Already, the executive—the president and vice president—they’ve shown courage in terms of the decisions they have taken, a radical movement away from one in which if you are well connected you could make billions without adding value to one in which if you want to make money, you have to work. We move away from a situation where CBN can favour you and you become a billionaire; of which they can pauperize you and your business collapses.
“Yes, it has created its own challenges, but I don’t know of any drug without side effect. Doctors will always tell you that every drug might cure your ailment but it will have a side effect. So, in taking it you have to do cost and benefit analysis.
“On the whole, I believe that the broad economic, specific macro economic policies that have been put in place so far both in terms of monetary policies and in terms of fiscal policies is the best way to start.
“You remember just recently a Minister of Finance distanced herself from the monetary policies of a CBN Governor and they were not talking. If the hand and the leg are not walking in harmony, then there is no way you can get to your destination. So, I think we are in a better situation now.
”But my plea to Nigerians is, when I say I will bail you out, I will fix a complicated system that is malfunctioning, I believe everyone knows that the more terrible the situation is, the more time I will require to take the right decision.
“Given the paucity of data and all the other basic infrastructure you need to take some quick decisions that are not pleasant but decision has to be taken.
“When I was a governor I did the same thing. I said, let me use my first six months to take the false decisions. I might lose few friends in the process but when those decisions begin to manifest and translate to benefits I will regain, not just the friends I have lost, I will definitely win more friends. That’s what happened in Edo and by the time I was running for my second term, I got more votes than I got in my first term because some of the difficult decisions I took in my first term came to fruition.
“So, there is no quick fix and there is no miracle in the life of nation states. As they say, leaders and statesmen think of tomorrow, the short-sighted politicians think of what is politically convenient. I’m convinced that Nigeria is safe hands.”