Tinubu Government Moves To Restructure Badly Damaged Economy Using PSC, Edun, Cardaso And Two Others

By Lateef Adegbite

 President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was governor of Lagos state appears to have put the management and restructuring of the much- damaged Nigerian economy in the hands of four economic experts, who are to be guided by the roadmap of the Policy Advisory Council, PAC, under the Chairmanship of Tokunbo Abiru.

With a roadmap put in place, by PAC, which was said to have had the likes of Michael Cardaso, newly appointed Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Samaila Zubairu, President/CEO, at Africa Finance Corporation, and Doris Anite, Imo state Commissioner for Finance and Coordinating Economy, among other experts, the Council had put forward a proposal to propel the nation’s economy to $1 trillion within the next eight years.

 The Nigerian President was said to have told Vice President Kashim Shettima, who was a former governor of the north eastern state of Borno and Chairman, National Economic Council, NEC, that ‘’the PAC, roadmap put together by PAC, would be achieved through implementing a series of economic initiatives’’.

 The economic roadmap outlined by the PAC, was said to have initiated ‘’series of strategic measures that encompass fiscal policy, monetary policies the capital market, industry and trade sectors of the economy’’. The Council, which had drawn up the $1 trillion economic blue-print for the country, may have targeted a consistent annual Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth rate of seven percent, unsustainable economic expansion.

Under the fiscal policy, for instance, the PAC’s roadmap was said to have focussed on tackling oil theft and pipeline vandalism, while also aiming to significantly boost oil and gas production. In terms of monetary policies, the Council was said to have intended a transition to a transparent and unified foreign exchange rate system and also to resolve the cash shortage situation which shook the economy to its foundation from December 2022 to the first quarter of 2023 as a result of the naira redesign policy under the Buhari’s administration.

 The PAC , had stated in its outline  that it will establish the country’s exchange to N550-6000 to the North American country of the United States, US, dollar, as the target band exchange rate but as at Friday, September 22, 2023, the exchange had hit N946.00 to the dollar at the Money Deposit Bank, MDBs and N950.00 to the dollar at the black-market.   

 Unlike former President Muhammadu Buhari who had put the management of the country’s economy in the hands of Hajia Zainab Ahmed, the immediate past minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Godwin Emefiele, the suspended CBN governor, by the Lagos state born Nigerian President at the early stage of the Administration and detained by the Department of State Service, DSS, which later ‘’charged to Court for Procurement fraud’’ had resigned his appointment, but the present government had placed the economy on the  shoulders of Edun, cardaso ad two others to run.

Minister Of Finance And Coordinating Economy

Until his appointment as the minister of Finance and Coordinating the Economy, the former Lagos state governor had tried to fix Edun by asking his political ally, and the former Katsina state born Nigerian Leader to appoint the one-time Commissioner in his government as Lagos state governor, as minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, but was turned down.  Tinubu may have waited for an opportunity to do so. The opportunity came when he was elected to be the next President of Nigeria after the February 25, 2023, Presidential election.

He was said to have initially appointed the former Lagos state Commissioner of Finance as Special Adviser, Monetary policies, fuelling speculations making the rounds that he has been working behind the scene for the government which may have informed why the Nigerian President’’ removed fuel subsidy and unified the official and black-market foreign exchange rate’’ on assumption of duties on May 29, 2023.

Edun was elevated to the ministerial position to oversee the ministry of Finance and Coordinating the Economy with the approval of the ministerial list by Godswell Akabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state governor led Senate last August.

The Nigerian President, according to the informed sources may have approved the nomination of  Olayemi   Michael Cardaso, the then  Commissioner ministry of Economic Planning and Budget  in the state and who was credited  with the  Tax reforms implemented  by the administration  and which had remained a major source of internal revenue generation in the state  till date and who was head of the Citibank in Nigeria to be the next CBN governor following the resignation  of Emefiele who may have bowed to pressure from both official and unofficial quarters to thrown in the towel to regain his freedom  and be paid his pensions and gratuity.

Cardaso: Governor CBN

There is no gain saying the fact that the recent key appointments that had been ma by the Nigerian President, which includes Cardaso, who was said to be the state Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget under the then Tinubu’s administration, speaks was seen as a welcome development.

.Cardaso’s nomination as the new CBN, governor, according to Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity is for a term of five years at the first instance, pending confirmation by  the Senate.

 Ngelale, the Presidential Media and Publicity Aide, had said that the Nigerian President also approved the nomination of four new deputy governors of the apex bank as well, for a term of five years each, at the first instance, pending the Confirmation of the Akpabio led Senate.

 The newly approved five Deputy governors of the CBN, that are expected with Casdoso, the governor, according to Ngelale, includes Mrs. Emem Nana Usoro, Mohammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Philip Ikeazo and Bala .M.Bello.

 The approved list of four deputy governors of the CBN, by the President, was said to have been made possible following the formal resignation of Folashodun Shonubi, former acting governor of the CBN, appointed to fill the vacuum, created with the suspension of Emefiele from office, Mrs, including Aishah Ahmad, Edward Lametek Adamu, and Kingsley Obiora, all deputy CBN, governors as well. The new CBN governor and the other four deputy governors, appointed alongside with him were said to have resumed duties at the Bank Headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, ahead of the Bankers’ Committee next interest meeting.

  The other economic and TAX gurus appointed by the President to join the minister of Finance and the  new CBN, governor including the four deputy  CBN governors  appointed as the Management Team  and Board members of the Board of Directors of the  Bank to manage and restructure the economy  were Taiwo Oyedele,and Zacchaeus Adedeji.

  Going by his profile, Oyedele was a Fiscal Policy Partner and African Tax Leader at Waterhouse Coopers, as well as Chairman of the Presidential Committee   on Fiscal Policy and Tax reforms while Ayodeji, who was said to have started with the administration as Special Adviser Revenue, to the President and now Head of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS.

The former Lagos state  Commissioners who had served under the Tinubu’s administration within the first and second terms   and now   ministers holding different portfolios, related to the economy,   may not be unconnected to the fact that he needed them ‘’ to help stabilize the government while the listed nominees for the of the office of the  CBN governor and deputy governors, an insider said are   basically   ‘’to  help in implementing the critical reforms  at the Bank  which had been started by the administration expected to    enhance the confidence   of Nigerians  and the international  partners, particular, the World Bank and the Multilateral Financial Institutions  including the London and Paris clubs   in the restructuring  of the Nigerian economy  toward sustainable growth  and development’’.

Given the importance attached to the restructuring of the economy by the Nigerian President may have encouraged him to set up the Presidential Tax Committee headed by Oyedele , and which  primary objective, is’’ to enhance the government revenue collection efficiency and ensure transparent reporting’’. The FIRS, boss, had said that ‘’the Tax reform Committee will promote the effective utilisation of tax and other revenues to boost citizens’ tax morale, foster healthy tax culture and drive voluntary compliance’’.

The foursome who already have the backing of the Nigerian President were said to have been given the matching order to replicate what was achieved in Lagos state some eight years ago to reposition the economy of Lagos state that was said to have made it less dependent on the allocations from the Federal government to run the state despite the frosty relationship between the then President Olusegun Obasanjo and Tinubu, the then Lagos state governor, at the Federal level.  It was not surprising why Edun, Cardaso and the two others are working according to the Presidential mandate.

True to his words that if   elected the next President of Nigeria, after the February 25, 2023, lection, Tinubu, was said to have presented his economic plan of the administration to stakeholders at the Presidential dialogue organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG.

The former Lagos state governor, had made it clear to the NESG, who were said to be more concerned about knowing his economic blue print for the country, if elected President had made it clear that the fuel subsidy regime will go, insisting that’’ it has overstayed its welcome’’.

He had said that the administration will go a step further to urgently address the ‘’fiscal, Monetary and trade reforms to effectively increase Local production and to curb imported inflation to ensure better macro-economic stability by accelerating inclusive growth and job creation across Nigeria.  

He may have gladdened the heart of the Private sector operators when he stated that he does not ‘’hold ‘’to the mainstream view that all forms of inflation are best tackled by interest rates hikes and shrinking the economy’’. He had to the Group that ‘’supply -induced inflation does not lend itself to this harsh economic policy’.  This may have informed why he had said that he will run a private sector -driven economy and has kept to the promise, which impact are yet to be felt nationwide.

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