Soludo attributes recession to Goodluck for borrowing during boom and Buhari for wrong policies

FORMER Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Professor Charles Soludo has attributed the prevailing economic woes currently facing Nigeria to the wrong choice of government policies by both the Goodluck and Buhari administrations.


He made this declaration while speaking at an international conference organised by the Department of Business Administration of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik) in Awka, Anambra State. At the conference with the theme Managing a Recessionary Economy: Options for Nigeria, Professor Soludo said the major cause of the recession the country is facing is what he called the bad habit of borrowing at a period the economy was in boom.


Professor Soludo blamed the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for plunging the economy into a glitch, saying the government did not act on time to save the situation. Also, he criticised the current government's  Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, which, he said, stifled the economy further because it channelled public sector funds to the CBN.


In his speech, Professor Soludo expressed optimism on the possibility of the country coming out of the recession. He said managing a recessionary economy did not require rocket science, noting that Nigeria could overcome the current economic setback faster if the government put in place appropriate policies.


 “Huge spending by government was one of the ways of solving the economic problem but two wrong steps by the current government ruined that opportunity. They brought in the TSA and channelled funds into one account that did not allow spending.


"They also fixed the price of foreign exchange. These are things you do not do when a country is in economic crisis,” Professor Soludo added.


He stressed that the recession was sown by the last administration but became obvious one year into the tenure of the present government. Professor Soludo said it would not have degenerated but for the inability of policymakers to rise to the challenge.


According to Professor Soludo,  the recession happened because the Goodluck Jonathan administration failed to save earnings from crude oil sale when there was unprecedented boom in oil prices. He hailed the government’s diversification policy, saying it would save the economy beyond oil and also save it from shocks induced by vagaries of the international oil market.


In addition, Professor Soludo also called for fiscal federalism to help the states and local governments live beyond running to the centre for their sustainability. He said: “Poor ideas transcended over superior ideas and we went into recession which was slightly avoidable, which is why academics must be alive to their responsibility of nudging us to reality.


"If you borrow at a time of boom, what will you do in a time of lack? Even my grandmother in the village knows this.


“At the same time, when we had boom, we had unprecedented unemployment. The problem with Nigeria’s policymakers is that once oil goes up, we take it that it will remain so and we continue to spend but once there is a shock and oil prices go down, we just think it is temporary and we start borrowing."