A rights advocacy group, the Citizens Rights and Empowerment Advocacy Initiative (CREMA Initiative) has counseled President Muhammedu Buhari to get his administration more organized ahead of the next three years, with clearly written economic blueprint to enable him achieve his “Change Agenda” and attract foreign investment, saying that in the last one year, divergent policy statements being expressed by members of his cabinet depict his government as one lacking coordination, sincerity and competence.
The advice was contained in a statement issued on Thursday ahead of the administration’s one year in office, which was jointly signed by its President/Executive Director, Comrade Rexkennedy Saltlove and the Director of Information, Comrade James Ezema.
The rights body, with membership across the country, warned that “Unless President Buhari takes urgent steps to curb increasing conflicting statements by government officials, the citizens and international community could doubt his government’s sincerity or even get confused as regards the policy direction of the administration”.
The group observed that “conflicting account on issues bothering on governance is becoming worrisome.
“While representing the President during a working visit to Lagos State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo assured Nigerians that the country’s economy was on the path of recovery, in spite of current hardship in the country, particularly with the recent hike in fuel price only for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to warn two days later that the country was on the brink of recession due to low level of economic activities occasioned by the late passage of the Federal Government budget by the current administration, which has made the country to suffer two successive negative quarters.
“The alarm was raised as part of the outcome of the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting headed by the CBN Governor”, the group observed.
“Again, on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, leading to the increase in pump price of petrol, while Vice President Yemi Osinbajo insisted that the government’s action was a mere price adjustment, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, maintained that the government has removed the subsidy.
“According to the Vice President “I wanted to focus on the cost component largely responsible for the substantial rise (in the petrol pump price), namely foreign exchange”, explaining that “this is therefore not a subsidy removal issue but a foreign exchange problem, in the face of dwindling earnings.
“However, Kachikwu while listing the benefits of the new pricing policy said: “There is no provision for subsidy in 2016 appropriation. As of today, the PMS (petrol) price of N86.50 gives an estimated subsidy claim of N13.7 per liter, which translates to N16.4 billion monthly. There is no funding or appropriation to cover this” just as the President had in the past claimed that fuel subsidy did not exist”, the group recalled.
“Who do we believe? For us, these observable inharmonious policy statements of this administration give a picture of the government as one lacking coordination, sincerity and competence.
“We’re concerned that if this trend continues unaddressed, the government will eventually get citizens and the international community confused as to where it’s going. Therefore, the government must have a written blueprint to guide the administration in the next three years of President Buhari’s tenure”, the statement read.
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