Politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties on Wednesday disagreed with each other on over the news that Nigeria was out of recession.
To the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), the recession was caused by the purported profligate opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that the sound economic policies of the government of the day brought the nation’s economy out of the mess.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday would not agree with APC, saying the economy never entered recession while it held sway and that things went out of hand when the APC government came with its strange policies to collapse the nation’s economy.
Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma applauded the policies and promised to deepen them.
They reeled off facts and figures to show that the economy was in good hands.
Besides, they said, Nigerians will soon begin to feel the impact of the economy’s good fortune.
PDP National Chairman Ahmed Makarfi cautioned the government against politicising the issue.
He blamed the APC administration for bringing the economy into recession with wrong policies, stressing that the NBS’s report did not reflect the reality of the economic situation of the people.
The APC has always stressed the fact that the PDP plunged the economy into trouble by not saving for the rainy day when oil prices rose beyond $100 a barrel, embarking on unprecedented profligacy and swimming in corruption.
Makarfi said: “Nobody will want his country to be in recession and it’s a matter which affects everybody, irrespective of political inclination. So it’s a matter that we must never politicize.
“The country did not get into recession under the PDP administration. It nosedived into recession because of the policies that the APC administration came with, which frightened foreign investors, which led to capital flight.
“And, of course, the Nigerian economy is resilient, Nigerians are hardworking people and all of us that have been working to make sure that this country comes out of recession both from the public and private sectors have to share in the credit of whatever efforts have been put in place.
“So it is not a one party issue. And in any case, even government itself has said that we must not become lazy and think that we are out of the woods.
“Getting out of recession can be because of one or two indices which may not even have direct bearing on ordinary citizens. But when you look at the figure collectively and holistically, it will indicate that you are out of a problem when you are not really out of a problem.
“You will be out of a problem when people are able to eat well, people are secured, people find jobs, infrastructure in good condition, students don’t find it difficult to pay common tuition fees.
“But because all these issues are there and then we say we are out of recession and we are clapping? We have nothing to clap for. We have a lot to do.
“That is what PDP intends to correct when we come to power. But, be that as it may, what we can do, even at the moment, is to partner with those in power to make sure that the condition of every Nigerian, especially the ordinary people is better”.
To PDP National Publicity Secretary Dayo Adeyeye, considering the inflation rate of 16.05 per cent and annual population of 2.67 per cent, the recovery is insignificant.
“It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the recovery of the Nigerian economy is weak, feeble and insufficient to herald the sort of celebration and backslapping being displayed by officials of this APC led-administration.”
“We are of the firm belief that there is nothing to celebrate until the so-called economic growth improves the harsh living conditions imposed on millions of ordinary Nigerians by the Buhari administration’s incoherent economic policies and is reflected in a reduction of the high cost of goods, services and staple foods necessary for everyday living.”
In a statement by National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi, the APC said the Buhari administration was determined to pull the country out of the woods.
“The All Progressives Congress (APC) rejoices over latest disclosures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) respectively that the country has exited recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction and the country’s foreign reserve has hit $32 billion, the highest mark since January 2015.
“Nigerians will recall that during the 2015 elections, the APC promised to curb corruption, restore the economy and ensure security of the nation. We commend the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the economic recovery efforts which have evidently started to yield fruits.
“The APC also commends the National Assembly as it continues to work with the executive on improving the economy and other areas of national life.
“Commendably, the country’s exit from recession was in tandem with the current administration’s forecast that the country will experience economic growth in 2017. This is another demonstration that the President Buhari APC-led administration is one that keeps its promises.
“The APC thanks Nigerians for their patience, understanding and support for the President Buhari administration while the economy was in recession. Although there remains much more work to be done, we assure Nigerians that the administration remains focused on its effort to sustain the economy on the path of growth.
“As the President Buhari administration works assiduously to build a new solid foundation, credible image and pull the country out of the present hardship, we appeal for continued patience and the cooperation of Nigerians. While these are difficult times for many Nigerians, we must sustain the hope that brighter days are ahead of us.”