A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Soludo, has advised the presidential flag bearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan, to stop campaigning about the record of the outgoing government, saying it has no testimonial to parade.
Soludo, a former governorship candidate of the party in Anambra State, gave this position in a document entitled ‘Buhari vs Jonathan: Beyond election’, and made available to LEADERSHIP newspaper.
The document, which emphasized the technocrat-cum-politician’s passion for the country and concern about the forthcoming general election, stressed the need for the country to improve on its economy especially considering the dwindling price of crude oil in the international market, among other economic challenges.
He said, “My advice to President Jonathan and his handlers is to stop wasting their time trying to campaign on his job record. Those who have decided to vote for him will not do so because he has taken Nigeria to the moon. His record on the economy is a clear ‘F’ grade.
“As one reviews the laundry list of micro interventions the government calls its achievements, one wonders whether such list is all that the government could deliver with an unprecedented oil boom and an unprecedented public debt accumulation. I can clearly see why reasonable people are worried.
“Everywhere else in the world, government performance on the economy is measured by some outcome variables such as: income (GDP growth rate), stability of prices (inflation and exchange rate), unemployment rate, poverty rate, etc.
“On all these scores, this government has performed worse than its immediate predecessor– Obasanjo regime. If we appropriately adjust for oil income and debt, then this government is the worst in our history on the economy. All statistics are from the National Bureau of Statistics”.
While comparing Jonathan’s administration to that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo where he (Soludo) served, he noted that “despite presiding over the biggest oil boom in our history, it (present administration) has not added one percentage point to the growth rate of GDP compared to the Obasanjo regime especially the 2003- 07 period. Obasanjo met GDP growth rate at 2% but averaged 7% within 2003- 07.
“ The current government has been stuck at 6% despite an unprecedented oil boom. Income (GDP) growth has actually performed worse, and poverty escalated. This is the only government in our history where rapidly increasing government expenditure was associated with increasing poverty”.
While assessing the economic and development policies of the two major political parties in the February election, the ruling PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC), he declared that “So far, neither the APC nor the PDP has a credible programme for employment and poverty reduction”.
“The APC promises to create 20,000 jobs per state in the first year, totalling a mere 720,000 jobs. This sounds like a quota system and for a country where the new entrants into the labour market per annum exceed two million. If it was intended as a joke, APC must please get serious.
“On the other hand, President Jonathan targets two million jobs per annum but his strategy for doing so is a Job Board— another committee of sort. Sorry, Mr. President, a Job Board is not a strategy. The principal job Nigerians hired you to do for them is to create jobs for them too. You cannot outsource that job, Sir. Creating 3 million jobs per annum under the unfolding crisis would task our creativity and audacity to the limits”.