I hope Buhari won’t take Nigerians back to austerity: Tinubu

March 30, 2021
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Bola Tinubu has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to not constrain Nigeria’s economy by introducing austerity measures, insisting that Nigerians have endured enough hardship. 

“You keep on asking us to fast. We are fasting no more,” said Mr Tinubu on Monday at his 69th birthday celebration in Kano.

“I hope the president himself will not pay attention to austerity.”

But the president of Africa’s most populous nation is not known for personally living on a shoestring budget since he assumed office in 2015 as he often junkets for medical reasons.

As the president, Mr Buhari has always expended taxpayers’ money on protracted foreign medical trips allowing the nation’s health care system at home to rot away. The last time he did so was in January 2020. According to his media aide, Femi Adesina, Mr Buhari will again travel to the United Kingdom for a medical checkup Tuesday (today).

In his speech, Mr Tinubu demanded a stimulus package from Mr Buhari’s regime to positively impact Nigeria’s economy. 

He warned, “This is not the time to constrain the economy; this is the time to create the opportunity.”

Urging Mr Buhari to take a cue from the U.S., he stated, “If you hear America spending $1.9 trillion, and they are not looking back but are asking for $3 trillion for infrastructure, for renewal and for creating jobs, and your own unemployment rate is 33 per cent, and you keep on asking us to fast, we are fasting no more.”

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, over 25 million out of the country’s 200 million people are without jobs, a record high of 33 per cent.

In 2012 and 2014, then-President Goodluck Jonathan introduced austerity measures amid economic crisis and falling crude oil prices. During the military rules of Olusegun Obasanjo (in the late 1970s) and Ibrahim Babangida (in the late 1980s), Nigerians were subjected to various austerity measures.

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