Goes on vacation after 8 months in office
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday revealed that the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, initiated by former Military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babagida, IBB, killed the naira.
Buhari, who lambasted the economic policy of the retired General Babangida who overthrew him in a palace coup in 1985, said in a BBC programme monitored in Abuja that his successor’s SAP not only ruined the economy but laid the groundwork for subsequent economic policy summersault.
Speaking against the background of the current travails of the naira that now exchanges for N300 in the open but is officially sold by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, at about N200, per United States dollars, the president said the introduction of SAP in 1986 by the IBB administration laid the basis for frequent devaluation of the naira.
He traced the origin of some of the problems facing the country’s currency to IBB’s regime, adding that had the military president adopted shrewd policy, the Nigerian economy could have grown and be in the position to resist subsequent infantile policies.
IBB had in 1986 and 1988 instituted SAP which is said to have been responsible for the downward trend of the naira.
“I went through the devalue in 1984, it is SAP that killed the naira. I have asked the Governor of Central Bank and others to sit and see if they can convince me to murder the naira,” Buhari said.
SAP was a loan provided by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and the World Bank to countries facing economic turmoil.
Meanwhile, the president also disclosed that the Treasury Single Account, TSA, was an initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, but regretted the PDP-led federal government could not implement it.
Buhari, who began a short vacation yesterday, said during an interactive session with Nigerians living in the United Kingdom on the sidelines of the Supporting Syria Conference in London, stated that his administration had been able to block leakages and save N2. 2trillion using the same TSA.
“When we discovered that we were already in trouble, we tried to enforce the TSA. This government did not initiate it, it was the previous government, but it was so unpopular to the previous government.
“For its own reasons, it couldn’t impose it, but when we came and we found out that we were broke, we saw that this is the way to do it.
“We discovered that the NNPC had more than 45 accounts, the ministry of defence and the military had more than 70 accounts; tell me which of the accounts to trace every year.
“So we enforced TSA, we said there must be TSA, and let me tell you by the end of December coming to January this year, last month, we mopped up more than N2.2 trillion,” he said noting that his government intends to strengthen the policy.