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Learn from Argentina’s economic reforms, Atiku tells Tinubu

Learn from Argentina’s economic reforms, Atiku tells Tinubu

The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has advised President Bola Tinubu to take a lesson from how the President of Argentina, Javier Milei, turned around the economy of his country.

Tinubu’s economic policies, including the removal of fuel subsidy, have resulted in economic hardship, making it difficult for many Nigerians to afford basic necessities.

Atiku, in a statement on Sunday, titled “Argentina’s Javier Milei approach to reforms should serve as a lesson for Tinubu,” drew a comparison between the state of the economy inherited by both Tinubu and Milei.

The ex-VP said, “Both leaders inherited a disoriented economy, but both applied different measures for recovery. President Javier Milei of Argentina was sworn into office on 10 December 2023. He inherited a worse condition than Nigeria’s. But what he did to return his country to a place where investors are ‘starting to believe’ should serve as a lesson to Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu.”

Atiku, who attributed the hardship in Nigeria to Tinubu’s economic policies, argued that, unlike his Argentine counterpart, Tinubu had refused to roll up his sleeves to do the work he signed up for and continued to lead a profligate regime notwithstanding that Nigeria was broke.

“Nigeria is where we are today simply because of what Tinubu has done or did not do. His shifting the blame on the opposition and, even ridiculously, his predecessor is needless and myopic. Market forces don’t play politics. They respond to your actions and inaction.

“President Milei’s major campaign promise was to reposition the Argentine economy after years of slow growth, high debt levels, triple-digit inflation (160 per cent when he took over the Presidency in December 2023), and a 40 per cent poverty rate).  His first task was to begin implementing measures to achieve greater macroeconomic stability and promote higher global competitiveness.

“He started off cutting government expenditure by cutting the size of government and wastage; blocked the stealing of government funds, and attracted Foreign Direct Investment through concessions, tax holidays, and improved ease of doing business.

 “Argentina’s Milei did not build the largest government like Tinubu did at a time when our economy was and still on its knees. The examples set by President Milei are the requirement of leadership in a time when the economy has begun to fail the expectations of the people.”

According to Atiku, unlike Argentine President’s approach, Tinubu’s policies are “ad hoc and hurriedly put together without proper review.”

“Ours is unlike Argentina’s Milei, who is sequencing his reforms. President Milei anticipates the after-reform shocks and admits that things will be tough for the people. But he is fully prepared for the aftershocks and has in place mitigating pills. He walks the talk. He makes sacrifices himself by giving up the perks of office.

“Conversely, Tinubu in Nigeria increased the number of ministers and ministries and is spending enormous resources renovating houses for himself, his deputy, and the First Lady. That is nothing short of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome is on fire!

“Worse still, Tinubu has refused to roll up his sleeves and do the work that he signed up for. Instead, he and his team are preoccupied with behaving like Napoleon and Squealer, characters in the satire book Animal Farm, who made it a state policy to scapegoat Snowball (the opposition) for their own failures arising from their ill-advised policies.

“I am attracted to the reforms in Argentina because Javier Milei’s stabilisation plan bears a similar emblem to my Recover Nigeria Plan. It is a plan that I am more than willing to disclose details of its workings with the current government in order to take Nigeria out of the depth of hunger and anger that we find ourselves in.

“Unless, and until there are clear-cut policies and pathways to economic rejuvenation predicated on a leadership-led sacrifice, there will be discontentment, especially among the youths, which may find expression in protests and for which it will be silly to continue to blame the opposition for.” Punch. 

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