Tinubunomics: Is Nigeria open for business?

Jul 11, 2023|Joachim MacEbong

Key questions this article answers:

  1. What are the main differences so far between the Tinubu and Buhari administrations?

  2. What do those differences mean for the country?

For someone who pledged several times during the campaign to build on President Buhari’s legacy, President Tinubu has quickly dismantled significant parts of it.

An end to the currency subsidy in the primary forex market came on the heels of CBN governor Godwin Emefiele’s suspension. Before that was an end to a decades-long fuel subsidy and a student loan bill that means federal funding of tertiary education may also be at an end. EFCC Chair? Suspended. Boards of Ministries, Departments and Agencies? Dissolved. Service chiefs? Replaced. It’s been an action-packed six weeks.

His actions since taking office indicate that he was paying mere lip service to his predecessor’s record to avoid alienating too many of Buhari’s loyal supporters. The realpolitik calculation worked. Votes from Buhari’s North-West base comprised 30% of the votes obtained by then-candidate Tinubu. The South-West was next with 26%.

Buhari and Tinubu are of the same political party, are both septuagenarians and take a dim view of CBN independence. However, it is becoming apparent with each passing day that both administrations will have many more points of difference than similarities. What are these differences, what drives them, and what does that say about the country's direction under Tinubu? We will explore these questions in this article.

Outward looking

One of Buhari’s legacies has been the collapse of foreign direct investment into the country. FDI dropped 90% from $4.7 billion in 2008 to only $468 million in 2022. The foreign exchange policy, which prevented investors from repatriating their funds, and the ruinous 15-month border closure, were the hallmarks of a very insular and inward-looking president. Tinubu has moved to hit the reset button.

He has enthusiastically wooed investors, claiming Nigeria is ‘open for business’. One of his first acts in office was to meet with the leadership of ExxonMobil in Nigeria, which might be

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