Stepping out, leading by example in an inspiring manner, rebuilding our economy, taking us back to the path of prosperity and development and keeping us there for good are the demands of the good people of Nigeria from President Muhammadu Buhari as we settle deeply in this recession.
With the admission in the last two days by his ministers (Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Finance, and Senator Udo Udoma, Budget and National Planning) that we are technically in a recession, there are many steps expected from the government to plant hope and confidence in the hearts of our compatriots, and show that we can walk out of it with our heads held high.
And since a recession lasts a minimum of one year for countries that apply the right solutions, President Buhari has to start now to show us how we will live through this hard and dehumanizing times and rebuild the economy.
Here are the things that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should do now :
- A national broadcast to explain the scenario and government’s plans – As a matter of urgency, in the next few days (less than a week), there should be a national broadcast by the President or Vice President, addressing Nigerians about this recession. The broadcast should explain how we got here and what will be done to get out of this recession. There should be clear cut solutions in short, medium and long term. Thereafter, the broadcasts should be frequent, may be once a month to give us ‘progress reports.’
- High ranking government officials, captains of industry, economists and leaders of thought should be drafted to help manage fear – The most dangerous part of a recession is the fear created about economic situations of people changing for the worse. Companies would downsize, close shop, people will get salary cut or lose their jobs, children will be out of school, many will go hungry and some will take to crime. Those respected citizens are to explain implications of recession and what people should do. Encourage all and show that tomorrow holds a beautiful promise. That recessions are normal, occur every four to eight years, and lasts less than two years if properly managed.
- Accept responsibility, come up with workable solutions and communicate the solutions effectively – This is not the time to blame previous governments for our predicament. That’s why majority of Nigerians voted for change because we believe we have a leader that can change our country’s fortunes for good. We don’t want excuses. We need solutions that are simply explained so that we can all be on the same page.
- Cut your salary, allowances and perks, and dispose wasting assets like private jets – Since we all are going to scale down our lifestyles and curb our tastes for expensive items, it should start with our leaders. Our public officials should announce the cuts in their salaries, allowances and perks. And show us that they are living a realistic lifestyle dictated by the times. The lavish splurge in State Houses, extravagant banquet, wondrous fleet of cars, inexcusable junketing, and the jamboree in the three tiers of government as well as agencies should stop. Private jets in the fleet of the Presidency should be sold, with only one or two left. States have no business with private jets.
- Be tough and follow through the plan – The habit of not having well thought out plans, consulting wide, listening to those with solutions, sticking to the tough decisions and checking the execution of the plans have always left us losers. This is the time to stick through the painful solutions. Adhere strictly to decisions and implement solutions as agreed.
- Learn from other leaders and countries and adapt their solutions – There are well thought out solutions administered to different challenges, and our case should not be any different. Countries have survived recessions and collapsed economies, what did they do? Leaders have led their nations out of difficulties, who are they? Buhari should read, study these countries and leaders, and do what they did, adapt their methods to our peculiar challenges.