CLAIM: Did Nigeria’s economy become more resilient under Buhari’s administration?
CONTEXT: On May 28th 2023, Muhammadu Buhari delivered his farewell speech in a televised broadcast to Nigerians “as he handed over to Bola Ahmed Tinubu’’.
In the farewell speech, the outgoing president made a claim on how he revived the economy and improved social wellbeing of Nigerians, especially the poor people in the rural area. He also said he was confident that he was leaving Nigeria better than he met it in 2015.
“The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns,” Buhari said.
VERIFICATION: Checks by CDD fact checkers showed that under Buhari’s reign, Nigeria’s economy went into recession twice, the worst run of recession in 33 years of the country’s existence. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced in August 2016 that Nigeria slipped into recession primarily due to inability to address structural adjustments that will avert the recession. GDP growth figures for Q2 2016 showed that the economy contracted by 2.06 per cent, following the negative growth of 0.36 per cent recorded in Q1 2016.
A recession occurs when an economy records two consecutive negative growth. Subsequently gross domestic product figures released by the NBS on Saturday showed that the economy recorded a contraction of 3.62 per cent in the third quarter of 2020. The cumulative GDP for the first nine months of 2020 stood at -2.48 per cent. The previous time Nigeria recorded such cumulative GDP was in 1987, when GDP declined by 10.8 per cent.
While Analysts attributed the 2016 economic recession to a massive decline in oil prices, and poor management of the currency crisis, the 2020 economic recession however was blamed on the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected many economies of the world.
Analysis further shows that other monetary and fiscal factors have also made Nigeria’s economy fragile and susceptible to external shocks. For instance, the country’s debt (domestic and foreign) in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over power was N9.8 trillion. However with the recent securitisation of the CBN loans to the federal government, Nigeria’s debt has now skyrocketed to N77 trillion, showing an increase of almost 700 per cent.
Also, the country’s local currency, the Naira, is currently experiencing the worst depreciation at the parallel market due to inability to manage foreign exchange policies and activities that will improve the naira against other currencies, especially the dollars and pounds.
In 2015, naira was trading against the dollar at N180-N190 to $1, dollar today is trading around N700 to $1 at the parallel market and about N470 at the official exchange rate.
CONCLUSION: CDD fact checkers found that under Buhari’s regime, Nigeria’s economy went into recession twice, the worst run of recession in 33 years of the country’s existence. Therefore, the claim is false.