Tinubunomics: Dissecting Tinubu’s economic track records
by Opeoluwa Dapo-Thomas July 11, 2022
Quadrennially, one issue Nigeria has had leading to Nigerian elections is the lack of issue-based campaigns or debates, especially on social media. Months leading to a potentially defining election and all that has been debated on is zoning, religion, propaganda and manipulated videos that circle around without giving prominence to the policies of the aspirants.
In an era where Twitter has become the main source of news, studies show that false news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted than true stories and it also takes true stories about 6 times as long to reach 1500 people as it does for false stories to reach the same number of people. The desire for facts and research is somewhat absent on social media.
As the flag bearer of the ruling party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been touted as one of the strong favourites to win the 2023 presidential election, so Nigerians have 8 months to dissect his economic plan for Nigeria which has circled around the media in form of press statements and campaign speeches. Mr. Tinubu who once was the Governor of Lagos State is adjudged to be the visionary behind the best state economy in Nigeria.
So, owing to this and his track record as a former governor, can Tinubu achieve his economic plan?
Economic Agenda: 12% GDP growth over 4 years
According to reports, Nigeria’s GDP grew by 3.1% at Q1 of 2022. Tinubu has proposed a 12% GDP growth over 4 years.
Track Record: Bola Tinubu, a former Deloitte associate, prides himself on liberating Lagos State’s economy and overseeing the growth of the state’s Internally generated revenue from 600 million to N5.5 billion generated monthly at the end of his tenure with the aid of his economic team. In 2017, Lagos State’s output was $136 billion, according to official estimates, and more than a third of Nigeria’s gross domestic product. In 2002, after he oversaw the stabilization of Lagos’ finances – the state was able to float bonds raising substantial capital. The State raised N15 billion through bonds raised, demonstrating market demand and private investment appetite for the Lagos economy. Using the expenditure approach, Tinubu oversaw an increase in personal consumption, business investment, government spending, and net exports (all components of GDP) from 1999 to 2007.
Economic Agenda: 15,000MW and 24/7 Power Supply
According to reports, the National Grid has collapsed for the 17th time in just the first half of 2022. With an installed capacity of 13,000MW, Nigeria currently transmits about 5,500MW, which barely attends to the needs of Nigerians.
Track Record: Electricity has relatively been on the Executive list and despite the controversies that courted the project with the then Federal Government, during his time as governor of Lagos State, he sponsored the first Independent Power Project (IPP) to the state. The project handled by the American Company, ENRON was meant to deliver 3 barge-mounted electricity generating units and later build a gas-fired power plant. The project inception generated 90MW, which improved the electricity supply in Lagos State. The project was the first time a state government created electricity.
Economic Agenda: Removal of Fuel Subsidy
Over the years, the removal of Fuel Subsidy has been a big debate in Nigeria. The continuous payment of subsidies on petrol has continued to affect the revenues of Nigeria and recently put the country into debt as our fuel imports now supersede our crude exports.
Track Record: Different administrations have attempted to remove subsidies but the social contract and political implications to see it through have proven a serious bottleneck. Tinubu, a former Mobil Oil executive, has over the years shown the political will to unease Lagosians if the trade-off would lead to the long-term prosperity of the state. But his track record points to him being a part of Occupy Nigeria – a movement that warned the past Federal government against subsidy removal owing to the dangers it continues to do to the Nigerian people. His new stance citing that payment of fuel subsidy is a “burden too much for the Federal Government to bear” is open for the jury given his previous protests against the removal.
Economic Agenda: New National Infrastructure Plan
Infrastructure provides an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and investors to thrive in the country which consequently leads to job creation, amongst others.
Track Record: During his tenure as governor of Lagos State, contracts for 422 road projects, and 308 were completed in five years. His track records laid the foundation of present-day Lagos, which has been built on by subsequent governors. Some of his records include the initiation of the plan for the Lekki Free Trade Zone, which will boost the economy of Nigeria.
Also, the Eko Atlantic, which will help in solidifying Lagos’s status as a mega city and also help solve drainage issues in the state. In his campaigns, he has spoken of his desire to dredge the seaports in Cross River to welcome vessels and liberate the South-South economy.
Economic Agenda: 25% Budget Allocation to Education
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has urged governments of countries to allocate 15-20% of their budget to Education. Nigeria has over the years failed to meet this benchmark. The 2022 budget shows that just 7.9% was allocated to Education.
Track Record: Over his time as Governor, 25% of the Lagos State Budget was never allocated to education. However, in July 2000, Tinubu launched a free education programme for all Lagos State public schools, including free registration for WAEC/NECO exams. He also oversaw the upgrading of schools in the state, and some into Model Colleges. He would later become the first Governor to vote N127 million and fully initiate and execute payment of bursary/scholarship allowances to all tertiary institution students in Lagos State.
Economic Agenda: Eradication of University Lecturers’ Strike
Strikes from University lecturers have become a scourge in the Nigerian educational system. There have been 16 strike actions since 1999 and according to reports, ASUU has spent 1 day out of 4 days on strike in the last six years. ASUU has spoken out about the lack of investments in tertiary institutions and several other issues bothering on welfare and financing.
Track Record: In 2006, as Governor, the State injected N1 billion in the Lagos State University and despite being out of office has made several contributions to the Lagos State University. He further introduced a Unified Internal Education where N100 million was expended in 2006 to improve the quality of teaching. One of his lasting legacies is the establishment of the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) in 1999, he also oversaw the full accreditation of the course in 2005 by the NUC, and LASUCOM remains one of the best colleges of medicine in Nigeria. Also, he established the LASU Information, Communication and Technology Centre (ICT); renovated Staff Quarters, and Administrative Buildings, among others.
Economic Agenda: 10% Budget Allocation on Healthcare
Healthcare remains one of Nigeria’s critical sectors, with a large percentage of its population dependent on getting quality healthcare services from government-owned hospitals.
Track Record: Under his tenure as Governor, Tinubu increased budgetary allocation to the health sector from N1.6 billion in 1999 to N11.8 billion in 2006; this represents over a 1000% increase in 7 years. He established a Free malaria healthcare scheme, which saw children ages 12 years and below, and adults aged 60 years and above, get free malaria treatment. This also includes free antenatal programme. Under his leadership, the Lagos State Action Committee on Aids (LSACA) was established and this saw a reduction in HIV prevalence from 6.7% when he became governor, to 3.5%.
Economic Agenda: New Agriculture Policy
Agriculture remains the bedrock of a nation with food security. According to reports, Nigeria has about 70.8% hectares of land for Agriculture. The contributions of Agriculture are about 24% of Nigeria’s GDP. Despite all of this, the agricultural sector is plagued with some problems such as Climate change, and lack of technology to boost production, amongst others.
Track Record: Tinubu has never shied away from acknowledging the important role farmers play in ensuring food security in Nigeria. During his tenure as governor, and in a bid to boost food production, he distributed N150 million worth of Agricultural inputs to small and medium-scale farmers under the Lagos State Agricultural Micro-credit Scheme. Also, Tinubu has outlined plans to not only feed Nigeria but Africa with a sustainable policy on agriculture.
Economic Agenda: Decentralized Police Force
Security is key to the success of any policy or of any government. Security of lives and property is crucial to any government, as it represents the economic well-being of such a government. There are also ongoing debates on State policing as Policing resides on the Executive list of the Federal Government.
Track Record: Tinubu intervention on the need to have a state security apparatus saw into the Rapid Response Squad (RRS). His intervention breathed a new lease of life to security in Lagos State, with the squad tasked with fighting crime rates in Lagos State. The RRS with enormous support from Tinubu created a safe Lagos for indigenes and residents. The RSS is currently one of the best police units in the country.