Four months after their inauguration, President Muhammadu Buhari will today meet members of his economic team amid a myriad of economic challenges. Among other issues, the recent economic decisions by the government, particularly the border closure policy and implementation of the Finance Act 2020 as it relates to the hike of the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5% continue to take a huge toll on the citizenry.
Sources said this would be the first time the president will be meeting the members since their inauguration, heightening speculations that the members have not achieved much thus far. The members replaced the Economic Management Team headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Daily Trust reports that the president had on October 9, 2019, inaugurated the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Prof. Doyin Salami. Dr Mohammed Sagagi is the vice chairman of the economic council while the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Development Policy, Dr Mohammed Salisu, is the secretary.
Other members of the 8-man council include former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr Bismark Rewane; Prof. Ode Ojowu, Dr Shehu Yahaya, and Dr Iyabo Masha. The key issue Nigerians believe should pre-occupy the president’s mind today is how the team could frontally tackle the lingering challenges in the economy. Former Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustafa Chike-Obi, had tweeted on January 11 that, “it is now 4 months since the acclaimed Economic Advisory Council was announced by PMB.
We are yet to hear of any concrete policy directives or feel any impact from the EAC. I sincerely hope we hear from them before the 6-month timeline, so it is not seen as just another stunt.” However, Prof. Soludo confirmed to Daily Trust last night that they have been working. But when asked on the challenges facing their work, he directed one of our reporters to the chairman of the committee.
“If you want an interview on our work, better speak to the chairman of the committee,” he said. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba in a telephone interview with the Daily Trust expressed confidence in the ability of the EAC team to deliver. He explained that he was sure the team has been working behind the scenes.