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80 Months After Taking Office, Buhari Appoints Salami Chief Economic Adviser

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Dr. Doyin Salami as his Chief Economic Adviser exactly 80 months after he was first elected in May 2015. The appointment comes less than 17

Dr. Doyin Salami

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Dr. Doyin Salami as his Chief Economic Adviser exactly 80 months after he was first elected in May 2015.

The appointment comes less than 17 months to the end of the president’s second term and also marks the first time a Chief Economic Adviser would be appointed since Buhari assumed office in 2015. The president had for long resisted calls to appoint a Chief Economic Adviser who would be charged with formulating, coordinating and monitoring the implementing of his economic policies.

According to a statement on Tuesday by the Media Adviser to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, Salami was until his latest appointment the Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).

A 1989 doctorate degree graduate in Economics of Queen Mary College, University of London, Salami, 59, is Managing Director and Head Markets Practice at KAINOS Edge Consulting Limited, and member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan-Atlantic University, where he recently attained the rank of Senior Fellow/Associate Professor.

The Chief Economic Adviser to the President is expected to address all issues on the domestic economy and present views on them to the president; closely monitor national and international developments, trends and develop appropriate policy responses.

He is also to develop and recommend to the president, national economic policies to foster macro-economic stability, promote growth, create jobs, and eradicate poverty, among others.

Salami had few months ago warned that Nigeria’s current public debt stock was unsustainable and had also lamented that with debt service-to-revenue ratio at 97.7 per cent (January to May 2021), the country’s public debt profile was unmaintainable. He had also estimated that the country’s debt stock was to hit about N54 trillion when Ways and Means as well as the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) liabilities and projected fiscal deficit for 2021 were considered.

To improve revenue, therefore, the economist had said the government must block leakages, unlock opportunities at state level, improve tax efficiency and coverage, and sell-off dead assets, which are estimated at $900 billion.

Salami had stated, “While overall expenditure has grown by 102 per cent, from N5 trillion to N10.1 trillion between 2015 and 2020, revenue increased by just 15 per cent.

“This subdued government revenue is as a result of constraints around domestic production/investment; low tax base, as tax revenue to GDP still revolves around seven per cent; limited effort to explore and unlock opportunities for revenue generation at state level; over-centralisation and issues relating to efficiency in revenue collection.”

Salami had also said FDI inflow into Nigeria had revolved around $1 billion in the last five years, adding that FDI inflow in the second quarter of 2021 was $78 million, even lower than Q2 2020.

He had said the country’s investment climate was being constrained by macroeconomic instability, policy inconsistency, inadequate infrastructure, insecurity, as well as tough business climate.

With about 12 months to the next general elections and 2022 being an electioneering year, some analysts have argued that the new Chief Economic Adviser might not have the opportunity to make the desired impact.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja