Outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has apologised to citizens over the negative effects of some economic policies implemented by his administration in the course of revamping the nation’s economy.
The most recent of such policy was the implementation of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) naira redesign policy which was suspended on March 13.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022 announced that the bank would redesign N200, N500 and N1,000 notes and discontinue the old ones.
The implementation of the policy, which caused scarcity of the naira notes nationwide, foisted hardship, agony, humiliation, social uprising and deaths of Nigerians.
Banks and their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country were attacked by angry youths and other protesters.
However, on March 3, the Supreme Court extended the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes till Dec. 31, thereby restoring sanity into the various socio-economic activities in the country.
The president, however, said: ”In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results.
“Some of the measures led to temporary pains and sufferings for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the overall good of the country.”
According to the president, the Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that the economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.
“You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice.
“Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.
“Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use.”
The president affirmed that his administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed.
According to him, the private sector proved a strong partner in the drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turnkey projects in various sectors of the economy.
On infrastructural development, Buhari disclosed that his administration had successfully completed some legacy projects to drive economic growth in the country.
“Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the Second Niger Bridge and various important roads linking cities and states,” he said.