Is President Buhari's new Economic Advisory Council an admission that VP Osinbajo's Economic Management Team was a failure?

Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
  • Vice President Osinbajo presided over his weekly Economic Management Team (EMT) meeting at 1:35pm on September 16th, 2019
  • A little over four hours later on the same day, a completely new Economic Advisory Council (EAC) was announced by the Presidency
  • Neither the Vice President nor any members of the now dissolved EMT are on the new Economic Advisory Council
  • Did Nigerians gain anything from the EMT?

At 1:35pm on September 16th, Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Osinbajo on Media and Publicity, live-tweeted the VP presiding over his weekly Economic Management Team (EMT) meeting.

A few hours later, Garba Shehu, the official Spokesperson for the President, tweeted that a new Economic Advisory Council had been formed.

In another tweet, Mr Shehu specifically stated that the Vice President's EMT had been dissolved and that the new EAC would report directly to the President.

The exhausting list of founding members of the EMT

The Economic Management Team was revealed in 2016 and included the following members:

  1. Vice President Osinbajo
  2. Former Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma
  3. Former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun
  4. Former Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah
  5. Former Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu
  6. Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele
  7. President Buhari's Special Adviser on Economic matters, Dr Oluyemi Dipeolu
  8. President Buhari's Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari
  9. President Buhari's Deputy Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye
  10. Director General of the Debt Management Office (Dr Abraham Nwankwo, until 2017)
  11. Former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe
  12. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

EMT membership in 2019 grew even larger

The same positions of office retained their EMT membership in Buhari's 2nd term as incoming and outgoing Ministers where the President made cabinet changes swapped places. Even more members were added as pictures from the inaugural 2019 EMT meeting showed. Business Insider SSA noticed Dr Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) at the meeting, among others.

Any notable EMT achievements in Buhari's first term?

When President Buhari assumed office in 2015, he said his three areas of focus would be:

  1. Creating jobs
  2. Improving National Security
  3. Eliminating corruption

The one item on the to-do list that aligned with the EMT was job creation. At the end of the first quarter of 2015, the unemployment rate in Nigeria was 7.5%. The number of unemployed Nigerians during that period were recorded at 5.5 million.

As at the third quarter of 2018, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose to 20.9 million while the unemployment rate rose to 23.1%

President Buhari's reason for the change from EMT to EAC

No reason was given for the change in Economic teams. This has been interpreted by some to be a silent admission on the part of the President that the Vice President's team didn't move the needle in terms of policy advice that led to economic development.

Looking ahead to the Economic Advisory Council (EAC)

President Buhari has replaced public sector officials in the EMT with private sector technocrats. The chairman of the EAC is Economist Adedoyin Salami and membership includes former CBN Governor Charles Soludo and renowned Economist Bismarck Rewane.

Nigerians will be hoping for tangible economic improvements over the next four years.


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