By Festus Akanbi
The choice of Dr Adedoyin Salami as the National Economic Adviser, at the twilight of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been described as one of the president’s last-ditch efforts to bequeath a sound economy to his successor despite the unpleasant economic outlook for the year.
In the game of football, the competence of a good coach is not easily rubbished by initial setbacks in the field of play. Experience has shown that a coach who knows his onions is usually not in a hurry as he assesses the performance of his team in the first half, their mistakes, the strength and weaknesses of the opposing team before he reaches for his playmaker whose duty it is to put into play all the pep talks, observation and strategies to change the course of the match.
In such cases, a playmaker is usually the one to be saddled with the responsibility of not only to rescue the team from defeat but also to exploring the weaknesses of the opponent in a bid to snatch victory.
With barely one and a half years to vacate the seat of power for a successor whose fate would be decided at the general election in April next year, President Muhammadu Buhari, seems to be telling Nigerians with the appointment of Dr Adedoyin Salami, as the National Economic Adviser, that hope is not lost and that the economy can still be given the final push.
Nigeria, just like other members of the international community has had its full share of the global economic crisis. Analysts believed as electioneering campaigns start this year, the reality is the government will begin to wind down with its far-reaching consequences on governance.
By picking Salami to steer the course of his economic policy in what has been described as the injury time, analysts believed the president is bent on giving hope to Nigerians that the economy will not suffer.
Even the statement from the presidency announcing his appointment was unambiguous about expectations from the new National Economic Adviser.
“As a chief economic adviser to the President, Salami 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; develop and recommend to the President national economic policies to foster macro-economic stability, promote growth, create jobs, and eradicate poverty, among others,” the Presidency said.
According to the statement, he has a 1989 doctorate in Economics from the Queen Mary College, University of London.
“He is Managing Director and Head Markets Practice at KAINOS Edge Consulting Limited, and member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, where he recently attained the rank of senior fellow/associate professor,” it added.
Key economic activities to watch out for in 2022 include electioneering, removal of subsidies, and floatation of the Naira.
While analysts see inflation moderating in 2022, they expect the CBN to remain accommodative. However, external pressures could result in rate hikes. Fiscal metrics could improve in 2022 on the back of a recovery in oil revenue. However, economy watchers hold a differing view on subsidies considering the electoral season. On the external scene, they expect deprecation in both the official and parallel markets. They maintained that recoveries in the oil sector and maximisation of the e-Naira could help keep the parallel market in check.
They described the choice of the Adedoyin as a masterstroke given his romance with this administration from inception. The thinking is that having undertaken some assignments under this administration, the Lagos Business School lecturer has all it takes to unleash those theoretical economic thoughts he espouses in his many writings and public lectures.
Perhaps, one of the first assignments for the new Economic Adviser is to assist the administration to navigate through the issue of fuel subsidy removal. Salami is one of the leading economists opposed to the subsidy arrangement given the obscene corruption that has continued to trail subsidy arrangement under successive administrations. To people like Salami, the unprecedented level of corruption associated with the subsidy regime, coupled with the pressure the arrangement is bringing to bear in the nation’s foreign exchange market have made fuel subsidy a drainpipe to the Nigerian economy.
However, as reasonable as the argument against the fuel subsidy regime is, the organised labour has threatened to confront the federal government should it go ahead with the removal. The labour argues that the attendant hike in prices of petrol will bring untold hardships to
Nigerian workers. Already, the Nigerian Labour Congress is threatening to lead the Nigerian workers in a nationwide protest.
It is therefore expected that Salami will be able to coordinate the government’s action in a way to stave off labour unrest especially at this crucial period.
The new National Adviser is an apostle of development of the Small and Medium Enterprises and one expects him to come up with policies to boost the SMEs sector considering the rising rate of unemployment in the country.
Adedoyin is the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Economic Advisory Council is tasked with the responsibility of advising the president on matters relating to economic growth, economic policy, and fiscal analysis.
Adedoyin is a doctoral degree graduate of Queen Mary College,
University of London. His research interests include issues in corporate long-term financial management; macroeconomic policy; corporate competitiveness and risk management; and characteristics of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government’s Economic Management Team. He is also an executive director of the UK-based African Business Research Ltd.
In addition to teaching, Dr Salami consults for multiple organisations. His consulting activities include assignments for the Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
His involvement with Public Policy Making started in 2009 with his appointment by the late President Yar-Adua as a member of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. In 2010, he was appointed to the membership of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria and retired from the MPC in 2017 after completing two terms. Adedoyin also served as Vice-Chair (under the leadership of Alhaji Ahmed Joda) of the Transition Committee for President Muhammadu Buhari. A member of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Advisory Group for Sub-Saharan Africa (AGSA), he is also a member of the Board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and had the privilege of being Co-Chair of the Central Organising Committee for the Nigerian Economic Summit in 2009.
Adedoyin has written extensively on the Nigerian economy. And he currently sits on the boards of the African Business Research Limited, First World Communities, and Diamond Pension Fund Custodian.