Nigerians are optimistic again. Yes, like the citizens do after every general election; the hope is that the Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima (President-elect and Vice-President-elect, respectively) incoming administration will hit the ground running.
On the front burner, Nigerians expect sustainable welfare programs; ousting terrorism and banditry, and putting in place policies that will revamp the economy.
The Tinubu-Shettima administration must deliberately follow steps to regain the confidence of investors within and outside the country.
According to a recent World Bank report, Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria plunged by 58.98 percent in 11 years.
Data from the Washington-based lender’s annual report tagged, ‘International Debt Report’, the country’s FDI depreciated from $5.966bn in 2010 to $2.447bn in 2021.
It was widely reported recently that Nigeria pays as much as N400bn monthly on Petrol subsidy. Well, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also advised that this should be removed mid-year 2023.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s (outgoing) administration has gone ahead to secure $800 million to set up a comprehensive palliative scheme for its citizens given the removal of fuel subsidies in June 2023. The palliative, the government said, is meant for 50 million people out of more than 200 million people.
Truly, the incoming government is likely to pursue a wide range of policies, which will have a far-reaching effect on individuals, households, and businesses but would become significant for the country’s future.
From economic policies to social reforms, the incoming government is expected to bring about much-needed changes.
Here, we will take a look at the nine policies that Tinubu-Shettima administration is mostly likely to prioritize:
9. Financial System Reforms
There are ongoing reforms in the Nigerian financial sector. But critics are asking whether these reforms will lead to economic growth or stagnant economic activities.
With the increasing prevalence of cryptocurrency and its potential impact on the Nigerian economy, it is essential to consider the implications of crypto-asset regulation and how it can be used to create economic opportunity.
Cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular means of transferring and storing value globally and is now at the forefront of financial technology innovation. It is therefore essential that the incoming government takes a well-considered stance on how to regulate the sector to ensure it can be used safely and securely.
As the country continues on its path toward economic growth and stability, the Naira redesign policy presents an opportunity for the government to usher in a new era of financial and economic development.
In recent times, the Naira has faced devaluation, which has resulted in several economic issues. It is now the responsibility of the incoming government to address these issues.
By pursuing this policy, the government can create a currency that better serves the needs of the people, supports economic growth, and represents the country internationally.
A counterfactual feedback mechanism should also be integrated within the financial sector for appropriate signal for the economic productive base. Nigerians want to see traditional banks improve on their services and product offerings while the Fintechs and other disruptive financial service providers improve on trust, security, and data protection.
The telecommunications industry in Nigeria has evolved from only voice infrastructure to the current scenario of exchanging audio, video, and text content over numerous wireless infrastructures.
The market for telecom services has also witnessed significant improvements in data speeds, from Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) to Third Generation (3G), Fourth Generation (4G), and now the commercialization of Fifth Generation (5G) networks. The advent of data connectivity has made possible the reduction in the duration of transferring large chunks of data from days to hours and now to a few seconds.
We predict that Tinubu’s government might want to review lingering issues in this industry such as the Right of Way (RoW), and forex available for the importation of telecom equipment, amongst others.
The policy direction of the government will determine if a fifth Mobile Network Operator will emerge to compete favorably with MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile. Remember that Mcom (formerly Mafab) has 5G license and preparing to enter the market with its products and services.
Also, if the government fails to get the Social Media Bill passed at the National Assembly (check item number one below), the administration is likely to target the Over-The-Top (OTT) channels.
The truth is that today’s customer favours Over-The-Top (OTT) channels for a variety of reasons, among which the number of viewing options, and the pricing offered are the most prominent ones.
The OTT solution providers offer video, audio, and other media content over the Internet. Usually, they are not bound to price agreements with limited viewing choices to pick from. Common instances of OTT applications are Netflix, Amazon Video, Showmax, HBO, and others. The reason is that the government wouldn’t want to feel ‘embarrassed’ or ‘intimidated’ by social media users. They would want to retain the share of voice or a complete overhaul to neutralize the naysayers.
7. Agricultural Reforms
Many aspects of the agricultural value chain must be addressed. We are predicting that the incoming government might want to re-introduce or revive a Market Commodity Board to oversee the establishment of minimum prices for strategic crops. This will be great news for farmers who are usually the most hardworking of the value chain, but oftentimes, make the least profits.
Apart from guaranteeing an increase in income for the farmers, the commodity board will see improved production capacity and agricultural growth in Nigeria.
6. Total Removal of Petrol Subsidy
With the rising cost of petrol and endemic corruption, it is not surprising that many are questioning the effectiveness of the current petrol subsidy system.
The Nigerian government is facing growing fiscal pressures, and the removal of petrol subsidies has been discussed as a potential tool to reduce the country’s budgetary deficit. While the removal of petrol subsidies can be a difficult decision, it should be carefully considered due to the potential for positive economic and social impacts.
This policy has been subject to considerable debate in recent years, with various stakeholders voicing their opinions.
As the government seeks to optimize its resources, the incoming government should carefully consider this policy, with the long-term advantages placed at the fore.
5. Power Sector Reform
As Nigeria continues to move towards becoming a more prosperous nation, the government will need to ensure that the nation’s power sector is properly reformed.
This reform is essential to achieving long-term economic growth and sustainability. The incoming government in Nigeria should pursue a comprehensive power sector reform policy that is designed to ensure the efficient provision of reliable and affordable electricity to the nation’s citizens.
This policy should address issues such as inadequate electricity supply, tariff misalignment, poor service delivery, infrastructure modernization, energy sector reform, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. With the right policy in place, Nigeria can make significant strides in improving its energy sector and the quality of life for its citizens.
If your house is not metered yet this might be the time to get the device because the new government is likely to encourage more local manufacturers.
Interestingly, President Buhari’s government has given the power sector reform a boost following the recent constitution amendments that extended electricity to the concurrent list.
4. Student Loan Scheme
As the Nigerian government gears up for a new term in office, the issue of student loan scheme policy has risen to the forefront of its agenda. With the need to ensure that all students have access to quality higher education, the government must consider policies that will ensure the affordability and sustainability of student loan schemes in the country.
The increasing cost of higher education in Nigeria has led to many students being burdened with high levels of student loan debt. With the incoming government, there is an opportunity to pursue a student loan scheme policy that can help to reduce this burden and provide greater access to higher education.
It is important to consider the various components of a student loan scheme policy, such as loan repayment terms, interest rates, eligibility criteria, and more, when designing an effective policy. By taking into account the needs of Nigerian students, a student loan policy can be crafted to provide the necessary support for them to pursue their educational goals.
3. Increase in CIT (Company Income Tax)
One of the important areas Tinubu-Shettima administration is likely to consider is the Company Income Tax (CIT) policy.
Government is likely to cautiously review the current tax policy and any proposed changes should be undertaken to ensure that the policy is beneficial to both businesses and the government.
It is important to understand the implications of any such changes, and how they could influence the Nigerian economic landscape. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenge of increasing company income tax, a careful analysis of the current economic environment and the potential impacts of such a policy should be undertaken to ensure that any changes are beneficial to the country as a whole.
2. State Police
The incoming government must outline and implement a comprehensive policy for the nation’s State Police.
An effective State Police policy should focus on proper training and resources, effective accountability and oversight, and an appropriate balance between law enforcement and community engagement.
It is also essential that the policy reflects the unique needs of the Nigerian people and pays attention to the principles of justice, fairness, and respect for human rights, particularly at the regional and state levels.
To this end, Tinubu-Shettima administration is likely to embark on constitution amendment process to accommodate State Police.
1. Social Media Regulation/Moderations:
In Nigeria, social media regulation and moderation are growing concerns. Well, the Internet and digital media have demonstrated an increasingly important role in shaping Nigeria’s economy, but there are signs the incoming Tinubu-Shettima administration would want to push harder to regulate the social media space.
Recall that under President Buhari’s government anti-social Media Bill was introduced by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 5 November 2019 to criminalize the use of social media in peddling false or malicious information. The Bill originally titled ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019’, was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa. After the bill passed second reading on the floor of the Nigeria Senate and its details were made public, information emerged on social media accusing the sponsor of the bill of plagiarizing a similar law in Singapore which is at the bottom of the global ranking in the freedom of speech and the press.
But the senator denied that he plagiarized Singaporean law. Eventually, the Bill was ‘rested.
Yet, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) issued the ‘Internet Intermediaries (ISPs, OTT, Social Media) Code of Practice’.
The Agency referred to section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007, which empowered it to standardize, coordinate and develop regulatory frameworks for all Information Technology (IT) practices in Nigeria.
Thus, NITDA said the code of practice was developed by its mandates and subsequently President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to NITDA to develop a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries (Online Platforms), in collaboration with relevant Regulatory Agencies and Stakeholders.
Do not forget that in June 2019, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) released Social Media Guidelines, which set out rules for the proper use of social media, and also established the Nigerian Cybercrime Unit (NCU) to help track and prosecute online criminals.
So, with the increase in hate speeches, resentments, and other vices done through Social Media, particularly during and post-2023 general elections, we are of the view that the incoming government will likely toe the line of President Buhari’s approach to social media regulation and will be more ‘aggressive’ about it. It is high time the Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) started planning on engaging the government on the possible best approach to this because a nation without a probing media landscape is doomed to slide to authoritarianism.
Some of the coded facts that will lead to the government pushing social media regulations include but are not limited to the protection of personal data, the protection of minors from harmful content, and the prevention of cyberbullying and hate speech.
There is a need to preach self-regulation starting with social media companies. Yes, these companies should be socially responsible by ensuring that the contents on their platforms comply with media laws and regulations, including laws on defamation, copyright, and privacy. In other words, we do not need another law viz-a-viz social media bill, if the provisions of present laws are followed.
With the aforementioned economic, social, and political reforms, individuals, households, and the business community need to start re-strategizing as the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine.