President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday constituted an Economic Advisory Council. The eight-person group (with only one woman) is expected to “advise the President on economic policy matters” working in coordination with relevant cabinet officials and the heads of the monetary and fiscal agencies.
Why it matters: The President appears to be listening to critics who have challenged the lack of an economic advisory team in his cabinet. This comes as the country has been unable to provide an articulate response to the country’s fiscal and economic challenges. However, there are concerns that the Economic Advisory Council might not have as much influence on the management of the economy.
Notes about some of the Economic Advisory Council members:
- Doyin Salami: Economist at Lagos Business School. Also, former member of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) monetary policy committee has been quite critical of Nigeria’s fiscal situation.
- Bismark Rewane: A popular financial analyst who runs an advisory firm. He was also a member of the technical advisory committee on the new minimum wage review.
- Shehu Yahaya: He currently chairs the board of the Development Bank of Nigeria Plc (DBN). The
- Ode Ojowu: Former Chief Economic Adviser of the country under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. He is also an ex-International Monetary Fund official.
- Iyabo Masha: The only female in the group was the former IMF Resident Representative in Sierra Leone.
- Chukwuma Soludo: He is a professor and former CBN governor. He oversaw the Nigerian banking sector consolidation during his tenure at the central bank.
- Mohammed Adaya Salisu: Senior Special Assistant to the President, Development Policy. He serves as secretary to the council.
The controversy: A part of the statement credited to the presidency has become the source of a new conspiracy theory.
- “…advisory council will replace the current Economic Management Team (EMT) and will be reporting directly to the President.”
A number of insiders have started to link the move to a certain conflict between the President’s inner circle and the VP. They are saying that the VP’s powers were being diminished systematically, as the EMT was under his supervision. However, the VP’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande has debunked the president’s spokesperson statement, saying that the EMT and the Economic Advisory Council remained independent of each other.
Topline quote: Per VP Osinbajo’s office: “If NEC wants to be briefed regularly by the Economic Advisory Council, we will request the president to do that.”