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Nigeria gives Buhari benefit of doubt

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 01:41

President Muhammadu Buhari has told Reuters he will hold Nigeria's crucial oil portfolio in his new cabinet, rather than trust anyone else with the source of most of Nigeria's revenue. But as David Pollard reports, it may take more than that to fix the struggling economy.

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Nigeria may have had a political makeover when it elected a new president in March. Here they deal in the real thing. Even if business has lost some of its gloss because of a currency at record lows. Pushing the price of imported make-ups higher and higher. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BEAUTY REPRESENTATIVE, RASHEEDAT LAWAL, SAYING: "The funny thing about all this is that customers don't want to hear that the prices of your commodities have gone up." Small service businesses like Rasheedat's cosmetics counter are big business in Nigeria. But not big enough. Nigeria depends on oil and gas for 70 per cent of its revenues. With a global rout in commodity prices, Nigeria needs to shift its economic focus, says Seven Investment Management's Justin Urquhart Stewart. Towards a burgeoning middle class who want services like Rasheedat's. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SAYING: ''Governments must do that. That will also help their tax take, their tax take will also then give them further strength and so that will further encourage development.'' Muhammadu Buhari's relatively peaceful election was a breakthrough for African democracy. He told Reuters this week he intends to become oil minister himself when he names his new cabinet, rather than trust anyone else with the revenues. And intends to recover what he called ''mind-boggling'' sums stolen over the years. But six months on from the vote, his critics say: so far, not so good. Ebun Adeboruwa is a human rights lawyer. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND LAWYER, EBUN ADEGBORUWA, SAYING: "I don't think that he is taking steps towards fixing the economy of this country. I don't think that he is taking steps towards fighting corruption." Others do point to progress - in reclaiming territory from insurgents in the north-east for example. Or in improving power supplies for business. Some at least still ready to give Buhari the benefit of the doubt.

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Nigeria gives Buhari benefit of doubt

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 01:41