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Nigeria's Buhari comes home to economic challenges

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 01:48

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returns home from nearly two months of medical leave in Britain - to an economy that's also been in the sick bay. Silvia Antonioli reports.

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Nigeria after nearly two months of medical leave in Britain. Looking frail as he walked stiffly - but unaided off the plane. Nigerian stocks rose to a one-month high after his return only to trim gains after he said he would undergo further tests within weeks. With Africa's biggest economy also in poor health, Buhari's long absence raised questions over his ability to run it. His deputy Yemi Osinbajo, stamped his authority on economic policy while he was away. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BUSINESSMAN, OLUWASEGUN CHARLES, SAYING: "Osinbajo has been trying on that seat like for instance the dollar that was high actually started coming down on his absence so he actually coming back, well, I wouldn't know if he would be able to continue on that seat but if he still wants to continue, the ball is in his court." The Nigerian economy is mired in its first recession in 25 years due to a collapse in oil revenues and a drop in the country's currency has lifted consumer prices. Rice prices have more than doubled. While local farmers are trying to boost production they say some help is needed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHITECT AND FARMER, ABDULHAKIM MOHAMMED, SAYING: "Now we are praying because government…. about the presidential program, about anchor borrowers, Fadama and GESS (Growth Enhancement Support Scheme) to come and support us with fertilizer and machines." Investors hope Nigeria will not repeat the mistakes of the past by losing interest in domestic food production if and when global oil prices pick up again.

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Nigeria's Buhari comes home to economic challenges

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 01:48