Former presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Martin Onovo, believes the Federal Government deceived Nigerians by saying the country has exited economic recession.
Onovo, who appeared on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme on Tuesday said Nigeria cannot be out of recession and still face increased unemployment rate.
“Obviously, the ruling party is playing with words. Now, when you have a recession that is complicated by rising unemployment and rising inflation, that is stagflation. So it is deceitful in the first instance to claim that we exited the recession,” he said.
“When you have a GDP decline in two consecutive quarters, that is a recession. What has happened in Nigeria is that we have had the decline consistent for five quarters, that in the minimum is not a recession but a depression.”
The former presidential candidate, however, said the country had only gone out of a “technical recession”, insisting that Nigeria’s economic crisis was beyond the recession.
He accused the government of being corrupt, noting that it must invite ethical people and encourage merit to tackle the challenges facing the nation’s economy.
“Technically, we just exited a ‘technical recession’ and the actual situation has gone beyond a recession, economic depression is a sustained recession. The government has driven the economy to a bottom.
“What are the things that help you grow your domestic productivity? Power, agriculture, manufacturing, just do the right things and, of course, man is the ultimate resource and your people have to be ethical.
“The deceitful government does not encourage ethical people, a corrupt government does not encourage ethical people, a discriminating government does not encourage merit and that cannot encourage productivity,” Onovo claimed.
On the Economy and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in April, he said, “You cannot accept mediocrity and expect excellence.”
“it is very clear the government does not have any clear plan because if you look at the one you want to refer me to, [you are going to say the Economy and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP)] if you look at that document, that document is worthless.”
Onovo who contested on the platform of the NCP in the 2015 general elections also criticised the government for importing petroleum products into the country.
He said, “What we proposed was that you do not export crude and import petroleum products, grow refining; is that too difficult to understand? We said we will double power in the first term, this government has lost power.”