Doyin Salami, The Neo-Liberal Economist Who Will Advise ‘Socialist’ Buhari

Barely 17 months to the end of his tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Doyin Salami as his chief economic adviser.

Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to Buhari, announced Salami’s appointment in a statement on Tuesday.

Currently, 58-year-old Salami is the chairperson of the presidential economic advisory council (PEAC).

In the last six years, the country’s economy has always been a major challenge. The administration has witnessed two recessions. From high debt profile to double-digit inflation, troubled naira, what wonder will Salami perform?

In his new role, Adesina said Salami will address all issues on the domestic economy and present views on them to the president.

He will closely monitor national and international developments, trends and develop appropriate policy responses.

Salami will also develop and recommend national economic policies to foster macro-economic stability, promote growth, create jobs, and eradicate poverty, among others.

TheCable gives you a glimpse into Salami’s profile up until his appointment as Buhari’s chief economic adviser.


Salami is an associate professor at Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, where he leads sessions in the Economic Environment of Business.

He is a doctoral degree graduate of Queen Mary College, University of London. His research interests include corporate long-term financial management, macroeconomic policy, corporate competitiveness and risk management, as well as focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As a lecturer, he has authored several scholarly publications.

He served as a member of the monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government’s economic management team (EMT).

He was also a crucial part of the transition committee of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015 as vice-chairman.


Salami is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Kainos Edge Consulting Limited, a consulting firm.

He has undertaken consulting assignments for the Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Beyond multilateral organisations, he also works as a consultant for corporations such as British American Tobacco (BAT) and BGL Securities Ltd.

 Others include Coca-Cola Nigeria, Equatorial Africa (CCNEAL), and Kakawa Discount House. He has facilitated or participated in corporate retreats for, amongst others, Zain Nig Ltd., MTN, African Petroleum Plc.


Salami is a known proponent of a free-market market. His views are in stark contrast to his employer, Buhari, a pro-government.

He has previously called for the liberalisation of economic policies under the present government.

As chairman of the economic advisory council, Salami has repeatedly asked the government to remove subsidy on petrol and adopt a pricing regime that reflects the cost of the commodity.

Many have argued that Buhari’s interventionist economic approaches can be best described as “socialist”, with his imposition of border closures, trade and foreign exchange control.


Salami had previously criticised the policies of the CBN under the administration of Godwin Emefiele.

In 2017, Salami said the CBN was providing a “piggy-bank” service to the federal government with its excessive funding of government activities.

He said the CBN’s claims on the government had risen “20-fold” to N814 billion from the end of 2016, while its purchases of government treasury bills increased by 30 percent to N454 billion

“Perhaps the most challenging of the present characteristics of the economy in Nigeria is the adoption of a quantitative easing stance by the management of the Central Bank. Monetary data shows a sharp rise in the extent of CBN financing of the government deficit,” Salami had said.

 “It is clear that the CBN has provided piggy-bank services to the federal government. While I still wonder what the underlying economics is, I sincerely hope it works.”

Earlier in 2015, Salami as a member of CBN MPC opposed the listing of 41 items, including rice and toothpicks, as not valid for foreign exchange (forex) through the official forex window.

Salami said investors were confused by the apex bank’s policies.

 “The credibility that CBN has carefully cultivated, if not lost, is most certainly undermined,” he had said.

In 2021, Salami lamented on Nigeria’s public debt stock, describing it as unsustainable and unmaintainable as the country’s debt service-to-revenue ratio climbed to 97.7 percent (January to May 2021).

On various occasions, the renowned economist has, however, advocated for clear and articulate fiscal and monetary policies, saying they will incentivise foreign investments and push economic growth.

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