Halt That Recession!
The state of Nigerian economy has recently become so worrisome with the fast depleting value of Naira against major currencies, especially the dollar that the Central Bank governor tried a flexible exchange rate. Yet that proved not to be the antidote to recession. The mystery needed to be fathomed and no other person than the Finance Minister was qualified to direct the technical niceties that led to the prostrate state of the economy. So her explanation to the Senate was the only hope on which the state of the economy is hung to those who believe her.
The minister is only a disciple to PMB. Even PMB is not an economist. The president does not seem to lack ideas as to what Nigeria’s challenges are and what template of panacea to apply for solutions; but if the results are still not expected even by his own standards, then the seat vacated by the opposition over a year and half ago appears hotter than his predecessor left it. This goes to support the view that if there are limits to God’s generosity certainly you cannot blame man for being unkind.
Just recently the president in one of his epistles postulated “The Three Changes Nigeria Needs “as (1) Restore Trust (2) Rebalance our economy and (3) Regenerate Growth. These three issues for him are the only pre-requisites for Nigeria to move forward. In his own words these are actions the down payment on our people’s ability to succeed. Sure, the president wears the show and knows where it pinches but he seem to be oblivion of the menace of militancy which should be the first ailment Nigeria should sever from its system before the president’s 3 postulations could take root.
There is no practical means of achieving economic growth without power and energy to drive productivity. Yet energy sources depends on petroleum products which militancy continually vandalizes. It seems that what the government are doing since 2009 is like pouring water into a leaking tank, robbing them of meaningful development. According to Winston Churchill , long term development comes from long term peaceful and helpful relationship in the society.
This is why I think Ahmed Joda’s 18–man Presidential Transition Committee report on Security, Economy and Corruption as a strategic action plan for the government lost relevance. The document was envisaged to enable the government take-off advisedly, navigate the economy and drive the change agenda. The relevance of the report is now unequivocally obsolete, partly because they were produced with volatile indices (oil, militancy, exchange etc.) partly because the projections were partisan and unrealistic to the state of the nation. After all no government in Nigeria and elsewhere would be impactful or relevant without address security, economy and corruption which are recurring decimal provided in Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution.
As G.20 ends their discussion on global economy in China, a country that holds the key to many giant projects in Nigeria, there is anxiety to fathom how Nigeria would forge ahead with the rest of the world with a rapidly dwindling economy.
Years ago there were predictions that connected Africa the future. By many standards the future is already here and slipping away without much grips by those who should have been corporate leaders/middle class today. Perhaps the slightest inkling to what was expected is Tony Elumelu’s Entrepreneurship Programm (TEEP), which is basically a crusade titled: “Africapitalism.” Or do we say that the prediction sneaked away and manifested in African –American with record-breaking presidency, through whom ‘Electrify African Act’ birthed.
If this is true, it may be because African leaders were not adequately prepared, trained, focuses and committed to African connectivity for the future that is gradually becoming the past.
Perhaps the remedy would be waking up the captains of the African rudderless economic leadership to the realization that it is the only continent since the middle of 20th century that its growth potential was and remains half-tapped.
For instance from President Shagari’s tenure in 1979 Nigerian were expecting housing-for-all before the year 2000, which was the ‘future’ but year 2000 is now with 16 years deficit. In this direction Alhaji Aliko Dangote seem to be the awaited Messiah, not only in Nigeria but in Africa with the historic manufacture of cement to satisfy Nigerian building market, as well as for exports. The establishment of similar factories in other African countries is perhaps the fulfillment of the connectivity prediction beyond the geographical dreams of the founders of Economic Community of west African States (ECOWAS).
Apart from these giants of industry whose investments and other economic interests are at stake when recession sets in, who are battling to avert or halt it, the PMB administration should in the same way it crushed the deadly insurgency in the North-East to device multifaceted means of ending militancy in the South so as to avert or halt recession.
IKECHUKWU O. ODOEMELAM & CO