" /> Managing a distressed economy and the hard choice before President Buhari (iii) | Hallmarknews
Published On: Mon, Oct 26th, 2015

Managing a distressed economy and the hard choice before President Buhari (iii)

Danger signals ahead

 

By CHRIS UCHE  |

Again Nigeria is treading a well beaten path in spite of all the expectations of change in the air. Sorry to be cynical and to spoil the fun of many people but from available evidence, this change may be a mirage and hope postponed. What can you say about the desperation to make former governor Rotimi Amaechi a minister, appointment of 91 standing committees in the House of Reps, Customs CG’s reversal of the rice policy and likely somersault in the auto policy? It is all confusing; and this is still morning, yet there are enough indications to predict the evening.
Our leaders are very predictable, so notoriously predictable in our predictability that anybody who has been around for any length of time in the country can fairly determine what will happen in public policy. This perhaps explains why virtually everybody in the country is an expert of some sort on public policy, because it does not take any serious intellectual rigour, deep insight and perspicacity to envisage and extrapolate government behaviour and public policy directions and outcomes.
A characteristic challenge of managing the economy in the past 30 years has been policy inconsistency and often the chasm between policy enunciation and actual implementation. Since my school days in the 1980s this was the issue; now close to retirement, this is still the issue. This is damning and close to what Charismatic Christians would call a stronghold; more so for a government that was elected on change platform.
Take our annual budgets for instance. Usually presented with so much gusto and beautiful appellations, such budget of change, budget of transformation, budget of consolidation etc at all levels of government, the outcomes are habitually disappointing. Some of our policies are the best crafted and developed and comparable to any other elsewhere, but they are often prepared to impress the gullible and not for any practical purposes  and without consideration to the political will of leadership and the capacity and altruism of the civil service.
Mention them – the National Development plans, Green Revolution, Home grown Structural Adjustment Programme, Vision 2010, Vision 20, 2020 etc. It is the same old story. In fact development scientists believe that the Second National Development Plan is one of the greatest policy documents to be prepared by any nation and could have transformed the country in the Singaporean fashion but it came to naught.
Issues arising from the ministerial screening and some government pronouncements provide sufficient cause for alarm. Some of the nominees such as Chief Audu Ogbe, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, and Mrs. Kemi Adeosun spoke eloquently and convincingly about a new economy that is capable of creating jobs, encourage local industry and manufacturing, focus on agriculture and food security, reduce recurrent expenditure, and interest rates, shore up the value of the naira and restrict importation of petroleum products, remove subsidy to attract investment in refineries etc. These are economic best practice in today’s global economy.
Now, contrast these statements with Col. Hameed Ali’s unbanning of rice import because of falling Customs’ revenue and the anticipated reduction in auto import levy which imposition has brought several car companies to begin local assembling. The 75 percent hike in car import charges is intended to revive the sector that could generate thousands of jobs, but the government would prefer to have money to spend for political appeal – the short term trumping the long term.
Last week, this column had argued that the only way to save this economy is to ignore the immediate short term pressing challenges and focus on the more fundamental long term problems with the potential to transform the economy on a sustainable basis. This is how we concluded:
“Managing a distressed economy requires paradigm shift and strategic long term approach. For an immediate and short term response, Interest rate should be crashed to allow business, particularly SMEs, borrow and invest to create jobs; inflation and exchange rates as long term element should be de-emphasised in the short term and subjected to market forces of demand and supply; import should be restricted through high tariffs to boost domestic production; quantitative easing is necessary to expand economic activity and revive production; subsidy should be removed to free resources for capital projects, and recurrent expenditure should be curtailed to raise capital expenditure”.
How can we produce local rice and change the habit of Nigerians from lusting after imported rice if we don’t limit its importation? How would the country attract investment into the down-stream to produce products if we continue to provide subsidies, which fixes price below market level? For the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to insist on keeping the refineries and subsidies is to put politics above economics and the outcome will be disastrous; that is the lesson of history.
It is politicization of economic policies that has ruined this economy, and APC, which was elected to change our bad and inglorious past, does not see the imperative for change in economic policy, apparently because it conflicts with its party manifesto. Nigeria is like a patient in coma; the first thing to do is revive it before determining the ailment. The manifesto is a political document that did recognize the challenges in the economy but cleverly contrived to win votes. However, it has to adapt to the extant economic exigencies or it will fail. Any law that does not bend will break.
The only way to save President Buhari’s government is to continue with the existing economic policies, fine- tuning and reviewing them – where necessary – rather than reversing to ensure stability, continuity and consolidation. This will promote investors’ confidence and give the nation a long term planning advantage. Reversing means starting afresh – all over again – and it takes time to build. This leadership can at best be in power for eight years, which is not enough to transform things especially from the scratch.
The great challenge before President Buhari we said previously is how to marry and reconcile economic fundamentals with political expediency, party ideology and economic necessity, and pressure to win the next election and the demand of building a national legacy that will stand the test of time. This is what differentiates great leaders from the straws of history.
Great leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and De Clarke etc focus on posterity and have their memories embedded on the sands of time. Without building on the gains of the former government buoyed by the President image of integrity and firmness, the nation would have lost another 16 years to policy experiment. This will be a great loss to the nation and the betrayal of those who trusted in this government.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent posts

  • Time is ripe for rates cut, says Rewane as inflation slows further in Oct.

    FELIX OLOYEDE This is the appropriate time for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to cut benchmark monetary rates after inflation rate slows down for the ninth consecutive time in October, said Mr Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives. The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released Consumer Price […]

  • ELAN National Lease Conference Focuses on Revamping Nigerian Economy

    FELIX OLOYEDE In furtherance of its objective of promoting the business of leasing in Nigeria, Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN) has concluded plans to organise the 15th Annual National Lease Conference with focus on revamping the Nigerian economy. The conference which is the biggest gathering of stakeholders in the leasing industry is expected to […]

  • Nigeria-centric restaurant, Labule, opens new outlet in Lagos

    Labule, Nigeria-centric restaurant, operated by an indigenous company, Roots Foods Limited, offering real Nigerian local delicacies in a unique environment that combines the setting of a modern quick service restaurant with that of an African setting of a local ‘buka’, has opened a new outlet on Admiralty Road in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The brand […]

  • Nigerian banks shine in Ghana

    By JOHNMARK UKOKO Nigerian banks have been credited with “revolutionizing “the banking sector in Ghana, due to the many innovations they brought to Ghana’s banking sector. The Ghana Deputy Minister of Trade and Investment Hon. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah said in Lagos that the innovation and transformation of the Ghana’s banking sector is credited to the […]

  • Ajimobi moves to save Oyo APC from disintegration

    By OLUSESAN LAOYE The seeming crisis in Oyo APC has now forced the Governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, to begin consultations with stakeholders to convinced members on why they must come together as a body to face the 2019 general elections, Although the internal crisis is yet to break open as the aggrieved party […]

  • YolaDisCo sale stalled as no potential buyers emerge

    By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU Two years after the core investors of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company, YolaDisCo, declared a force majeure owing to their inability to operate under the reign of terror unleased by Boko Haram, the Federal Government is yet to find any investor interested in operating the utility company, it has been learnt. In […]

  • Company Analysis: Much Ado about Seplat

      By TESLIM SHITA-BEY The oil and gas sector has had a bumpy since the beginning of 2017 with local oil major, Seplat, seeing its financials whipped raw by prior year liabilities despite rising revenues over the nine months (9M). The company in the last two years has moved from being distinctively bad to singularly […]

  • How to start a photography business

    By ZUBAIR DANIE While photography could be accounted for as a full blown course in any offering institution of learning for professionalism, the field equally provides a platform for individuals whose passion it is to project images as a form of livelihood. The socio-cultural aspect of Nigerians that play host of events like: wedding, naming, […]

  • BOFE to celebrate unsung heroes in local communities

    OluwasolaJesuseitan, a brand and advertising expert, is an advocate of sustainable brand communications. He is also the founder, Business Owners Forum Enterprise (BOFE), a non-profit making organization, which seeks to build the capacity of business owners in and around Akute, Ogun State. He tells FELIX OLOYEDE in this interview of his organization is promoting business […]

  • Lager wars: Who wins?

    By JOHNMARK UKOKO Nigeria has many lager beer producing companies, some have been in existence for over 50 years while others are quite new in existence in the country. Some of these companies that have over the years churned out millions, if not billions of bottles of beer to Nigerian drinkers are: Nigeria Breweries Plc, […]

  • Nestle sparkles in Q3 results

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU As the packaged Consumer goods (PCG) sector struggles to stay ahead of falling consumer demand, companies such as Nestle Nigeria plc are bucking the trend of businesses with shrinking bottom lines. Indeed the multi-product packaged goods producer has seen earnings rise to mind boggling with its pre-tax profit rising by a stunning […]

  • 2018 Budget proposals renew old anxieties

          FELIX OLOYEDE   Mixed reactions trailed the presentation of the 2018 federal government budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly (NASS) last week. Public policy analysts have expressed moods from the congenially positive to the outright incredulous. The staggering N8.6 trillion expenditure plan is one of the most audacious in […]

  • Anambra 2017: Obiano battles for life

    By Obinna Ezugwu The time has finally arrived. On Saturday the people of Anambra State will head to the polls to either renew the mandate of the incumbent state governor, Chief Willie Obiano who is running for a second term in office, or elect fresh hands from among other prominent contenders, including Mr. Oseloka Obaze […]

  • (Editorial) CBN’s BVN distraction and matters arising

    Nigeria’s fiscal and monetary authorities have a frustrating way of responding to the seizure of private assets; they typically gloat with glazed eyes over private citizen’s money ready to pounce on the cash like a pack of hyenas starved witless. The recent order by the Central Bank of Nigeria that customer accounts that are not […]

  • 12 Yoga tips for beginners

    The popularity of yoga has soared in the last decades, and it seems that every other friend and acquaintance of ours is already practicing it. But don’t let it fool you into thinking it is easy: yoga is quite challenging, especially for beginners. The good news is that there are some practical tips to make […]

  • Finally, embattled IGP, Ibrahim Idris, appears before Senate

    The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has arrived before the Senate ad hoc committee set up to investigate the allegations and counter-allegations between him and Senator Isa Misau. The IGP was accompanied by his lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN) and Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.   Details […]


Visit us on Google+