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A litany of probes – welcome 1983



By Joseph Edgar …
I think we are back in 1983 when the only agenda for the Buhari/ Idiagbon junta was various wars against corruption and indiscipline. Nigerians where herded into various prisons with unimaginably long prison spells and this in itself further stunted the economy and turned us into a country of zombies.
Today in Buhari’s reincarnation, we see the same cycle. All we hear are stories of probes, anti-corruption, cleaning up the Augean stables, repairing the damages and destruction caused by years of looting by the last government. What we have not seen, is a clear vision of the direction the government will be taking on moving the economy forward, opening it more to investments and further preserving the middle class created during the Obasanjo regime.
I just woke up to the news that more probes are coming, parastatals like NPA, NIMASA and the like would be subjected to probes. What this does is that everything comes to a standstill as key officers are usually placed on working suspension, accounts frozen, and policy execution and implementation suffers a freeze and its effect on the economy cannot be quantified.
My question is, do we really need these probes? What are the economic benefits to us when we will still spend years to recover the looted funds? All the probes during Buhari’s military adventure are only just leading to some of the funds coming back almost 30years later.
I think we have clear and present issues that this government should tackle and leave all this probes alone. What I am seeing is a paucity of vision as to the way forward hence the need to hide under probe as the main focus of the government while leaving all stakeholders guessing as to the direction the government will take on the economy.
The last visit to the U.S was an ample opportunity to open up the economic direction, seek the support of the international business community and push for favorable policies from the western government towards our attempt at rebuilding our economy along very clearly stated economic angles. But no, what did we get? The continuous cry of the Jonathan government looting the country, a request for arms to fight Boko Haram (which in itself was ok), a list of economic looters and the earth shattering revelation that $6b had been looted.
We need vibrancy in the management of the economy instead of the present situation where the CBN governor has been left alone in the battle for the Naira without fiscal support. No cabinet to forge and endorse a workable economic policy thrust. Inflation is beginning to climb again, the Naira is taking a beating, the stock market is almost comatose and all other sectors of the economy are in their very last breathe.
The only sector still thriving is Nollywood. Did you see the figures from the breweries sector? A sector that normally thrives in a slump. All indices are down and the government is busy probing and shutting down the economy.

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As a money manager, I feel this directly as we are seeing the growth in FDI stall and also foreign money managers also taking their time to play in our markets because of this seeming uncertainty.
Buhari’s recent instruction that the pipe dream of a national carrier be immediately resuscitated, in my mind has further driven the death knell into my hopes of an economic resurgence under this government. What we are looking at is big government, centralized direction of the economy, government control and its attendant inefficiency in managing what should be private sector driven. This shows very quickly that the military mentality is rife, that we are back in the 80s.
Another bad and gloomy sign is the resuscitation of the refineries and the sack of NNPC top honchos and immediate appointment of a new helmsman and refusal to take a definite position on fuel subsidy. A forward looking government should be looking at privatizing all these dragons and limiting itself to a regulatory role. All this will lead to the continuous contraption of the economy and its adverse effect on the poor people who voted for this messiah.
We need to free up the economy, that was what Obasanjo did. Open up the space, create an enabling environment, push very credible fiscal and monetary policies, plug leakages, pull back from the management of the economy and watch the 170m highly productive Nigerians build an economy that should in ten years rival the economies of the Asian Tigers, till then we continue to wallow in the darkness and aimlessness of a newly minted democrat with the brains of a military despot. Welcome 1983.

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  1. Oise Oikelomen

    August 13, 2015 at 5:46 am

    I agree with freeing up the economy, opening up the space, creating enabling environment, government limiting itself to the regulation of a private sector driven economy, and all that. But to discredit the probes as unnecessary and distracting? Mba , I no gree. Let the probes continue, let all those who impoverished this country (our huge economic potential notwithstanding) pay the price; let impunity and corruption (including the institutionalized version) be rightly branded as punishable offences, and not some unwritten pre-requisite for staying in power. Only then, would the economic initiatives mentioned above mean anything to the ordinary Nigerian.

    • vital ilega

      August 13, 2015 at 11:01 am

      I do not agree with the writer on not probing the looters and govt not getting involved with businesses. Currently Nigeria needs sanitation before it can be used for a free market economy. How can one say that he has sanitized the country without probing all the looted funds hanging all over the world. if the looters are not check mated and put in the correct places they belong, they will sabotage any effort by the govt with their ill gotten wealth. Besides, this is Nigeria money floating around the world and being used for developing other nations while Nigeria is at lowest ebb looking for fund to survive. How can a sincere writer say that

      reviving the refineries without putting money in is not a good idea. clearly the writer is not sincere and his submissions not done in good faith

  2. Olukayode Soremekun

    August 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

    More time in the opinion piece was spent on deriding the idea of the anti-corruption war that I started to wonder if the main objective was indeed to paint the anti-corruption efforts as anti-Nigeria.

    We cannot go ahead without killing the impunity that has provided and continues to provide the bedrock for the monumental stealing we hear about. Please people should urge prompt action on the economy but no-one should try to pull wool over our eyes telling us that the anti-corruption war is not necessary.

  3. nmomah

    August 13, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    This writer is a Jonathan sympatizer. Why must we look the other way when Jonathan and his sidekicks cleaned up our treasury and left the new government with little or nothing to do its job. To put it to this writer rather succinctly, no nation survives economically and politically if corruption pervades the system. No foreign investor will take his or her business to any country ravaged with corruption. I want to assume that he is not advocating that Buhari should not bother about probing Jonathan and his government. Rather, he too should try and steal as much as he could and leave the office after four years. Then, it becomes a vicious circle and every elective posts in nigeria will become a do or die thing because nobody dire probe them after looting the country dry. We need probe in nigeria for the country to move forward.

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