By Joseph Edgar… You know one should never get tired of screaming at this juncture of our national development but the patriotic instinct in me would never allow me even if my flesh is getting weak from the persistent refusal of our authorities to see the futility in their preferred policies.
Sir, you cannot legislate recession out of the way. You cannot with draconian and archaic laws wish away the tight grip of recession on our economy and by extension our lives. Today, the dollar has crossed the N400 mark and if we are not careful it will speed up to the N1000 level and at that point we will be looking towards Mugabe for guidance on how to survive in a session of hyperinflation.
Seeking economic emergency powers in itself would scare the living daylight out of the black jackets of the remaining foreign Direct Investors whose inflow of dollars is required to shore up the flagging economy. I did not even bother to read through the details of the policy because of my intense opposition to it, hence my inability to analyse it with the toothpick it deserves.
To me, it brought back the pseudo socialistic tendencies of the military era, the central control system of the economy which invariably led us to rationing, massive job losses and the almost total collapse of the economy. Going by the antecedent and body language of the government, if those powers were granted it would most likely lead back to the narrow distillation of policy formulation and execution and also the possible arrest and detention of ‘economic saboteurs which will further throw us into the throes of frustration.
At this juncture I will want to ask succinctly, where are the Ministers of Solid Mineral, Finance and the other Argonauts whose job it is to handle the fiscal side of the equation. All the CBN has been doing is simply to manage the available FX and this can only barely solve the problem, because the main issue here is the fact that we are not earning as much while demand keeps surging.
Is Fayemi sleeping? Where is the enabling environment that should encourage the exploitation of the abundant mineral resources in the country? We need to match the CBN in its aggressive take on of the fire with an equal amount of push at the earning side, otherwise we would just be waging a dead war.
For the umpteenth time, the solution is staring us in the face but because our leaders do not have the capacity to unlock these opportunities, they continue to knock on the same doors that we have been knocking forever. Nothing better illustrates this more than the futile search for oil in the North East and the Benue basins, plus the angry attempt at flushing out the Niger Delta Militants by force so that the oil installations will resume production.
We have failed to see that things are different now, the global landscape has moved beyond oil and its volatility and the painful thing here is that we have more than enough resources to play an even more powerful role in the emerging global economic configuration if only we can just open our eyes.
I scream entertainment, I scream solar energy, I scream agriculture and its processing which is even more key. Nestle in Switzerland makes more than eight times than Ivory Coast which supplies them with the basic raw material – Cocoa that they need for their processes. So agriculture in itself is not enough but the processing of the products. We have palm oil and still remain the largest producer in Africa having been overtaken by Malaysia and Indonesia.
Basically what I am saying once again is to refocus our energies on other areas of revenue generation away from the traditional mono source. And, seriously we should start thinking of how to put people who understand the issues surrounding what I want to call the new economy instead of recycling tired technocrats who in their frustration have pushed this emergency power thing.
Ripples Nigeria…without borders, without fears