By Sonny Iroche
NIGERIA’S EXTERNAL DEBT TO REVENUE RISES BY 400 % IN 10 YEARS – “SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI-(A FORMER GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA)” – NATIONAL ECONOMY NEWSPAPER
If going by the publication of the Economy newspaper, the statement credited to Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is authentic, then Nigeria is back to square one; and Nigerians should braze up for an excruciating hardship, under debt burden, with no commiserate infrastructure and increased productivity (GDP) to show for the huge debt. Nigeria remains a highly consumer country.
In the coming financial quarters, one can easily predict that the Naira will suffer further devaluation, the economy would witness stagflation, high rate of unemployment, that would give rise to increased crime rate.
Economies are not run by wishful thinking. God in His infinite mercy has given Nigeria, more than her fair share of resources, both human and minerals. But what have we done over the past years with all the resources? We have gradually and systematically been engaged in steady prodigality of squadamania and kleptomania.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during her tenure as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, created the Excess Crude Oil Account (ECOA), in which the excess amounts over the benchmark budgeted crude oil price were to be managed in order to cushion any unforeseen adverse effects and ever present predictable economic down turn. But the hawkish Nigeria Governors Forum , who were more interested in laying their hands on the funds, headed to court and obtained judgement against this well intentioned savings policy of the Federal government.
Now, as a result of our profligacies of the past ten years or more, the chicken has come home to roost.
It is however, not too late to ameliorate the impending economic catastrophe, if we have the political will to do the right things and address some, if not all of the followings:
1. Implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference
Some of which include but are not limited to:
• devolution of power from the central government to the geopolitical regions
• reduce the humongous size of governments at both State and Federal levels
• create an enabling environment in the country for businesses to thrive
• address the ease of doing business in the country
• do away with multiplicity of taxes. Also reduce taxes, particularly to the manufacturing sector and increase taxes on luxury items.
• emphasis and if possible ensure that all government ministries, departments and agencies patronize Made In Nigeria goods and services, such as the automobile, foods, and textileindustries etc, in order to conserve scarce foreign currency
• policy consistency. Have a regime of predictable and stable monetary and fiscal policies. Avoid policy somersault and frequent changes.
• publish the monthly allocation of the federation account to LGA, States and FGN
• publish for public accounts, the sources and uses of all funds accruable to all tiers of government.
• increase budget and ensure that are annual budgets across the federation are skewed in favor of capital expenditure in a ratio of no less than 70% Capital and 30% to recurrent expenditures.
• tackle head-on and be seen to be tackling insecurity and militant insurgence in the different parts of the country, especially in the Northern part of the country and most recently, the East
• Above ALL, review the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) with a genuine purpose of restructuring the country to its true Federal Republic status in all ramifications.
Our “To Do List” is inexhaustible. But let us begin