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Nigeria: A Nation that Thrives on Loots

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  • Nigeria: A Nation that Thrives on Loots

If there is anything to be taken away from the current economic recession, it is the fact that the Nigerian economy has been thriving on proceeds from loots, embezzlements and all kinds of criminal activities. It is also obvious that the 6-7 percent economic growth rates recorded during the past administrations were bubbles created by oil boom but sold to the Nigerian people as a sustainable economic expansion.

For instance, when oil price was $107 a barrel, a total of $29 billion out of the $55 billion that was generated in 2011 made it into the foreign reserves. Whereas the current administration has been able to save $33 billion with oil prices averaging $45 a barrel in the last 12-month. Even with crude oil hitting a 13-year low of $26 barrel in February 2016.

The question is, why wasn’t recession during the previous administration even though the foreign reserves was mere $29 billion? The answer is simple, the bulk of what wasn’t saved find its way into the economy through lavish spending, undisclosed investments and bribery, which in-turn help serviced the economy with just enough forex and bolstered consumer spending through loot-sustained manufacturing sector.

Similarly, on JP Morgan bond listing and positive ratings, the Nigerian economy was evaluated based on its oil revenue generation and not economic fundamentals. In 2013, when Nigeria was listed on emerging bond market index, the unemployment rate was averaging 9.76 percent, while inflation rate stood at 8.5 percent, the lowest in 5 years and still new job creation was weak, meaning the decision was solely based on oil revenue without a futuristic growth plan. Hence, the reason the country was delisted after global oil prices plunged by 70 percent and the refusal of the current administration to devalue the Naira to accommodate the fall in foreign revenues.

Accordingly, the banking and oil and gas sectors that were built on proceeds from loot and poor governance hit a rock bottom but not without dragging the Nigerian Stock Exchange market with it. That was another market driven by bogus sentiment. However, it was the global oil glut that burst the artificial bubbles and exposed the nation for what it truly is.

While plunged in revenue started the economic recession, it was loot that couldn’t find its way into the economy due to the ongoing war on corruption that worsens the situation as majority of the fund linked to a series of accused facing trials were in U.S. dollars. Experts like Sharafadeen Tella, an economist has blamed the booming parallel market on their activities, the very reason consumer prices are at a record high and consumer spending and new job creation plummeted.

However, despite all these shortcomings the present administration failed to formulate an appropriate policy to stimulate the economy and curtail high unemployment rate.  For instance, when IMF and economic experts advised the federal government to devalue the Naira, they refused. Until they realized that the external reserves couldn’t sustain the growing forex demands before introducing Forex Flexibility Policy on June 20, 2016 — three days to Brexit Referendum. A period when global risk and uncertainty were at the highest since 2009 economic recession. Therefore, the policy failed as global investors were skeptical of surged in emerging market risks.

Realizing the danger of low capital importation and forex revenue on the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria hiked interest rate by 200 basis points from 12 percent to 14 percent not only to curb advancing inflation rate as announced by the apex bank but also to lure foreign investors to the capital market to supplement oil revenue. This further stressed businesses that were already struggling to meet financial obligations and forced a lot out of business following their inability to access cheap loans or repay previous ones.

Finally, while the recent surge in global oil prices is fueling economic recovery, it will be in futility if the nation fails to successfully diversify the economy and transform from import dependent economy to both export and domestic-product consuming economy.  One, it is unlikely that global oil prices will see the days of $115 a barrel due to the growing campaign against foil fuel and a series of pacts signed by nations to intensify efforts on renewable energy. Two, a mono-product economy like Nigeria may just be having a second chance at perfecting its policy as global oil demand is waning and might get worse over time. Countries like Saudi Arabia are already developing policies to diversify the economy and reduce the effect of oil on their economic performance.

The truth is the most populous black nation, Nigeria is at a critical juncture in history, an opportunity to build a new nation divulge of corruption but economically viable and in sync with the rest of the world or a total disintegration of the entire nation as failure to build an inclusive government as opposed to the conventional centralized government will further aggravate the aggrieved minority clamoring for change across the country and worsen long-term business outlook of the nation.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Government

President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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Iran Set for Presidential Elections on June 28 Following Raisi’s Tragic Death

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Ebrahim Raisi

The political landscape in Iran was abruptly reshaped following the untimely demise of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash over the weekend.

Now, the nation is poised for a significant transition with presidential elections scheduled for June 28 as reported by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume the role of president in the interim, in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic.

This unexpected development comes in the wake of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of Raisi and eight others, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, in north-western Iran.

The government attributed the crash to adverse weather conditions and dense fog in the mountainous region.

As Iran prepares for the upcoming elections, candidates will have the opportunity to register starting May 30.

However, prospective candidates will undergo thorough vetting by the Guardian Council, a body comprising 12 clerics and jurists responsible for administering elections.

The council’s scrutiny is anticipated to be particularly stringent, given the unexpected vacancy in the presidency and the significance of the upcoming transition.

While Vice President Mokhber has assumed leadership in the interim period, it remains uncertain whether he will contest the presidential elections himself.

Speculation abounds as to who will emerge as the frontrunner in the electoral race, with many analysts suggesting that the clerical establishment and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may prefer a candidate aligned with Raisi’s ultraconservative stance, characterized by deep-seated distrust of the United States and Israel.

Raisi’s tenure as president was marked by polarizing policies and events.

His association with mass arrests and executions following violent protests in 2022, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly violating Iran’s dress code, stirred controversy both domestically and internationally.

As such, his passing has not only left a void in Iran’s leadership but has also raised questions about the future trajectory of the nation’s politics.

With the presidential elections fast approaching, Iran finds itself at a critical juncture, grappling with the aftermath of a tragic loss while navigating the complexities of its political landscape.

As the nation mourns the passing of President Raisi, all eyes are now on the forthcoming electoral process, which is poised to shape Iran’s future in the post-Raisi era.

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Iran Mourns: Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian

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Ebrahim Raisi

A tragic helicopter crash has claimed the lives of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, sending shockwaves across the nation and plunging the country into mourning.

The fatal incident occurred in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where the helicopter carrying the two senior officials and several other passengers crashed, resulting in the loss of all on board.

The crash site, now a scene of charred wreckage, stands as a somber reminder of the untimely demise of these key figures in Iranian politics.

President Raisi, who assumed office in August 2021, was widely regarded for his commitment to serving the Iranian people and advancing the nation’s interests on the global stage.

His tenure as president was marked by efforts to strengthen Iran’s position in regional affairs and enhance diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian played a pivotal role in shaping Iran’s foreign policy, particularly in fostering closer ties with neighboring nations in the Middle East, including Arab countries across the Gulf.

His diplomatic acumen and dedication to advancing Iran’s interests earned him respect both domestically and internationally.

The news of their tragic deaths has elicited an outpouring of grief and condolences from leaders and citizens alike, both within Iran and abroad.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep sadness over the loss, highlighting President Raisi’s commitment to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the Muslim world.

Similarly, the European Union extended its sincere condolences to the families of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, acknowledging the profound impact of their untimely passing on the Iranian nation.

The helicopter crash not only robbed Iran of two of its most prominent leaders but also left a void in the country’s political landscape.

As the nation grapples with this immense loss, tributes pour in from all corners, commemorating the contributions of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian to the advancement of Iran’s interests and the well-being of its people.

The legacy of these esteemed leaders will endure in the hearts and minds of Iranians, serving as a guiding light for future generations as they navigate the complexities of governance and diplomacy in an ever-changing world.

Iran mourns the loss of two of its finest sons, whose dedication and service will be remembered for years to come.

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