- 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.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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