PART I THE ECONOMY By Emmanuel Gandu ABSTRACT
It is no longer a fallacy that Nigeria is a sinking rudderless ship captained by Muhammadu Buhari with an APC ground, sea, and air crew that have refused to listen to the series of MAYDAY distress calls from helpless Nigerians aboard.
In order to succinctly highlight the stark reality and consequences that have contributed to the deplorable and decaying Nigerian nation, this presentation attempts to be deliberately incisive, measured, and blunt, as it is heavily, and beautifully laced with an array of embroidery of facts, figures, and data.
(a) The man Muhammadu Buhari :
Born in Daura on December 17, 1942 of Fulani descent, Muhammadu Buhari is a retired Nigerian Army General, a former governor, a one time petroleum minister under the Obasanjo military government, a former military Head of State from December 1983 – 1985, and the head of Petroleum Trust Fund under the military government of General Sani Abacha.
In 2015 Buhari at last was for the fourth (4) consecutive time after three (3) unsuccessful consecutive attempts was elected president of Nigeria.
Buhari as a retired military officer, former governor, head of state, was seen to have the capacity to stop corruption, revamp the economy, halt the breakdown of law and order, and other aspects of insurgency. It was not surprising therefore for Nigerians to entrust their destiny to Buhari.
By 2019, Buhari again won re-election with 56% of lawful votes cast for another 4 years as president of Nigeria.
He is happily married (for the second time) to Hajia Aisha Buhari.
He lives a simple austere life characteristic of the typical Fulani.
(b) Buhari’s rising popularity :
So much was going good for Buhari especially starting from his military days as the GOC Jos when he led the Nigerian troops to successfully dislodge the advancing Tchadian soldiers who had encroached into Nigerian territory, even without obtaining clearance from Alhaji Shehu Shagari the then president and commander in chief of the Armed forces.
Also going for him was his fight against corruption, indiscipline, and drug trafficking/abuse. His war against the vices in the Nigerian society otherwise called War Against Indiscipline (WAI) endeared him to both the young and the old, the rich and the poor, and especially the students and labour unions who saw him as a revolutionary leader.
Interestingly, Muhammadu Buhari’s popularity had increasingly and overwhelmingly spread like wild fire not only across the Hausa Fulani northern Nigeria including the Sahel region of West Africa, but also in Southern Nigeria.
This popularity attracted to him complementary and populist names like Maigaskiya (the truthful one), Baba Talakawa, Super Tanker, Mai Ceto (Messiah), Sai Baba, etc. The Buhari brand therefore became a product that was on popular demand.
Little wonder he always had 12 million votes saved in the political bank even before the start of any elections in Nigeria.
(c) The self inflicted eclipse of Buhari :
However, the Muhammadu Buhari that triumphantly rode on the popular mandate of majority of Nigerians to become president in two consecutive terms of 4 years each began to become less and less popular by the day.
Consequently, Nigerians have adduced the following reasons for this failure to Buhari’s door step :
√ Nigeria is flowing with blood and burning by ? fire more than ever before.
√ Fulani heardsmen terrorists kill, rape, burn humans/crops, drive and occupy people’s land un- aprehended.
√ Unending Boko Haram terrorism.
√ Hunger, high cost of living, and hardship in the country never experienced in the history of Nigeria.
√ Banditry, kidnapping, and killings of people in homes, schools, worship centers, farms, and even in military barracks.
√ Relocation of manufacturing companies outside Nigeria.
√ Rising unemployment.
√ Economy in shambles.
√ Increasing agitations for restructuring and secession.
√ Nigerians leaving the country in droves for fear of the unknown.
The gloomy outlook of the Nigerian dilapidating and jaundiced economy may be the legacy that the All Progressive Party (APC) and Muhammadu Buhari will bequeath to future generations of Nigeria. A legacy of an impoverished, bloody, beger, and inept nation, a divided and polarized citizenry, and a failed state.
These are the facts :
(1) Debts and borrowing :
According to Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) the nation’s total public debt rose to #38.5 Trillion as at September 2021. This is largely as a result of the government’s penchant for borrowing. This borrowing spree is raising concern among Nigerians on the debt sustainability of the country amidst dwindling revenue to meet the debt obligations to the creditors. This mounting debts will eventually be a cog in the wheel of progress for future Nigerian generations is a frightening concern, and therefore leaves much to be desired.
Regrettably, the Buhari led APC government is alleged to have violated Nigeria’s Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act 2007. This is so because Buhari exceeded the fiscal borrowing threshold as stipulated by the Fiscal Act and the CBN Act.
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning admitted to this exceeding threshold by Buhari, but defended it on the grounds that COVID 19 was good enough reason to breach the Act.
Meanwhile, Wilson Erumebor, a senior economist at the Nigerian Economic Group, and Vahyala Kwago, a senior Researcher and Policy Analyst at Budgit warned that Nigeria is a case where expenditure keeps rising, revenue not improving as expected, thereby creating a wide fiscal deficit that is majorly financed by borrowing.
Unfortunately, it is a case where government is borrowing more, spending more, and earning less revenue.
This really spells doom for Nigeri’s future.
In order to help Nigeria come out from this fiscal mess, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offered it’s experienced expert opinion. In its 2020 and 2021 country’s report for Nigeria, the IMF warned that Nigeria’s low GDP compared to high debt profile is highly vulnerable to uncomfortable shocks.
(2) Corruption :
Allegations and counter allegations of corruption cases at the corridors of power churns out figures that lend credence to incontrovertible facts and not mere allegations of corruption.
For instance, the alleged missing #3,143,718,976.47 billion traced to the Ministry of Finance for which the Socioeconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is suing Muhammadu Buhari in January 2022 for non – investigation.
This came as a result of the accusations by the Federal Auditor General Office in the 2018 and 2019 audit annual reports that #3.1 billion public funds are missing, missapropriated, or unaccounted for.
According to research by Transparency International, their Corruption Perception Index for 2021 placed Nigeria at 154th position out of 180 countries. This placed Nigeria as the 2nd most corrupt country in West Africa. Nigeria had occupied the 136th position in 2015.
Further more, corruption in government agencies is becoming alarming. For insurance, an audit query mandated the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to refund series of staggering sums of money to the Federal government as products of corruption. These amounts of money include – (a) #40.13 billion, (b) $921.64 million, and (c) £289,931.82 million.
(3) Uncertainty with the 2022 budgetary regime :
Nigeria’s rising debt profile especially debt service to revenue ratio, as well as foreign exchange liquidity constraints portends a gloomy 2022 budgetary regime for the country.
(i) No sooner had Buhari signed the #17.126 Trillion 2022 budget christened ‘Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability’ than he sent a supplementary budget request to the National Assembly for their consideration.
Contained in this request are :
(a) #2.557 Trillion to fund petroleum payment in 2022.
(b) #25.81 billion for the Power Sector Reform Programme agreement with the World Bank.
(c) #1.42 billion for ministry of Water Resources for 2022.
(d) #3 billion for payment of Local Contractors debts and other liabilities.
(ii) As it stands now, the 2022 budget comes with an already mixed baggage of :
(a) #6.25 Trillion deficit.
(b) # 3.8 Trillion to service debt.
(c) # 5.6 Trillion capital expenditure.
All these wth only a paltry sum of
(d) #3.6 Trillion expected oil revenue.
Unfortunately, however, Nigerians are told that the 2022 budget will be largely financed by new borrowings, privatization proceeds, and loans secured for specific projects.
(iii) Going by a communique released by FAAC on Thursday February 24, 2022, many states of the federation are set to face economic uncertainties and challenges in 2022 as the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) shared the sum of#574,66 billion.
This amount is lower than the #699.82 billion disbursed in December 2021.
As explained further, this fall in FAAC allocation is as a result of Federal government plans to deduct #950 billion for the payment of fuel subsidy from allocations due to states in 2022.
(4) Inflation, poverty, and high cost of living :
The scotch of poverty and hunger ravaging the people, high cost of food, goods and services have all climb up to astronomical proportion beyond the reach of Nigerians. Manufacturing companies have taken a first class flight to other safer countries, unemployment has forced millions of school/University graduates to take to crime.
Regrettably too, the World Bank in its November 2021 figures of statistics shows that the poverty rate stands at 42.8% as Nigeria is witnessing the highest surge ever in food – price inflation in two decades, thereby having a long – run consequences for human capital.
Meanwhile, the Muhammadu Buhari led government is yet to fulfill even one of the ambitious campaign promises made to Nigerians prior to their election in 2015, some of which includes building of one new refinery every year their first four years in government. Others include the eradication of Boko Haram within 3 months of ascending power, eradication of corruption, payment of #5,000.00 to every unemployed adult, employment of 30,000 school leavers every year.
Truth be told, the World Bank in its January/February 2022 edition of ‘Nigeria Development Update’ report said that the Federal government of Nigeria did not take any concerted action towards curbing inflation in 2021 despite an estimated 8 million Nigerians below the poverty line.
According to the Washington based World Bank, Nigeria might have one of the highest inflation rates globally in 2022, with increasing prices diminishing the welfare of Nigerian households.
Further more, Nigeria, according to this world bank report, is also projected to have the seventh (7) highest inflation rate among Sub – Saharan African countries in 2022.
(5) Foreign investment in Nigeria (FDI) :
Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria is dwindling due to hostile economic policies, insecurity, corruption, unfriendly business climate, and wrong structural policies. Others include fiscal, monetary, and socio economic policies.
No investor will risk his investment in a ‘chaotic’ situation and environment like Nigeria under Buhari’s watch.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) into Nigeria slumped to its lowest level in 11 years. Accordingly, FDI dropped to $ 77.97 million in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021 indicating a 49.6% drop.
This downward trend had started in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 when foreign portfolio investment dropped by 77.4%.
Further more, these findings have been corroborated by both the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD)
They both agreed that FDI is an integral part of an open and effective international economic system and a major catalyst to a country’s development.
However, Nigeria, according to them has failed to attract FDI’s foreign investment to her local business.
Even the Central Bank of Nigeria in its report of January 2022 disclosed that capital importation into the country fell by 32%.
This, according to the report, was because countries like the UK, USA, South Africa, and others slashed Nigeria’s investments.
(6) Nigeria’s unfriendly business policies – a comparative analysis with Ghana :
It is not a myth that Nigeria is a sinking rudderless ship captained by Muhammadu Buhari with an all APC ground, sea, and air crew that have rejected the series of MAYDAY distress calls from helpless and endangered Nigerians aboard.
In order to succinctly highlight those stark reality and consequences of unfriendly business policies that have contributed to the deplorable decaying Nigerian Nation, a comparative analysis of Nigeria and Ghana will suffice :
(a) Ghana population is estimated at 31 million (United Nations 2021), while Nigeria is projected at 200 million (United Nations 2021).
(b) The fight on corruption and bad leadership in Ghana which was radically introduced by the Revolutionary workaholic fighter pilot president Lt. Jerry Rawlings intermittently 1979, 1981, 1992, and finally ending in 2001 had brought sanity and good governance to that once gold rich Ghana. This progressive trend had been sustained by successive regimes to date, thereby making Ghana the no.1 destination for business, education, and manufacturing amongst others in Africa.
On the contrary, Muhammadu Buhari in his second coming as Nigeria’s leader was popularly elected on the mantra of fighting corruption, insecurity, and revamping the economy.
Sadly enough and unfortunately too, the fight against insecurity is such that the Nigerian military have been so much compromised that they are popularly described as a lame toothless bulldog.
Regrettably too, the fight against corruption by the Buhari government seems to be a fight against only the opposition as indicated by the erstwhile APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole’s announcement that any politician who defects to the ruling APC will be given a grand reception, and “his sins will be forgiven.” In this 2 scenarios presented, any investor would rather prefer Ghana to Nigeria.
(c) Nigeria banned/suspended Twitter operation from 5/6/2021 up till 12/1)2022 because Twitter suspended the Twitter account of one Muhammadu Buhari who happens to be the president of Nigeria because he used offensive language that contravened Twitter community standards.
As a consequence of this ban/suspension of Twitter by Nigeria, the country suffered the following losses :
? Nigeria lost $1.549 billion.
? Twitter headquarters is based in Ghana.
? Nigeria have lost out to Ghana on Twitter and software related jobs, tax revenue, allied services patronage, and international image, etc.
? Available facts and data shows that about 40 million Nigerians are on Twitter and hold Twitter accounts.
? It means that the number of Nigerians who use Twitter are more than the total population of Ghana.
? Despite Nigeria’s numerical advantage over Ghana, Twitter refused to leverage on this big business opportunity but went ahead to locate it’s headquarters in Ghana rather than Nigeria.
(d) Job opportunities by International agencies in Ghana and Nigeria :
(I) Volkswagen commissioned its Ghana manufacturing/assembly plant in August 2020.
(II) Toyota company commissioned some of its brand vehicles assembly plant on 29/6/2021 in Ghana.
On the contrary, Nigeria is busy looking for grazing researves and creating grazing routes for cattle, and employing the cattle policy to decimate her 200 million population.
(e) While Ghana is the headquarters for the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), Nigeria again lost out due to her unfavourable hostile policies despite Nigeria’s huge population that would provide the biggest single market in Africa.
(f) Nigeria is rated as the poverty capital of the World despite being the 7th biggest oil producer in the world.
According to research findings from world reputable organizations including Research Gate (2020); World Poverty Clock (2021); and the SEATTLE based group (2020), more than 50% of Nigeria’s population live in severe poverty.
Interestingly, these research findings are further corroborated by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its own Nigeria’s Living Standard Survey (NLSS) findings released in 2019. In this their findings, 50% of Nigeria’s population live below the poverty line of #137, 430 ($381.75) per year.
Reasons advanced by these research agencies for the poverty in Nigeria include corruption, unemployment, inequality, illiteracy, inconsistent and unfavorable policies.
On the contrary, Ghana is rated highly with a much better performance because the country has a good level of employment, less corruption, relative equality, high level of literacy, and a conducive climate for ease of doing business – thus attracts foreign investment.
(g) Nigeria banned the use of Cripto currency in February 2021 despite being Africa’s largest Bitcoin market by trading volume.
This financial policy decision made Nigeria to lose capital inflow that would have provided business opportunities and jobs to many of Nigeria’s 200 million population.
Ghana, on the other hand, is opening wide its business doors to a rather free market economy in order to boost capital inflow, generate income, and provide jobs for her 31 million population.
(h) In 2019 Ghana ranked 13 places higher than Nigeria in the World Bank Index for ease of doing business. According to this world bank report, ease of doing business in Ghana increased from 57.0 score in 2016 to 60.0 in 2020, growing at an average annual rate of 1.29%.
Ghana was ranked no. 118 in the world ranking list while Nigeria was at no.131.
This ranking is from 1 – 190, and it starts from the best country as no.1 while the worst country is ranked no. 190. In this findings, New Zealand was ranked no. 1, Singapore no. 2, USA no. 6, UK no. 8, Rwanda no. 38, and Libya no. 186.
(i) Google (HOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Huawei are among international Tech Giants that have expanded their operations in Ghana. This they do by targeting software developers and young creative minds.
Regrettably, Nigeria’s 200 million population is unable to get a bite of this technological bonanza.
(j) Global Peace Index, a reputable world research organization in its 2020 survey report ranked Ghana as the 43rd most peaceful country in the world. Unfortunately, Nigeria was ranked at 147th position.
(k) In 2020 Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigeria as the 3rd most terrorised country in the world. Afghanistan is ranked no.1, Iraq is no. 2, Syria is no. 4, Pakistan no.5, Somalia no.6, DR Congo no.10.
Ghana is reputed to be the most peaceful country in Africa.
Watch out for 🙁 Part II Security) next.
Peace ? 17/3/2022