Buharinomics: Right Prescription For A Crippled Giant, By Olusola Sani
The funding of the 2016 budget is the focus of the Buhari administration and for that reason it is not surprising that Abuja has been playing host to several senior officials of global financial institutions.
For a country whose infrastructural development has been floundering under the heavy weight of official corruption, the urgency to reset the national budget couldn’t have been more pressing.
Although the presidency has proposed a whooping national budget of over N6 trillion, but how the government intends to source for funding of the budget has been a major policy discourse within and outside Nigeria.
For one thing, the dwindling price of crude oil in the global market is not cheering news for a country whose major foreign exchange earnings is from crude oil sales. For another, the dearth of infrastructure has also made it somewhat impracticable for local investments to thrive in Nigeria, not to talk of foreign investments.
In other words, much as well-intentioned the Buhari administration is, to bring to fruition the yearnings of Nigerians for a change in the way the country is run, the administration is hamstrung by the problem of limited cash flow – hence, the need to think out of the box and engage some global financial institutions.
For sure, this will not be the first time that Nigeria will seek foreign assistance in financing its national budget. As a matter of fact, it is almost a yearly ritual, including at such periods when the country was making monumental gains from the high price of crude oil at the international market.
But to say that corruption has been the bane of infrastructural development in Nigeria is an understatement. At this time when there is a sharp drop in the price of crude oil, Nigeria should have had no reason to be under any strain had the previous managers of our national economy not abused the public trust reposed in them.
Right now, the popular daily news item in all of Nigerian newspapers is the Armsgate. This is just one, out of the many gates of corruption that was manned by senior administration officials of the last Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government. By the time the subsidygate, pensionsgate and some others of such notorious gates are opened, the mind-blowing revelations of outright treasury stealing would make Nigerians wonder if indeed corruption wouldn’t have flooded Nigeria out of existence, but for the coming of President Buhari.
It is obvious to all that for the first time, Nigeria is taking the fight against corruption seriously. The Buhari administration is not leaving anyone in doubt that every stolen money that belonged to Nigeria will be recovered.
As a matter of fact, the new dimension to the fight against corruption under the Buhari administration is that it comes with a twin advantage. Not only will Nigeria get back its stolen wealth, the international community – especially the global financial institutions – are also reading the trend, and the seriousness of the government to tackle corruption will give impetus to their decision to help the country out of financial conundrum it currently finds itself.
As things stand, the Nigerian economy is playing against the tide in international competitiveness. Foreign exchange is at an all-time hike, local manufacturing capacity is virtually nothing to write home about, and poor infrastructure and lack of it make the country not supportive and attractive to local and foreign investments.
To reverse this trend, the Buhari government has just one option to take. The government must invest heavily in infrastructure and also encourage local investment, essentially to boost local manufacturing capacity.
It is only when Nigerians consume what is produced locally that the Naira can regain its strength in international currency trade. It is only when local investments employ Nigerians that poverty can be reduced in the country and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD) can be improved upon. It is only when businesses survive in Nigeria that the country can expand its revenue net through taxation. These are basic economic principles.
The pertinent question thus is: is the Buhari economic blueprint in line with these principles or not? The answer is obvious. The restrictions on foreign currency expenses will limit how much of our Naira is traded for a Dollar. When there is less Dollar in circulation, there is less foreign consumables coming into Nigeria. With less imported consumables coming into Nigeria, local manufacturers have a higher competitive advantage in the local market, and with that comes the capacity to do more.
So far, Buharinomics – a principle of economic nationalism – is the right prescription of the ailing Nigerian economy and it deserves that we all must support the government in bringing this giant called Nigeria back to its valour.
- Sanni, a journalist, sent this piece from Gwarinpa, Abuja.