No Pain, No Gain, By Sani Garba
I took a friend to a local orthopedic surgeon to mend a fractured limb. Two previous visits were unsuccessful and were actually the cause for the third before this renowned surgeon whose works had received good testimonies in the region.
After 15 minutes of intense examination, which caused my friend to emit groans and sweat in pain, the ensuing verdict was not only a frightening proposition but felt like medieval judgement direct from hell. The old man announced that to mend the limb, he would need to break it again to reinsert a missing piece then realign the bones together before placing the leg in a locally assembled cast. We didn’t invite the patient into this part of the conversation, knowing he would have to undergo this procedure without any anesthesia, but only the strength of the surgeon’s son to hold him down. I now leave you to imagine the level of pain my friend had to endure.
The procedure was successfully completed and my friend retained his leg as against the amputation early proposed in the conventional Hospital.
Do pardon the long story above, which I hope you enjoyed. The purpose is this: in life and more often than not, we are compelled by circumstances to endure seemingly destructive and unpleasant processes and procedures in order to attain permanent and enduring ends. As it is said, the end justifies the means. If my friend did not endure (I accept we forced the choice on him) the pain of the dislocation procedure and the subsequent resetting of the bones in his fractured limb, he would have ended up with no leg at all.
The 67.63% or ?58.50 increase in the pump price of PMS from ?86.50 to ?145 is a painful process toward a journey of mending the Nigeria economy and growing it to a sustainable and enviable levels. I am not going into reminding you that the true cost of purchasing fuel at ?86.50 in the past couple of months was much more than the new pump price. But do remember the nights spent in petrol stations, diluted fuel bought at black markets, increases in the prices of products resulting from the mentioned reasons. The list is long, but we had lived through them. I agree with those who rationalize that so long as the end result brings steady fuel supply and whatever subsidy withdrawn is finally ploughed back to develop the economy, then it is a sacrifice worth making. Yes, I agree and wist to proffer a few more suggestions.
Functional channels of information dissemination like the National Orientation Agency and other Social Media outlets need to be immediately reinvigorated. There is no better time as now for the President to address the nation on the State of the Nation. The 2016 Budget should serve as fulcrum for unfolding and justifying all the policies aimed at addressing the many economic maladies The nation faces. Do not leave Nigerians to the mercy of their imaginations, perception is often greater than real truth. Talk to the people, as often and directly as possible.
Set up a National Asset Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund (NARRTFUND). With the 2016 Budget Strategic Implementation Plan already unfolded, the President could use the opportunity to inform the nation of his plan regarding the recoveries being made of the looted assets. It may take a year or more for most of the assets to be fully or substantially recovered; the Government will gain accolades by unveiling a strategic plan to put the funds to direct and specific development projects. I suggest the setting up of the NARRFUND, the legalities of which may take sometime to establish. Now is the best time to spread the news as national morale has been scathed by the sudden increase in fuel prices.
Our dear President needs to come out guns blazing against the current economic tides with the same gusto he is fighting this fantastic monster called corruption.
Introduction of palliatives for political fiats only such as the purchase and introduction of refurbished vehicles could grossly abuse workers collective psyche, and is therefore not advised.
The next bold and necessary thing is to restructure the entire civil service in both the federal and states. The gains of the Public Service Reform attempted during former president OBJ have been substantially eroded in part by policy somersaults, but mainly due to non completion of the reformation programme to 100% level as conceptualized.
Shrink to 60% the Public Civil Service workforce. Split the 40% into two groups and redirect one to an Elite Agricultural Programme to be set up for the purpose. I’d suggest a drastic scale down in the sizes of our two legislative chambers, but I won’t. Certain things are better left not done. The complexity of the Nigerian State demands an all-inclusive engagement at the Federal level at all times; not to do so would create a problem greater than any planned financial savings.
The second group disengaged from the service should be prepared for high-end entrepreneurial programmes directed at skills acquisition and business strategies. Remember that over 60% of our annual budget goes into sustaining the workforce. If 40% of the funds saved through down-sizing in the first two years are channeled to fund the foregoing programmes, the economy would be the better for it while providing life employment to the disengaged persons. I’d gladly elect to be a participant in the Elite Agric Programme.
To further support and ensure the success of the programmes, funding can further be drawn from the interests earned on the contributory pension funds, the accruing excess crude oil proceeds and, of course, the NARRTFUND.
Sometimes in order to relocate to another position, dislocation becomes inevitable. Happy events, like the rebasing of the economy, sometimes come unexpectedly, other times, like now, the situation is painful but necessary to ensure the attainment of a long-term permanent succor.