What Is With Standard & Poor’s Rating Deferral On Nigeria’s Economy By Nasiru Suwaid
Despite the evident complication, sophistication and the sometimes seeming nonsensical projections, operating global economy or rather national growth is similar to managing personal finances. Indeed, just as qualifying to obtain a credit or being creditworthy in any village in Nigeria, require not just the capability and capacity to pay back but a robust reputation of solvency and the ability to manage the finances of the individual or organization obtaining the loan facility optimally. In fact, in most of our localities, the norm is to give your daughter’s hand in marriage, to persons who are able to attract loans, because any individual whom the rich could trust with their money, does not require any further assessment and examination, as to be worthy of entrusting him with one’s own representative heir or even initiating and sustaining a business relationship, that is built on confidence, integrity and honesty. In other words, it is on similar permutations, nation states acquire their positive or negative creditworthiness ratings, which is premised on credible assessments of all the fundamentals in an economy, starting with whether a country is able to accountable handle it finances.
It was on the Friday of the 21st of March 2014, through an innocuous statement, the financial and analytical credit rating agency, the Standard and Poor’s stated that it is postponing the publishing of a review of Nigeria’s credit rating, pending the outcome of an appeal launched by the country’s financial authorities. Actually, the country had made the appeal to the very powerful company, for a strategic deferral on an economically defining verdict, in order for it to make more information available to the rating agency, before it is able to make a proper assessment on Nigerian economy. It is important to note that the country’s credit worthiness rating is BB-, that is three steps below investment grade and most importantly, it is a grade considered by most financial experts as exceedingly good and very investor friendly. It was achieved on November 2012, which was at the height Nigeria’s globally hailed banking sector reforms and most noteworthy, it was during the reign of the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s, whose strong supervisory role and leadership in the banking sector, had restored investor confidence in the economy.
One of the principal and main reasons for giving Nigeria a very strong rating and grade, was not merely because of the personality of Lamido Sanusi or even his strong chaperoning of the banking sector but mostly because of the positive national finances though most specifically, the national revenue is being maintained efficiently, as the duo of the suspended governor that is managing the monetary aspect of the economy and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, who is superintending the fiscal sector of the economy are considered as thrifty and financially responsible operators, thus highly intolerant of waste and corruption, that has been a known feature and was a fundamental characteristic trait of Nigeria’s economic governance. Unfortunately for the nation’s economic managers, it is at the time when the country is due for a scheduled reassessment, that it had to fire its chief monetary policy instructor and the reason for his removal, was simple because he had exposed the monumental and criminal leakages in the country’s finances, which is being brazenly perpetuated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, under the supervision and active connivance of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke.
Within the realm of global economic policy projections and need I say analysis, the fact that the individual who raised the alarm has been sacked is not the issue, the fact that the figures he quoted or pronounced seemed to have perpetually shifted or changed is not the matter in issue, the fact that the whistle blowing personality might have had other motives, be they political, ethnic, religious or what not, for starting the campaign against the national oil company and chief revenue earner of the Nigerian government, should not matter at all. What is an incontrovertible fact is the reality that a substantial amount funds had not been remitted to the national treasury and most importantly, the account of the federation has not been reconciled and balanced, regarding what was sold as crude oil and what was recorded as remitted returns. However, the most damaging aspect to the economy is neither the chief monetary policy analyst nor the chief fiscal policy formulator could tell Nigerians, but most especially, the global economic community, what is the true state of Nigerian finances.
The most mystifying part of the whole situation is fact that the country would have to employ Forensic Accounting Experts to tell the nation and indeed the world, what is the actual situation of things in the national treasury. The most incomprehensible part is fact that you cannot cite incompetence, inexperience or even lack of resolve on the personalities managing the Nigerian economy, because times without number, they have been celebrated in the global economic fora, as the perfect example in admirable financial governance. The dilemma that visibly arises is how you can certify such an economy, no matter the quantum of data supplied, when its problem is not in the figures made available but on the public officials who are corruptly distorting the system.
Nasiru Suwaid writes in from firstname.lastname@example.org
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