We Lost N50b To ‘Foreign Exchange’ Policy – Dangote

Dangote Group President Aliko Dangote said at the weekend that his company lost N50 billion to the flexible foreign exchange policy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last week scrapped the dual exchange rate policy, creating a single window for the trade in naira.

Dangote spoke when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo toured the project sites of Dangote Fertiliser and Dangote Refinery in Lekki, Lagos.

Dangote said the $161 million his companies bought during that period from the CBN merely reflected the size of his business and did not represent preferential treatment.

“We have been badly affected like any other company,” he said, arguing that operational costs totalled $100 million each month due to recurring expenses, such as the purchase of parts for cement production and running a fleet of 9,000 trucks.

“When you are talking about 20 billion dollars worth of projects, what is 161 million? One-hundred-and-sixty-one million dollars is what I need in just six weeks,” he said.

“This week (last week), the Central Bank removed the peg that has held the naira at the official rate of 197 for the last 16 months, leading to a 30 per cent devaluation as the currency traded freely on the interbank market.”

Dangote said the decline had pushed up costs. “This devaluation alone, we have lost over 50 billion naira ($176 million),” he said.

“The gas, which is our main source of power, is priced in dollars. If there is 40 per cent devaluation, your price will go up by 40 per cent. Every single aspect of the production will go up by that percentage,” he said.

To Osinbajo, the Dangote Fertiliser and Petrochemical projects are capable of assisting in the government’s drive to reduce poverty through generation of foreign exchange.

He said it was also in line with the Federal Government’s immediate objective of diversifying the economic base of the country as a result of the plummeting of the price of oil, the country’s sole foreign exchange earner.

Osinbajo was accompanied during the working visit to the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals and fertilisers, reputed to be the biggest in Africa when completed, by Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Ministers of Finance (Mrs Kemi Adeosun); Power, Works and Housing (Babatunde Fashola); Solid Minerals Development (Kayode Fayemi) and others. He was amazed at the size of the projects and reiterated the government’s preparedness to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Dangote said the diversification of Nigeria’s economy was long overdue and that one sector that the government can focuses on is agriculture.

He said his investment in fertilizer production was a sure way the diversification into agriculture could succeed because according to him, it will amount to little if focus is directed to agriculture and fertilisers would be imported.

“By the time we complete this project, there will be opportunity to take on agriculture and say bye to poverty, because there will be jobs, no sector has more job potential than agriculture,” Dangote added.

Dangote told the Vice-President that the $12 billion refinery would have a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day. According to him, there will be market for the refined products because only three African countries – South Africa, Egypt and Cote D Ivoire – have functioning refineries.

On the project, he said: “Mechanical completion will be end of 2018 but we will start producing in 2019.”

The refinery, petrochemicals and fertiliser in one spot according to Dangote, is the single largest stream in the world. “This site is the biggest site in the world, the refinery is the biggest single refinery in the world, the petrochemicals is 13 times bigger than Eleme petrochemicals while the fertiliser plant will be 10 times bigger than former National Fertiliser company. The project, with the  $2 billion fertiliser unit  was the funded through loans, export credit agencies and our own equity, Dangote said.

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Understanding Buhari’s Economic Policy Thrust By Jide Ayobolu

A glimpse of the economic policy thrust of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) can be understood, from the presentation at the second national economic council retreat at the state house conference centre, Abuja, 21st March 2016, where he carefully adumbrated, his government’s economic policy direction that would take comprehensive care of recurring economic wounds of the past which have remained with us till the present and bail the country out of the prevailing socio-economic doldrums. Basically, the fundamental objective of the economic policy of the present government is to pragmatically diversify the economic base of the country, through transparency, probity and accountability in governance. As simple as this is, it has been extremely difficult for successive governments in Nigeria to accomplish, although, it is going to take some doings, but it is doable; this government has shown sufficient character and unbending resolve to see the policy enunciations through.

During the retreat he focused on four key areas namely, agriculture, power, manufacturing and housing, however, he explained that he deliberately left out education as well as science and technology because these closely intertwined areas required a whole retreat by themselves. On agriculture, he said that it has been neglected over the years, and veritable government intervention is required in the crucial sector, that if carefully managed, can lead to self-sufficiency in food production, solve the problem of mass unemployment, increase the country’s foreign earnings, and grow our per capita income. In his words, he stated that, “for too long government policies on agriculture have been half-hearted, suffering from inconsistencies. Yet our real wealth is in farming, livestock, hatcheries, fishery, horticulture and forestry”. He further explained the some of the challenges in the sector, such as rising cost of food, lack of agricultural inputs at affordable prices, high cost of fertilizers, pesticides and labour compound the problem of extension services, import of food items that can be easily produced locally, wastages because of the absence of adequate storage facilities as well as lack of feeder rods to transport foods produced in rural areas to urban centres, just to mention but a few of the difficulties encountered in the sector. He also said that, in solving the problem the public must be carried along and educated about the plans of government so that, they can key into it and benefit maximally from it, in addition, he reasoned that, there must be close working relationship between the federal government and the state governments, to really boost agriculture and solve some of the problems in the sector, for example, the massive availability of feeder roads to make transportation of food from the country-sides to the city centers less cumbersome, there should also be the availability of soft loans to farmers with the CBN bearing some of the risk as well as the exigent need intermittent stakeholders meeting on how to move the sector forward. Agriculture in Nigeria is one area that can turn the fortunes, destiny, direction and dynamics of this great country around for the very best with the shortest space of time.

Secondly, President Buhari talked on power, he said in the remain three years of this government the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power has been set for the administration, in the year 2016 alone, two thousand additional megawatts has been earmarked to be added to the national grid, but with the unreasonable and wanton destruction of gas pipelines by the so-called Niger-Delta avengers, it will be a bit difficult to realize this set goal except this nefarious activities of these gangsters stop immediately. The president said despite the fact that the sector has been privatized; there has not been any improvement in the quality of service rendered. Some of the complains in the sector area, high electricity bills despite power cuts, constant power cuts destroying economic activity and affecting the quality of life, low supply of gas to power plants due to vandalization by terrorists, obsolete power distribution equipment such as transformers, power fluctuations which damage manufacturing equipment and household appliances and low voltage which cannot run industrial machinery. In solving these problems, the PMB said, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has a vital role to play to ensure that consumers get value for money and overall public interest is safeguarded, also government will fast track the completion of pipelines from gas points to power stations and provide adequate security to protect gas and oil pipelines; and power companies will be encouraged to change obsolete equipment and improve the quality of service and technicians.

On manufacturing, he president observed that, it grieves his heart that today in the country, manufacturing industries are groaning and frustrated because of lack of foreign exchange to import raw materials and spare parts, but he reckon that, it is just a passing phase that will wade away with time. Some of the problems facing the sector are, inadequate infrastructure, power, roads and security leading to increase in the cost of producing made in Nigeria goods than those imported into the country, high cost of borrowing which the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has consistently hammered on, lack of long term funding, underdeveloped science and technology in the area of research, overbearing influence of trade unions in spite of there importance and smuggling. Some of the solutions identified are that, The Infrastructure Development Fund should be fast-tracked to unlock resources so that the infrastructural gaps can be bridged, provision of more fiscal incentives to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and a fresh campaign to patronize made in Nigeria goods.

In the areas of housing, PMB said that, the housing deficit has been estimated to be in the region of about sixteen million housing units, he noted that the three tiers of government in the country cannot provide the required housing needs of the country alone, therefore, both local and foreign investors are welcomed to participate in the provision of affordable housing units for the country. He highlighted the encumbrances in the sector as including, severe shortage of housing, high rents, unaffordable prices for prospective buyers, red-tape, corruption and plain public service inefficiency lead to long delays in obtaining ownership of title documents. Parts of the solutions are, relevant laws should be reviewed to make the process of acquiring statutory right of occupancy shorter, less cumbersome and less costly; court procedures for mortgages cases should make enforcement more efficient; achieving affordable housing for all Nigerians will require the development of strong and enduring mortgage institutions with transparent processes and procedures; Ministries of Works and Housing should upgrade their computerization of title registration will greater efficiency and Mortgage Re-financing companies should be established to ensure adequate support for mortgage financing.

On the health sector, the president expressly stated that, sound health system is part of the prerequisites for economic development. The sector needs urgent government attention to deal decisively with problems such as; dirty hospitals, inadequate equipment and facilities, poorly trained nursing staff, billions of naira lost in capital fight to medical tourism and litany of other shortcomings.  Some of the solutions are, increase funding to the sector and health centres to improve service delivery, World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO) should be persuaded to increase their assistance to the sector, strengthening public enlightenment strategies in the area of public hygiene, environmental sanitation, stop smoking, better dieting and exercising as well as secondary prevention, that is, screening and early diagnosis of diseases, NAFDAC should intensify efforts to eradicate fake drugs, ministries of health with NMA should deal with the issue of quakes.

It is clear therefore that the president government has a focus of where it wants to take the country to; it has an overview of the general problems and how to pragmatically solve them within a specified time frame. Also from all that the government has done in the past one year, a number of policy directions can be extracted, some of these are,

(1)It is very clear that the government is bent on diversifying the economic of the country, however, this should be predicated on the needs of each of the geo-political zones and attention must be given to areas where they have comparative advantage.

(2)Over the past one year some have that pace of the president, but it is better to be slow and steady; and achieve results than to be fast and make repeated mistakes, resulting in policy somersault and policy reversal.

(3)The government is committed to job creation for the mass of the unemployed youths in the country, especially in agriculture, construction and ICT, this will generate a lot of employment and employment opportunities, poverty reduction, wealth creation and increase the per capita income of the country as well as capacity utilization of industry.

(4)The government has equally demonstrated the capacity to fight corruption in all ramifications, away from the ways the businesses of government were done in the country in the past, the fight should be all-encompassing, as this will reduce poverty, gender development and improve the quality of life of people in the country.

(5)The Federal Government has shown that it is ready to block all the leakages and loopholes in the system, this should be extended to the other tiers of government, spending must be project-specific and people-oriented; not spent on conspicuous consumption and frivolities of any sorts.

(6)This government has also shown that, it is ready to judiciously manage the resources from oil to develop and expand the scope oil sector, especially gas as well as petrochemical and allied industry; indeed all other viable sectors including the SME’s.

(7)This government has through the 2016 budget indicated that, it is ready to fix the widespread and deep-seated infrastructural deficit in the country, to this end therefore, it should closely monitor the implementation of the budget and projects, to adequately oil the engine of growth and development.

(8)The Aviation ministry is working on the modalities to concession major airports in the country to bring then to internationally acceptable standards and to increase the volume of aviation traffic in and out of the country, it should be done with world renowned aviation companies, in the area of international airport management, this will also boost the revenue profile of the country.

(9)This government is ready to use taxation as a viable option to development the country, to this end, all areas in taxations will be covered, also big and foreign companies will be made to pay tax as and at when due, and the funds realized  will be carefully deployed to critical sectors of the economy.

(10)Tourism has also been mentioned by this government as a money-spinner, as well as an avenue to gainfully employ a lot of people, but government should create an enabling environment, while it will largely be private sector driven.

(11)The government is also committed to the accelerated growth of SME’s, with funding from the CBN and BOI, thereby create employment, generate wealth and make the economy function optimally.

(12)Over three trillion naira has so far been recovered by the EFCC from stolen funds stashed away in different parts of the globe and more funds are still coming in, which is kept with the CBN, but the government is determined to spend judiciously in revamping different sectors of the economy.

(13)This present government wants to ensure that, there is a link positive link between economic policies as well as political practices and social conducts; it is this link that will enable the policy direction to have a bearing on the lives and wellbeing of the people on one hand; and form the basis for institutional frameworks and perspicacious organization of the country on the other.

(14)This government has also demonstrated that it wants to further reduce the number of ministries, agencies, parastatals and boards, in doing this, the government should also review security votes and ecological funds to the state governors, as well as monthly allocations to the local governments through the state governments, in the same token, the country at this time of severe economic hardship, can ill-afford continue to pay the national parliamentarians the immoral salaries, allowances, entitlements, emoluments and other benefits they are collecting at the present, they are Nigerians serving on behalf of the people, therefore, they must also make genuine sacrifices, beyond mere rhetoric. Furthermore, the question must be asked, if indeed, the bicameral legislature is still desirable and sustainable at this point of our national history and development? As a result of the prevailing economic crunch, it is not better to have a unicameral legislature that should be reconstituted on a part-time and members should be paid per sitting, this is perhaps one of the ways the country can progressively move forward.

No matter how good and well-intentioned or properly put together an economic policy is, if there is no political will to push it through or translate it into reality, it is as good as not having an economic policy at all. Economic policy enunciation is meretricious without proper implementation. Therefore, the government must have a tracking/monitoring unit, to ensure systematic supervision and coordination of all policies of the government to be well implemented and to be in sync with the expectations and aspirations of Nigerians, thereby taking the country to greater heights of glory amongst the comity of nation within the shortest time possible. The PMB led government has started well and it should not rest on its oars, it should, rather it should continue the rebuilding process, so that, in the not too distant future the country can witness socio-economic and political milestones, the task before this government is to bring the country out of the prevailing economic quagmire, stabilize the economy and the polity, while consolidate on the gains recorded; for Nigeria the most populous black on planet earth, this should not be a too difficult task to accomplish, once, we get the target right, we as a people should collectively work towards it.

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Forex policy: IMF, Others Hail CBN As Naira, Capital Market Appreciates

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) delegation to Nigeria and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), among others, hailed the policy.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a weekly news briefing that the Fund wanted to see how effectively the naira exchange market functions once the new float system becomes effective.

CBN Governor has said the bank expects the naira to settle at around N250 to the dollar after it abandoning the peg of N197 to the dollar it has supported for 16 months.

“I think the announcement yesterday to revise the guidelines for the operation of the Nigerian interbank foreign exchange market is an important and welcome step,” Rice told reporters. “It will provide greater flexibility in that market, the foreign exchange market.”

“As we have said before, a significant macroeconomic adjustment that Nigeria urgently needs to eliminate existing imbalances and support the competitiveness of the economy is best achieved through a credible package of policies involving fiscal discipline, monetary tightening, a flexible exchange rate regime and structural reform,” Rice said, adding that allowing the exchange rate to better reflect market forces is an integral part of that.”

LCCI Director General Muda Yusuf said the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had consistently canvassed the new position taken by the CBN in the past 18 months.

He said the OPS expects an improved liquidity in the forex market, significant improvement in the allocative efficiency of foreign exchange and improved investors’ confidence.

Yusuf said the new policy will enhance the supply of forex to the market from capital importation, export proceeds and diaspora remittances.

He said the policy will also moderate the exchange rate in future as the supply of forex improves.

He said: “The policy is a major incentive to exporters as they will have unfettered access to their export proceeds. Besides, the federation account will benefit from better revenue inflows from the CBN as sale of subsidised forex comes to an end.

On the continued exclusion of 41 items from forex market the LCCI boss canvassed the need for the CBN to review its position. He argued that many of the items on the list are inputs for industries leading to negative impact on the manufacturing sector.

According to him, the exclusion has led to considerable loss of jobs in industries, distributive trade sector and maritime sector. Furthermore he said the negative policy has led to considerable loss of customs revenue, with the capacity to impact negatively on the federation account and fiscal viability of governments at all levels.

He argued that if government fails to retrace its step on this singular policy, the phenomenon of smuggling would be aggravated in respect of some of the excluded items.

Head of Trade and Economics at the EU delegation to Nigeria and West Africa, Mr. Fillippo Amato, commended the policy, saying it will attract huge investments into the economy. He said prospective foreign investors who have been holding on to their funds will be impressed with the new policy and will have no choice but to invest as market forces will determine the real value of the Naira.

Meanwhile, the local currency gained N12, rising from 367 to 355 against the United States dollar at the parallel market on Thursday, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria released the much-awaited foreign exchange market framework.

Forex dealers and analysts said the naira-dollar exchange rate, which closed flat at 367 on Wednesday, started reacting to the new policy following a rise in the supply of the greenback at the parallel market on Thursday.

Traders said on Thursday that the naira would likely fall next week as the country switches to a flexible and market-driven exchange rate policy.

Analysts also said that the naira might slide to a record low when the new open-market foreign currency trading commenced on Monday.

“We are expecting an initial wide depreciation of the naira at the official window, but the rate could stabilise at around the present black market rate of 370, depending on how much dollars the central bank will be willing to push into the market,” a senior trader told Reuters.

However, the CBN has said it is “reasonably optimistic” the naira will settle at around 250 to the US dollar, according to Reuters.

While forecasting that that naira will initially weaken against the greenback following a flotation on Monday, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the local currency would gain significantly over time.

Quoting a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by the CBN governor was said to have noted that the naira would settle around 250 against the greenback.

“I must assure Your Excellency that we are indeed reasonably optimistic that at some point, the rate will settle around 250 naira,” Emefiele was quoted to have written by News Agency of Nigeria.

The letter, which briefs Buhari on the foreign exchange plan, says it could take three to four weeks to clear a $4bn backlog of foreign exchange demand.

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13 Key Things About Nigeria’s New Foreign Policy Guideline

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Wednesday formally unveiled the much-awaited flexible foreign exchange policy that would allow the foreign exchange interbank trading window to be driven purely by market forces.

The new policy effectively removes controls on the naira, allowing increased dollar supply that would help strengthen the country’s weak economy.

CBN governor Godwin Emefiele, said in Abuja at the formal announcement that the new framework would operate a single trading window, to be launched on Monday, with about 10 primary traders, to be appointed by the bank.

Each trader will have a minimum volume of $10 million.

Mr. Emefiele said Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves declined from about $42.8 billion in January 2014 to about $26.7 billion as of June 10, 2016, with average monthly inflows falling from about $3.2 billion to current levels below a billion dollars per month.

Despite these outcomes, the CBN governor said the demand for foreign exchange rose significantly, from an average import bill of N148.3 billion per month in 2005, to about N917.6 billion per month in 2015.

To avoid further depletion of the reserves, Mr. Emefiele said the CBN opted to adopt policy actions to prioritize the most critical needs for foreign exchange as well as maintaining stability in the exchange rate.

The areas of priority included honouring matured letters of credit from commercial banks, importation of raw materials, plants, and equipment, importation of petroleum products, and payments of school fees, and related expenses.

 

He said the CBN was able to stabilize the exchange rate since February 2015, and eliminated speculators and rent-seekers from the foreign exchange market.

“Our Reserves, despite having fallen, is still robust and is able to cover about five months of imports as against the international benchmark of three months,” the CBN governor said.

He said it was time to restore the automatic adjustment mechanism of the exchange rate, with the re-introduction of a flexible inter-bank exchange rate market.

The workings of the market, he explained, would be consistent with the CBN’s objectives of enhancing efficiency and facilitating a liquid and transparent foreign exchange market.

Key highlights of the framework include:

1. The market shall operate as a single market structure through the inter-bank/autonomous window;

2. The Exchange Rate will be purely market-driven using the Thomson-Reuters Order Matching System as well as the Conversational Dealing Book;

3. The CBN will participate in the Market through periodic interventions to either buy or sell FX as the need arises;

4. To improve the dynamics of the market, CBN will introduce FX Primary Dealers (FXPD) who would be registered by the CBN to deal directly with the Bank for large trade sizes on a two-way quotes basis;

5. These Primary Dealers shall operate with other dealers in the Inter-bank market, amongst other obligations that will be stipulated in the Foreign Exchange Primary Dealers (FXPD) Guidelines;

6. There shall be no predetermined spread on FX spot transactions executed through the CBN intervention with Primary Dealers, while all FX Spot purchased by Authorized Dealers are transferable in the inter-bank FX Market;

7. The 41 items classified as “Not Valid for Foreign Exchange” as detailed in a previous CBN Circular shall remain inadmissible in the Nigerian FX market;

8. To enhance liquidity in the market, the CBN may also offer long-tenored FX Forwards of 6 to 12 months or any tenor to Authorized Dealers;

9. Sale of FX Forwards by Authorized Dealers to end-users must be trade-backed, with no predetermined spreads;

10. The CBN shall introduce non-deliverable over-the-counter (OTC) Naira-settled Futures, with daily rates on the CBN-approved FMDQ Trading and Reporting System.

11. The OTC FX Futures shall be in non-standardized amounts and different fixed tenors, which may be sold on any dates thereby ensuring bespoke maturity dates;

12. Proceeds of Foreign Investment Inflows and International Money Transfers shall be purchased by Authorized Dealers at the Daily Inter-Bank Rate; and

13. Non-oil exporters are now allowed unfettered access to their FX proceeds.

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Support FG’s New Grazing Policy, Tambuwal Appeals To Southern States

Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has urged states in the southern part of the country to support federal government’s plan to introduce grazing reserves in order to tackle clashes between herdsmen and some communities in the country.

“Introduction of the new grazing policy, especially in Northern states, is a logical idea since it will restrict the movement of herdsmen to designated areas, away from farmlands and communities,” Tambuwal said in Aba, Abia State when he visited Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Tambuwal was in Aba to flag off road projects executed by the Abia state government.

“I am a Fulani man and I have herds of cattle but I restricted my cattle to a particular location because I need monitor what they eat and constantly check on their well-being in general. I also know the quality of meat, milk and skin they produce after i take good care of them. So allowing them to roam about in far flung areas search of grass and water is inimical to their health and the health of the herdsmen taking care of them,” the Governor said.

According to him, the now that a durable solution is in the pipeline, all Nigerians should support the government to get a lasting solution to the challenge.

On the roads flagged-off, Tambuwal praised Ikpeazu for managing available funds judiciously and for completing the roads.

He said the roads would help to alleviate the plight of the people, even as he urged the people to continue to support Ikpeazu’s administration so as to deliver more dividends of democracy to them.

The roads commissioned include Ehere, Umuojima road (renamed after the former Deputy Governor, Dr. Chima Nwafor), as well as the Umuocham-Umule-Umuehilegbu roads.

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Policy Substitution As An Economic Norm By Nasiru Suwaid

Basically, economic prescriptions tend to be more of an unproven hypothesis, than applied theories, because, unlike in the other fields of scholarly knowledge, economic theories are explained and measured, only on a single particular specimen circumstance, as in the instance, when it is taken and applied in a different community, even though, the economic theory might be of the same nature and having similar characteristics with the original specimen, as in a society test, it could as well produce a different result, as a laboratory that is as vast as a sociological habitat. It simply cannot be aggregated, as if in a controlled environment, typically set up for a projected and objective research result.

In that context, the application of every economic theory is merely an experiment, albeit, an unproven exercise, which on proper application could be magnificently successful, but, it could as well go horrible wrong, upon diligent execution. When projected assumptions do not eventually materialize and for a fact, the reverse of what was expected, could become the consequent result of a good gesture, which had produced the direct opposite of what was the visionary good intention of its initiators.

In fact, it is why economic theories and economic policies are usually applied as a cocktail of measures, which are periodically assessed on what works and what doesn’t, while the successful measures are strengthened, re-enforced and supported, the unsuccessful prescriptions are discarded and substituted with other economic measures, which could be operational on environmental specific basis.

It is why the premier global economic prescription agency, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which before the recent times, it had advocated the adoption of the Structural adjustment Programme (SAP), however, it is now disowning the programme as ineffective and ineffectual, in tackling the development challenges of low income countries, facing the structural balance of payment disequilibrium . Mind you, as a responsible economic development agency, it never proclaimed an apology, for having prescribed wrong policies nor acknowledged the fact of having deliberately acted in error.

Because, it is a needless exercise to undertake, as the same Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) policies, which are about private control of the means of production or to put simply, privatized companies, minimal expenditure spending or less government spending on social services, government should only act as an institutional regulatory agency in business and generally, lesser or smaller government in the lives of the citizenry.

This guiding ideal is exactly the governing constitutional model, upon which the Republican National Party (RNC) of the United States of America (USA) is built, it is also the guiding ideology which every government voted under the party had ruled the country, yet the philosophical belief never pauperized the citizens of the country, nor was it condemned as a bad economic policy. In essence, what am I actually inferring at, it is the fact that no economic policy is bad in every instance, rather, it is when it is applied to a different society or in an inappropriate time, it becomes ineffective and ineffectual, thus a wrong policy for that particular national community.

Now, putting it into the context of the Nigerian economy and most particularly, the economic policy direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) administration, where the government had insisted on the provision of cheap and subsidized petroleum products, for nearly the whole of its first year in office, it was because of the fact, a lower refined petroleum products is directly related to consumer confidence in the population and its capacity to stoke the inflationary trend upwards. It is worth noting that these two elements and economic indicators, when available in lower range and percentage proportion, serve to stimulate economic growth and development.

The fact that government changed the policy, was not because it is a bad economic policy, rather, it is because it had become largely unsustainable, thus highly prone to abuse and self induced compromise by the operators in the refined petroleum trading business.

Take the policy on maintaining the value of the naira, also, it was substituted with a more flexible foreign exchange policy, not because the former was a bad economic policy, which refused to allow the national currency to fluctuate at the prompting of the market forces, rather, the policy was discontinued because of an evident gang up against the currency by speculators and investors, who swore and vowed to undermine it, if it is not allowed to follow the free market equilibrium.

The question to ponder here is, if the value of a national currency is measured by the productivity of a nation, what makes crude oil, which is just a mere 13% percentage point of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to determine the overall productivity of the country, when its price is determined by factors outside the citizens work ethic and productive capacity of the people in the nation .

And this two other things:

RISE IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES COUNTERS RECESSION

One of the most feared and unwanted development indicators is the economic misfortune of a national recession, which is a successive period of two negative growth circles and most unfortunately, it is what is staring the Nigerian economy on the face.

In the case of this country, it was caused by a structural disequilibrium of an initiated economic reform happening in the polity, which has caused a slowdown, almost to a halt in economic activities, basically, because of the structural challenge of none government stimulus spending through late budget implementation and the structural monetary misalignment of the unavailability of foreign exchange for productive and production activities.

But, how can Nigeria get out of the negative economic indicator? It is easily done through sustained and effective budget implementation, which automatically galvanizes economic activities, and when coupled with an aligned monetary policy, through the instrument of a flexible currency management, which incentivizes foreign exchange remittance and investor confidence, it would expectedly boost economic activities and overall wealth creation in the national economy.

CARRYOVER INFLATION AND FLEXIBLE EXCHANGE RATE

It is an incontrovertible fact, that one of the often criticized monetary policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) administration is the foreign exchange management or most specifically, it is the policy banning certain imported products from gaining access to the official window of the foreign exchange market. Thus, it is because of the policy, many imported products have already gone higher in prices and became affected by evolving inflationary trend, as the importers and marketers of the products, have already factored their prices on the black market exchange rate.

Now, all things being equal and if ‘real’ inflation is the basis for the determinable setting of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), would the inflationary trend continue to rise and the prices of goods go higher, because of the reality of a flexible exchange rate, especially as,  the traders have already become used, business activity wise, to a more expensive dollar, and thus, have already factored it into the price range of their products.

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Examining Buhari’s Foreign Policy In One Year By Aliyu Abdullahi

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Economic Policy Management As aA Big Picture By Nasiru Suwaid

This week, if I am to be perfectly honest, my written piece was inspired by what I observed on the Cable News Network (CNN) or if I am to be most specific, it was motivated by what I watched on the Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square (GPS), a well researched and deeply interactive television show and what I read, on the accompanying topic that features as a weekly opinion-editorial on the Washington Post.

The issue this week, sought to explore the reasons for the rise and rise of Mr. Donald Trump, as a presumptive GOP presidential nominee of the Republican Party, why despite the acclaim by the United States of America (USA) and the global acknowledgement of having successfully breached the racial barrier, with the election of African American President Barack Obama as the number one public official, that same nation is now bringing out and presenting a racist bigot as its number one standard bearer.

The highly intellectual and deeply engaging show, tried to comprehend and understand the rise of the celebrated political bully, as a consequent result of him having created the image of being a successful Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the public tiredness with the shenanigans of a typical American politician.

After years of deeply polarizing partisan atmosphere in Washington, where every action or concomitant inaction of the government is as a result of bipartisan differences, the population are bound to be tired with atypical politicians and would most gladly embrace, any individual that projected the image of a business executive, who are known to excel in making profit, getting things done with dispatch but most especially, private sector governance is basically premised on results, not compromises that would seem lethargic, unproductive and counterproductive, but rather, the ability to produce figures and data which must be presented to a highly skeptical shareholders to convince and satisfy them.

It is within this threshold of a public discourse, where Americans are exploring who is to be a more effective, efficient and capable politician, Nigerians began a discussion on the instrumentality of a market environment, what are the boundaries of adhering to its fundamentals, what constitutes an interference in its internal mechanism, what constitutes a distortion to its freedom to set its determinants, what is the placement and position of the regulation to the internal workings of a market.

Could a market solely driven by profit motive, have internal discipline to moderate itself from the profit angle, what should be the position of a politician enabled regulator in moderating the market environment to prevent implosion from within, besides, does a politician have any role in the market environment, at the very least, to protect the general population from exploitation, monopolization and bad market practices.

Generally, markets do not exist in a vacuum, rather, they exist on the grace of the institutional state, which must set mechanisms and standard for the operation of the market, under certain fundamentals which the market creates by itself, though, in some instances or circumstances, a market set a different parameter that endangers the interest of the institutional state.

Take the example of the global free trade, where an industrialist is given every incentive to set up a factory in United States of America, however, because of labour issues and the fact, it is cheaper to produce in China, the industrialist would rather import from abroad than manufacture at home, as the fundamental indices for such market is that it is not better to add value by processing from within or internally, because, profit takes supremacy in market operational terms.

Mind you, the mere fact that company A has moved from point B to point C or it has moved from United States of America (USA) to Peoples Republic of China (PRC), automatically deprives the former, the right to collect revenue and confers on the latter the ability to collect taxes. While it is right to respect the boundaries of the fundamentals of the market environment, politicians do exist to preserve and protect the interest of the institutional state, as such, for a politician like President Barack Obama, what is required is punitive tariffs that seeks to reset the market fundamentals, which ordinarily should be in form of legislations as passed by the United States Congress (USC).

However, presiding in a period of highly partisan environment, it had to take the form of executive measures, as it happened recently, with the introduction of Presidential Directive Against The Corporate Inversion Tax Loophole. The presidential ordinance would slap punitive tariffs against companies that move their headquarters from America, thus, depriving the government taxes, yet, the companies are still operating in the United States market to exploit the local environment.

Ideally, markets or market should be disciplined enough to regulate itself from within, with the established fundamentals acting to guide the market, however, since the instrumentality of the market environment, could be a threat to the interest of the people, who must be protected by the institutional state, politicians must always act to guide and guard the market, through the instrumentality of operating regulations, even though, it can distort a perfect market environment.

Now, let us bring the discussion down to the Nigerian domestic environment, many have argued that it is the distortion of the price fixing in crude oil refining market, which serves as a disincentive for the building and operation of private refineries in Nigeria, that in fact, the day government fully deregulates the sector, allowing marketers the right to fix prices, the scarcity would automatically fizzle out, without any regulatory incentivized government prompting.

I disagree, because, the fact that it is marketers who are to fix prices, does not meant they have to build refineries, as they could still import and make profit, as it is they who fix the prices and it could be as high as it is profitable, more so, trade practices matters in the operation of a market and Nigerian refined oil marketers have an established business behavioral pattern, which is proven that they are only driven by profit motives, not adding value through refining, thus, why should they be like Aliko Dangote, who is building a refinery, despite not having the power to fix prices.

Of course, that does not preclude an upward movement in the price of the refined product, where a government which is borrowing heavily to fund the budget, would feel unable to subsidize the utility of importing the product into the country and transporting it into fuel stations, in an inefficient market environment that is distorted with corruption, where the Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) is hardly accessed on the official price by the majority of the general populace.

In such an instance, upward movement in price is desirable, even necessary, as the Nigerian state of today, cannot simply afford to pay hundreds of billions of naira as subsidy payment, but, the government must never cede the right to effectively regulate, not to fix an unsustainable government price, rather, a price regime and market price that is not driven by the greedy manipulations of the fundamentals of the price mechanisms of demand and supply.

And this other thing:

TRIUMPH OF THE MARKET OVER REGULATION FEARS

Since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  (EFCC), as an interdiction behavioral regulator agency, began the recent investigations into the banking sector of the economy, many have expressed fear over what it would do to Nigerian banks, in terms of affecting and impacting on depositors confidence. In fact, perhaps, it is because of this worry, the Central Bank of Nigeria  (CBN) as the primary financial regulation agency, after examining their books for professional misconduct and operational infractions, have had to issue statement regarding the financial health of the depositor money banks, affirming their liquidity status as sound and strong.

However, even before the confidence boosting actions of the apex bank, although banking shares have fallen down ab initio, dragging down the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All share index (Alsi), by week ending last week and for most of this week, the market sentiment is sounding bullish, as the banking shares surges northwards, eclipsing any fear that Nigerians are doubting the state of the Nigerian banks, in fact, many a financial analyst are of the firm belief, that rather than the regulatory instruments of the institutional state, frightening the marketers into divesting, it merely emboldened them to feel safe, that their investments are being monitored and protected.

Follow me on twitter: @neeswai

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Fulani-Farmers Fracas: The Population, Poverty, Policy & Political Will By Murtala Adogi Mohammed

“Our herd is our life because to every nomad life is worthless without his cattle.  What do you expect from us when our source of existence is threatened?  The encroachment of grazing fields and routes by farmers is a call to war”  (Hame Saidu, a Pastoralist, In Wase Plateau State, (IRIN, 2009).

I keep asking why Nigeria’s leaders and policy makers’ response in relation to farmer-Fulani conflicts has been lackadaisical, vacillating, and halfhearted and why state governors are shillyshallying in tackling the rampant bloodsheds resulting from herdsmen-farmers clashes?

During my expedition, the one I tagged ‘The Journey Across The Sahara’ in February this year, I realized that two major factors attracted Fulani’s attention – availability of water and grasses for their herds…. any other factors are plus.  Spread across the vast dry hinterlands of Northern Nigeria, is a significant proportion of Fulanis (an estimated 13 million) are nomadic, making them the largest pastoral nomadic group in the world, according to wikipedia. The conflicts between Fulani pastoralists and farmers in Nigeria are essentially economic in nature, irrespective of the religious, cultural and political colorations that might be diluted to advance certain objectives.

The pressures on natural resources have caused regular conflicts for survival. Increased in the level of population, poverty, weak political will, lacunae in policies and poor institutional mechanism added flavor to the crises.  Recently in Taraba State suspected herdsmen attacked Dori and Mesuma villages in Gashaka Local Government Area of the State. Residents of Angai and Ndole villages in Gashaka Local Council area of Taraba State have reportedly fled to neighboring communities in the Republic of Cameroon and nearby local council areas after the herdsmen invaded the areas killing scores of persons.

The story of Fulani-famers natural resources conflict is the same from Guyuk and Shelleng communities situated within the Kiri Dam in Adamawa state, that provide fertile land for farming and pastoring to Wanikade and Wanihem communities in Cross River, to the worst hit communities – Riyom, in Barkin Ladi, Plateau state to Ikpanya in neighboring Akwa Ibom  to  Ogbese in Akure North, Ala River in Akure South  of Ondo state to  Agatu communities in Benue and Nasarawa State. The Agatu in Benue and Nasarawa State have suffered endless attacks by the herdsmen

The conflict had been primarily about resource use, damage to crops, blocking of transhumant corridors (Burtali), farming along the valleys and stream/river banks and uncomplimentary agricultural policies by government. However, of the recent the conflict had assumed a dangerous dimension with the infusion of ethnic, religious and political factors into it. Cattle rustling, availability of dangerous weapons, intra-pastoralist conflicts, mercenary elements and dangerous drugs had all added to the combustion.

Rapid growths in our population is a strong factor here, demographically, it has been observed that, as the population grows, more land is being cultivated and less is available for posture; forcing Fulani to migrate and trample on crops cultivated by farmers, which results in confrontations and conflict.

Poverty is also a determinant factor in rural community, and the more the Fulani-farmer crises persist the more the rural dwellers dwells in an ocean of poverty and destitution. The Fulani is in constant struggle over his increased need for access to grazing lands against the expansion of farmland by farmers into corridors traditionally uses by Fulani herders. Farmers accuse the Fulani herders of allowing their animals to feed on still-growing crops and contamination of community’s streams and rivers. The Fulani herders in turn accuse the farmers of denying them access to grazing areas when alternatives cannot be found

On policy ground, The boldest attempt yet at finding a lasting solution to this menace remains the 2014 bill entitled ‘A law to make provisions for the control of nomadic cattle rearing in Enugu State and other matters related thereto’, by the Enugu State House of Assembly that sought to regulate cattle rearing in the state. The bill stipulated that herdsmen who take their cattle to unauthorized areas would be guilty of a criminal offence, and that grazing areas would be marked and any grazing outside the approved areas would amount to breach of the law and punishable under the law.

The grazing crisis is being aggravated by a policy lacunae and absence of enforceable ordinances on grazing land ownership and violations. Central government should know that issues bordering on local community security, safety, development and reduction in agitation for control of resources as well as encroachment of the rights of others are paramount. Also addressing local resistance to state policies is central in resource-use through strengthening of community capacity to manage resources and deal with conflicts.

Speaking in January, on conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, while receiving a delegation from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an organization active in the promotion of peace in Nigeria, President Buhari said that a plan to map out grazing areas would soon be presented to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) as a temporary solution to the frequent conflicts until cattle owners are persuaded to adopt other means of rearing their cattle. I hope this effort would see the light of the day.

On way forward, there is need for mutual agreement backed by legislation on how best to the use community-owned land resources. As a vastly plural society, Nigeria has a potential for conflict. Therefore, interdependent relationships between Fulani and farmers should be promoted through dialogue by state and local government

Secondly, There is capacity (resources) among the locals and all the government need to do is to carefully identify, build and/or improve those capacities and establish networks and coalitions for identifying and mitigating early signals to conflicts at community level. All the affected state should come –up with grazing reserves and land management policies driven by high-level political will and sincere commitment.

Thirdly, in order to prevent re-occurrence or escalation of farmer-fulani conflict and violence, consolidating peace processes and re-establishing trust and confidence among community members is utmost. Federal government through Ministry interior should also initiate, encourage and incentivize community-based mediation at ward level. Community member’s openness and commitment to jointly discuss problems of common interest and develop action plans towards resolving conflicts has been a success in East and Central Africa as a strategy of addressing conflict.

Finally, in facilitating the peaceful co-existence strategy between farmers and Fulani, creation of ‘safe space’ where both fualni and farmers would feel confident enough to acknowledge and take responsibility for their actions and to apologize and ask for forgiveness from their victims is supreme. A strong point worth noting is that, any peace building intervention without a peace dividend component stands less chances of success than one with a peace dividend component. Even if the intervention is delayed to mobilize the necessary resources to include a peace dividend component, the wait is usually worth it.

 

Murtala Adogi Mohammed

mamurtala@gmail.com

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Tracking Buhari’s Economic Policy Direction By Tobi Soniyi

It is clear to everybody of cognitive age that Nigeria is going through a storm economically. Inflation hit 11.4% in February and growth has fallen to 2.1%. At the start of the year, financial pundits projected that businesses will need to brace up and devise means of hedging the inevitability of a weaker naira in 2016. As at the time of writing this article, the naira has continued its unprecedented free fall in value against the US Dollar, trading at N352 to USD1 on the parallel market but remains pegged at N197 to the doSo, when MultiChoice announced that it would not be increasing subscription fees on its DStv bouquets this April, many heaved a sigh of relief. That would be one less cost to worry about in light of the present economic strain. However, some wondered why MultiChoice would make such a decision knowing full well that most of the company’s costs are incurred in dollars and high inflation rates have put enormous finan

In the face of government’s seemingly unclear economic policies, many have said that the All Progressives Congress’ led government does not have a clear vision of how to transform Nigerian economy into one that would benefit most people. I disagree.

While conceding the fact that government has not done enough to articulate its economic policy clearly enough, it is not difficult for a discerning mind closely monitoring government’s actions and inactions to identify the key strategies driving government’s policies on the economy.

Out of many other key indicators, three stand out:blocking wastes through fiscal discipline and control, widening the tax nets and diversifying the economy.

Among these three, the first appeared to have received the greatest attention from the government and would also form the basis of this review.

Beginning with the implementation of the Treasury Single Account which President Muhammadu Buhari said had led to the recovery of over two trillion naira to the ongoing war against corruption, this government is making spirited efforts at blocking wastes and sending a clear signal to those who are still bent on engaging in wasting government’s resources to desist from doing so.

But as recognised by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, the steps already taken and those still being taking must be complemented by routine audit of all ministries, agencies and parastatals.

According to her, there is actually need to strengthen internal audit across government.

She said: “So, in the interim we have agreed to do the presidential initiative on continuous audits which will give backing to the work that we are currently doing and will allow us to extend this work beyond payroll to other areas of expenditure.

“The control framework over finance and spending of government’s money needed to be strengthened especially in anticipation of the approval of the budget, which is an extended budget.

“If we don’t strengthen our controls then there is a risk that money would leak or would be applied to the wrong things and therefore, the ability to go into various agencies without notice and check and do audits and updates to make sure that public money is being spent in accordance with our expectations and objectives.”

Through this scheme, 23,000 ghost workers had been removed from the Federal Payroll and saved the country a whopping N2.29 billion. The finance minister said another 11,000 of such non-existing workers had been detected. This discovery, she explained would also save the country a yet to be determined huge amount.

By auditing payroll alone, government is able to save a couple of billions, one can only imagine what will happen when the audit is extended to all departments.

No one is in doubt as to the importance of eliminating waste. Prior to now, Nigeria was known as one of the wasteful countries on earth. That disgraceful status may be changing.

While Adeosun should be commended for pulling this initiative through, she needs to do more in this regard. She should generate a memo to the President to impress on him the need for public officials to be frugal with public resources. For instance, she should advise the president to issue a directive banning all ministers and other senior government officials from flying first class. The country will save a lot of money from this. Figures released by the ministry reveals that travel was the single biggest government line item from 2012 to 2014, at N248bn for the three years. This, according to Financial Times, is equivalent to an extraordinary 18 per cent of total government spending.

It rings hollow in the public ears when the citizens are called upon to tighten their belt while public officials live in opulence and luxury.

It is delightful to know that the minister is already thinking in this direction. The finance ministry already said it could save N4bn a year from travel costs by negotiating discounted airfares with carriers, or just under 5 per cent of the approximately N85bn yearly average.

“The Efficiency Unit has engaged in negotiation discussions with local and international airlines for discounts commensurate with the large number of ticket purchases made by government annually.

“The savings generated will increase funding available to the government for capital investment,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to Financial Times, the high cost of travel for government officials is unsurprising.

“The Nigerian elite has a taste for luxury travel, shown by the proliferation of private jets in the country,” it added.

Nevertheless, Financial Times believes that If Nigeria’s finance ministry is serious about cutting costs, targeting the government elite’s private air fleets might be a good place to start.

Still, the minister should be bold enough to advise against flying first class or better still she should lead by example by also refusing to fly first class.

Another area the finance minister should look at to block waste is to closely scrutinise what Nigeria doles out to helping countries in Africa. Charity is good, but not at the expense of the people. At a time when Nigeria is finding it difficult to look after her own people, it makes little sense to keep pumping resources into a country like the Gambia.

If we do the right thing, the potential for growth is enormous. Among other measures, we have to declare a state of emergency in employment. For too long, we have paid lip service to job creation. The time has come to start rolling out the job or to stimulate the sectors that will create the jobs.

For those who are losing hope, I commend a report

by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, PwC which said the Nigerian economy could rise to $6.4 trillion by 2050 to the ninth position among the world’s leading economies with policies and programmes aimed at diversifying the economy from over-dependence on crude oil.

At that level of growth, PwC said the country’s economy could potentially surpass that of Germany, United Kingdom, France, and Saudi Arabia before that year.

The report said potentially, Nigeria’s global agriculture exports could take-off at a rate similar to Brazil’s, with about $59 billion in export revenues by 2030.

“Nigeria’s intrinsic potential lies beyond oil and harnessing this potential has become an imperative given the expectations of lower oil prices and heightened competition in the oil market,” the report said.

Based on recent trends, the report reviewed the impact of low crude oil prices on key economic indicators and the real sector, particularly on priority sectors that should be targeted for diversification efforts.

It identified the priority sectors to include agriculture, petroleum, retail and ICT, with the most dominant transmission links to the overall economy.

“Forward linkages to agro-processing and other services such as logistics as well as backward integration to input supply sectors could improve farm incomes, increase employment and improve domestic food security,” the report noted.

Besides, it said value added to oil and gas output need urgent improvement through the diversification within the sector, pointing out that this demanded investments across the downstream sector to develop petrochemicals, fertilizers, methanol and refining, industries relevant in both industrial and consumer products currently being imported in the country.

Country and Regional Senior Partner for PwC Nigeria and the West Market Area, Uyi Akpata, said consumer spending was the largest driver of the economy, accounting for about 70 per cent of gross domestic product, GDP.

He said this was expected to be the boost for the retail sector growth, even as the country’s population continues to expand, with household consumption expenditure projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2030, from $317billion in 2014, about compound annual growth rate, CAGR of nine per cent through 2030.

Akpata said with the country’s tele-density at 107.87, a large population of urban, young people and massive improvement in internet broadband penetration, Nigeria was likely to see accelerated growth of its digital economy.

PwC Partner and Chief Economist, Andrew Nevin, said the review of the business environment of some foreign companies in Nigeria, revealed four challenges, namely corruption, inadequate infrastructure, low skill levels and macroeconomic uncertainty.

These challenges, the report said, emphasized the need for the economic and regulatory environments to be transparent and conducive for business, by simplifying complex regulation and processes, and eliminating the hurdles to a bigger and more productive private sector.

“Significant reforms across the labour market, business environment and fiscal management will be required. A skilled workforce is critical to improving Nigeria’s productivity and efficiency,” the report said.

PwC Partner and Head of Tax & Regulatory Services, Taiwo Oyedele, said a well-structured tax system was important in the diversification of the economy.

According to him, Nigeria needs to ensure sustainable fiscal management that is resilient to the global oil price cycles. Improving tax collection and administration have become imperatives for achieving national growth objectives.

It called for a review of the framework for tax exemptions and advised that approvals should target growth inducing sectors even as the government improves collection.

He proposed that efficiency in government spending has to improve as there is room for substantial savings in capital outlays and operating expenditure across the three tiers of government.

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CBN Illegal Hires: The Recruitment Policy Of ‘Targeting’ By Umar Hassan

The CBN illegal hires scandal jolted everyone.Not that it was anything out of the ordinary to the ears of the average Nigerian but it had an angle never-before-seen.

The ‘unofficially’ official version had fingered one Mrs Chizoba Mojekwu, a former director of human resources at the bank now deployed to Capacity development and IT as the whistle blower. She reportedly got irked by the CBN governor’s move to keep his job by employing the children of influential persons in the APC. Yet some felt the 91 name list had a ‘Buhari’ element to it. Northerners were favoured well ahead of everyone else thereby rubbishing the ‘targeted recruitment of specialists’ and from ‘left out states’ defence issued by the bank.

This ‘school’ believe the CBN governor couldn’t be as daft as to court such unnecessary controversy following the attention the bank was getting from the whole Dasuki saga .Only a directive from above would grow him such balls.

However, the truth remains a privileged few were hand picked and handed jobs they didn’t apply for.The recruitment ‘targeted’ the kids of a minister, a former speaker, a former Vice-President and a nephew of the President among others.This is nothing new if you didn’t move down here recently but the thing is we voted to put an end to it almost a year ago.We voted for change.Change driven by a modest  anti-corruption crusader and man of the masses.

Even before his Vice-President’s ‘1.5 million jobs in three years’ pledge a mere few days ago, he had spoken so persuasively of his plan to tackle unemployment during the run-up to the March polls.Nothing has changed.

A good degree still can’t guarantee you a job unless you are privileged to get a note from the President’s nephew or lucky enough to get thrust a slot offered a minister by someone desperately trying to curry his favour.You get the feeling sometimes, the average Nigerian graduate is being saved the stress of applying for government jobs and waiting for interview dates.The most unfortunate part of this menace is that even if it is eventually curbed, it won’t change the fact that a lot of undeserving and perhaps incompetent hands have been lined up to one day play pivotal roles in nation-building.After the present leaders finish recycling themselves, they will usher in ‘targeted specialists’ to be ably assisted by their likes in running this country down.In effect, we would still be screaming ‘Change’ many elections from now.

The Nigerian Youth voted for Buhari’s ‘Change’ not because he wanted to receive a N5,000 stipend monthly but because he was going to be guaranteed a corruption-free atmosphere to tussle for the jobs available.Buhari was not only going to create them, he was going to ensure only the right people got them.Sadly, we are still here on the same spot.

The Apex bank’s ‘targeted specialists’ recruitment policy has been on for about two years now according to its acting director of corporate communications and when asked about the ‘very important appointees’, he said he couldn’t speak much but that any qualified Nigerian could work for the CBN.But if we have to adopt ‘targeting’ as a recruitment policy, then we must put it to the best use possible.

We must reward the gate man who slaved to put his child through school by ‘targeting’ that child.We must ‘target’ the child of the roadside mechanic that topped his class instead of a Minister’s because it would encourage other parents to send their kids to school where he comes from.

They are lighter baggage who wouldn’t put anyone through the stress of ‘remixing’ their names to deceive the public.Its really sad what we have become.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.

Twitter:@alaye26
Email:uhassan077@gmail.com

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Opinion: Gov. Masari Annual Levy; The Right Policy Or The Good Policy, By Jamilu Mabai

The news broke out a week ago, after the weekly council meeting when Hon Commissioner Ministry of water resources disclosed to news men the decision by the government of RT. Hon Aminu Bello Masari to introduce the annual tax levy for private/commercial motorcycles and tricycle users as a means of revenue generating.

The charges include N6, 200 for private motorcycles, N6, 650 for users of commercial motorcycles and 7, 500 for users of tricycles. Mathematically, users are expected to pay an overall sum of N19.00 (Naira Goma sha Tara) daily which is more than fair enough going by the economic stability of these users despite income differences.

Government policies differs, there are the right policy and the good policy. The right policy might not necessarily be in line with what the people want, secondly, it takes time before its begins to yield back dividends to the society, implementing right policy is the best that could ever happen to a society. Example when El-Rufai began to restore the Abuja master plan, even when majority of the people were against it, but years later people began to appreciate El-Rufai for implementing the right policies against all odds.

Although, users of these motorcycles & tricycles might perceived the new imposed levy on them by the government of Masari as unFAIR, it is with all sincerity, one of the only ways we can begin to generate revenue internally which ought to have been in existing right before now. At the long run, these same users whom pay their annual levy will benefit in many ways which include provision of drugs in hospitals, construction and maintenance of roads for easy commuting, economic empowerment to aid self reliance and many more.

Whereas, good policies provide short term benefits that provide instant gratification for a short period of time. The outcome result is discouraging, it lacks vision but mission only. With the dwindling economy, good policies are in NO way good for us, at this moment of existence.

For governor Masari to  come up with a vision like this, we hope & pray it gets the necessary backing, sincere minds to steer the wheel, great eyes to oversee where loopholes lies and good hands to patch it up.

Lastly, our attitude is our greatest impediment to attaining our full potential as a society, the day we begin to change our mindset positively towards making our society a better place, is the day when we shall begin to succeed as a society.

 Jamilu Mabai

Follow me on Twitter:@jaymb000

Email: jamilisma2000@gmail.com

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