The Perils Of Non-inclusive Growth By Nasiru Suwaid
Since the termination or rather, the eventual defeat of the last People’s Democratic Party (PDP) administration, from the involved and electorally rejected officials of the regime, to the many a merely curious analyst or researcher, have openly pondered and wondered on why a government, which has performed wonderfully, at least within the realm of economic management, was asked to leave office, so close to the time it was hailed by all and sundry, as having rebased the Nigerian economy to become the biggest in Africa.
For the spokesman of the former ruling party, it has been a constant remainder to everyone, that the regime which we just passed, if for nothing else, it has achieved something on financial management, in fact, the former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who superintended the country during the period, unexpectedly, joined the wailing wailers in the season of open lamentations, when he congratulated two of his former officials in Akinwumi Adeshina and Arunma Oteh, who had recently became elevated with an appointment, at the World Bank as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB).
In the Letter of Felicitation, the former Nigerian leader, while congratulating the pair, glowingly wailed that if for nothing else, his administration constituted one of the best economic teams by a Nigerian government, because, were it not, the world financial institutions would not have been poaching on such great individuals, to help prosper global economic growth and development. That very statement and the many instances of contradiction in the Nigerian situation, made me, not to wail back at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), that despite everything else, the Nigerian people still rejected you, in spite of your visionary management.
But rather, to seriously examine, whether that deep down within the realm of psychological analysis, the Nigerian people are not stark raving mad bunch of a community, which could gladly reject a government that sought to economically prosper them, just because of the mere mantra of change or the oft repeated accusation of defrauding a gullibly population, a kind of collective hypnosis of a whole communal national state, with a simple wording called ‘change’.
As I was struggling with from where to start, a report on the Channels Television gladly caught my attention, it was reviewing the President Muhammadu Buhari, 100 days administration, most particularly, what was achieved or otherwise, on the energy sector, the caption of the report, harped on the need for the new government to set a clear policy direction. However, it was the interview by energy industry players which was most interesting, because, they were unanimously highlighting the need for a deregulation of the upstream as well as downstream sector of the economy and glowingly extolling the likely benefits to accrue for embarking on such a process.
Unfortunately, most of the narrative in the television presentation, sought to compare the privatization of the telecommunication sector with that of the oil industry, as if the price of making a phone call or browsing the internet, has ever been a driver or determinant of general economic confidence, consumer confidence and have grave effect on consumer purchasing power, as while a sharp fluctuation in the price of fuel, affect those key economic indicators, a movement in the price of communication hardly influence the aforementioned economic enumerators.
Indeed, many of the commentators highlighted the probably investment benefits, that the energy sector would attract upon deregulation, in fact, one of them dreamily sermonized, on how the old and ageing pipelines could be changed, to become more effective in transporting the raw material crude to the refineries. Though, what he never knew was that as per last week, more than sixty thousand (60,000) jobs were lost in the British petroleum industry, principally, due to the low price of the product in the international market, which is serving as a disincentive for investment in the sector.
The fact that a sharp rise in the price of fuel, in a nation struggling to have a consistent power supply, would have a devastating impact on the of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), thus creating more unemployment by default, causing the heightening of an already highly unsustainable inflationary rate, negatively influencing consumer confidence and general business climate, more so, in a season of reclining Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, does not seem to have bothered the petroleum industry expert.
Also, in such an environment of desperate poverty, seemingly created by a deliberate government policy, even if you set up a pipelines products industry, at the route of the crude oil pipelines, nothing stops the outlining communities breaking such pipelines and stealing the crude, after all, even new pipelines could be damaged and destroyed, as all it needs to be done is sufficient motivation, more so, in an economic theoretical state, where the nation state has been weakened and delegitimized, because of a perception that it only exist to exploit the poor for the profitable enhancement of the rich.
It is very simple answer, the reason why the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was rejected at the polls, despite rebasing the Nigerian economy to become the biggest in Africa, in spite of the celebrated high growth rate achieved by the government, notwithstanding the creation of a new set of billionaire entrepreneurs that have been striding over the African continent with business proposals and the often repeated international acclaim by global financial institutions.
It is what the head of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic team had been pontificating about, since his assumption into office, what Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo had been speaking on, which is the acknowledged fact of non-inclusive growth in the successful failure in economic management of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Perhaps, due to the fact of him being an eminent legal scholar and jurist, who could understand the correlation between desperate poverty and the criminal justice system and indeed, general adherence to the rule of law and the probable social cost of insecurity and lawlessness, where few get excessively rich at the expense of the vast majority of the citizenry, it is why a population would enthusiastically reject a government of positive economic achievements.
And these two other things:
HOW TO BREAK THE TERROR BARRIER
It is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary which defined terrorism as; “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal” this effort is achieved through intimidation and creation of a debilitating state of fear, not just on ordinary civilians but on even membership of supposedly chivalrous armed forces. It is what has became of the Nigerian military in recent past, it is what could make its former spokesperson, Major General Chris Olukolade, to erroneously and inappropriately call soldier’s wives as cowards, as if it a thing of a shame for a woman to exhibit acts of fear.
It is what made the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah to ‘dishonorable’ threaten to use a koboko cane to beat off protesting wives of Nigerian soldiers, it is dishonorable because of all the professions created by man, only lawyers and soldiers are tagged ‘gentlemen’ calling, yet, it is from this elevated breed, its leadership would glowing go against that most sacred African tradition, which is explained with the adage; ‘a true gentleman should never violently lay his hands on another man’s wife.”
It is that state of terror, which could make the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, to literally dance naked on the market square of Chatham House, when he washed the dirty linens of the Nigerian military in public, calling his men as unwilling fighters and cowards. Unfortunately, that was the image of the Nigerian soldier in the recent past, until just recently, when Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai became the Chief of Army Staff and the reign of fear became tilted against the mindless insurgents, who have became the cowards that runaway from the Nigerian military, where military leadership lead from the front.
While many Nigerians have started nominating President Muhammadu Buhari as their Man of the Year, for the former military general and new Nigerian president, were he to be the one doing the nominations, his choice would never pass Buratai, for saving the legacy of a critical national institution.
IMF ‘NEW’ PANACEA FOR GLOBAL SLOWDOWN
About two weeks ago, most usually though unusually, as part of its effort to confront and tackle the global meltdown in commodity prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came out with a recipe formula, which when adhered to by the financially challenged third world countries, it would aid them to weather the current storm of global economic slowdown.
The prescriptions were simple as they are three in number, which are that the countries should further remove subsidies on social services, increase taxes and privatize most government services, of course, the next thought that crossed my mind was whether the document, contained the social cost or implication of the sudden adoption of such poverty inspiring policies, it did not. I was so angry with what I read, that I did not know when I began mouthing what was in my mind, asking publicly, what kind of a heartless human being would inflict such a solution, surely, it must be a white man who had never known deprivation or even been to Africa, somebody sitting beside me in the library said, for what we know he or she could even be a Nigerian.
I was shocked to say the least and quickly demanded an explanation, which he gladly obliged me, when he told me a story of a certain Mrs. Arunma Oteh, who is now a Vice President at the World Bank, who during her tenure as Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, had a million naira single meal at the expense of the tax payer, in a country where seventy percent of its people lived on less than two dollars in a day, which many a Nigerian struggled to comprehend or even situate, some called it corruption but it is not, rather, it is just irresponsible public official conduct and she was just as recently, rewarded by the Bretton Woods institutions with an elevation, to make the kind of policies I am complaining about.
Then the chap looked at me directly in the eyes and said, these are the type of Africans, who make developmental policies for the people in the continent, now, do you still wonder why Africans are still poor and the region have remained underdeveloped.
Follow me on twitter: @neeswaid