Who Needs These Doomsday Prophecies, Anyway? By Salisu Na’inna And Cassidy Madueke
One cannot but wonder why there are such negativity by the industrialized West in their perception of growing economies like Nigeria. They keep churning out outright lies, half-baked truths and unsubstantiated reports.
A case in point is the recent Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) report on Nigeria which is basically saying that the outlook for Nigeria in the near future is bleak and blurry. The report predicted gloomily that PMB will not win next year’s election, Nigeria’s economy will continue to struggle between this year and 2022 and that there are no fundamental structural reforms to propel the economy to a better growth.
The EIU report is devoid of any iota of credibility. This is because it did not state how its authors drew their conclusions. If they conducted a research, the question is when, where? who were the sources of their data, what was the methodology used? Their speculation on the likely status of the Nigerian economic situation from 2018 to 2022 has no basis. What indices and factors were used to assess and draw the negative model in their speculation?
The report ignored the ongoing public financial management reforms that deepened accountability; emphasised fiscal discipline and raised capital spending from less than 12% to more than 30% in the past three years of this administration. The spending on infrastructure to support the economy is unprecedented within the time scale it is happening.
One other outcome of the reform is the cleaning up of the public sector payroll involving the Civil Service, the Military, the Police and other agencies. Ghost workers were detected and removed from the Federal payroll, the biometric data of authentic employees compiled.
Corruption is now being tackled vigorously, with hundred convictions and recoveries of billions of dollars removed illegally from the Treasury.
The introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has brought out otherwise hidden billions of Naira to the attention of the authorities. The whistle-blowing policy of the government has added bite to the process of the public financial management reform.
The fiscal sustainability plan for sub-national governments has contributed in greater fiscal discipline in the states.
The regime of continuous audit has helped in the reduction of fraud, frivolous expenditure and financial recklessness.
The world noted and applauded these reform measures, but not the EIU because it is incapable of engaging in rigorous research to ensure that the information it sells to clients is accurate, truthful and scientifically compiled.
Contrary to speculative arguments and therefore bogus conclusions, credible leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, China and other major economic powers came to Nigeria and signed many economic cooperation agreements. They did so because they have more accurate, authentic and unbiased knowledge and information about this country, its true economic trajectory of growth after exiting recession as testified by both the IMF and the World Bank.
Political stability has many colors: stability of regimes, stability of the geographic entity in the form of a nation state within internationally recognised borders. Functional political institutions and their stability, rule of law and other factors that enable businesses to thrive profitably exist in Nigeria.
The EIU report about the economy today, its direction tomorrow and the speculation about the country’s political future is spurious, false and based purely on fake assumptions.
Furthermore, the Economic Intelligence Unit report failed to apply the use of modern day forecasting techniques but rather used naive projection in its forecast and analysis which undoubtedly did not take sincere cognisance of uncertainties, variables and flexibility nature of economic activities and performances, particularly the likely/anticipated forward movement of the economy which the economic policies’ implementations of President Muhammadu Buhari administration will most likely usher in.
It imperative to note that the present administration has tirelessly formulated and consistently implemented fundamental policies and structural reforms, bilateral and trade agreements with most of the world’s leading economies, which positive impacts are already being felt in all the sectors and are capable of propelling the nation’s economy to higher growth as well as sustaining the growth beyond EIU’s stated period.
Undoubtedly, the report in our opinion, lacks an iota of intelligence, accuracy, reflection of the reality on ground and should be completely ignored.
Salisu Na’inna and Cassidy Madueke writes from Abuja.