By Ogbo Okolo
I am not used to writing long write-ups but I am compelled to do so today as I can’t keep calm in the face of these challenges facing us all.
The 2nd day in the month of September opened up another vista to our national lexicon.
I won’t term what I have seen as a decision borne out of cluelessness but a decision borne by employees of FGN, these bunch of bad advisers and naysayers.
Our country Nigeria just like other nations have been battling with the effects of Covid-19 which made us to suddenly realize that all those needless medical vacations can be addressed squarely.
Our hospitals started wearing new looks, and medical supplies and PPE’s getting to the remotest parts of the country.
However, while other nations and world leaders are looking for ways to address the effects of the global pandemic, they have well-structured mechanisms of giving back not just to the society but ultimately, individuals who are always ready to sacrifice their all for the survival of this sovereign entity.
I recall our next-door door West African neighbours Ghana (who depend mainly on Nigeria for their power/energy supply) had to give their citizens free electricity tariff for a minimum one month.
But our own Federal Government-led administrators were busy sharing money to their own compiled list of select individuals.
The one that baffled me was the payment of about N500 million on school feeding programme (from April 2020 till date our kids have been at home with no plans of reopening even this month or this year if care is not taken).
We have all witnessed varying degrees of increase from those that have been digging holes in the pockets of citizens.
Is it the VAT on all financial transactions, or DSTV increase in billings/recharge, or the 100% hike in electricity tariff ? (hike of kilowatts per hour of energy use).
Just on 02.09.2020, PPMC (another government agency) shocked us with a new product price adjustment which has been effected on their payment platform (no prior notice ooh) by going ahead to inform us that the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now one hundred and fifty one naira only (N151.56) per litre.
Congratulations fellow citizens and welcome to the real change promised to those that voted for this administration.
The apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently made available a circular cutting Nigerian banks local currency savings interest rate floor peg by two thirds i.e. to 10% of the MPR from 30%.
The MPR is currently 12.5%, implying that the interest rate on these savings accounts falls to a floor of 1.25% from 3.75% previously.
There has been frightening economic forecast about us plunging into recession (we know where we are as our economy saw the biggest decline in 10 years).
Note that this fact was released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as at Monday August 24th 2020.
What exacerbates my fear is not just the economic issues we are confronted with, more so the huge decline in the country’s foreign reserve but the huge number of unemployed youths both in cities and in urban/rural areas who depend on substances that are prescribed to wage war against anxiety, depression and other forms of psychological issues provoking them.
You and ifI know the attendant consequences of this but I pray it doesn’t happen…. Let me mention but a few – expect an increase in criminality, prostitution, substance abuse and high dependence on nonOTC anti-depressants.
I call on those advising Mr. President whom I believe means well for the nation but age and bad advisers have refused to allow him due to personal gains and would do anything to ensure that they keep milking the nation dry to desist from such acts.
I leave them with this quote “Scripture keeps people from being foolish, but sadly fools despise the word of God.”
The solution is not far-fetched but this present administration lacks the will to do anything.
Their problem started when the former Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, was made to resign over forged NYSC certificate forgetting that they stand a lot to gain from this London-trained chartered accountant.
For me, wearing my financial analyst cap, the way to go now is to reflate the economy.
By doing so, the government increases money supply, reduces taxation especially VAT and reverts to the 5% they met when they came on board. (And I ask, have they been able to put to account the Stamp Duty charge of N50 on every deposit made through the banks?).
I also agree with some analysts that most of the DisCos are not meeting up with their financial obligations as and when due .
But my interest is who are those behind/running these DisCos? Get a serious investor to buy them over and retain some percent interest as government’s. On the income realisable from crude oil sales, we should seriously pay attention to non-oil revenue.
They should support the local companies to increase production so as to be able to open more NXP’s for their exports.
Finally, empower NFIU (Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit) the more as a watchdog for those agencies/ institutions fighting corruption.
But NFIU must be made to follow strictly the guidelines for FATF (Financial Action Task Force) to combat money laundering which is key in the anticorruption fight.