Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Help Liberate Nigeria’s Economy, By Abubakar Muazu

business state growing up concept.

The Nigerian economy is an enslaved economy. This is at the heart of the travails it has been going through and the continued suffering of the Nigerian people since the recession of 1978. The enslavement is, in one breath, a victim of the incorporation, like most so-called developing countries, of the global capitalist system. That system was configured primarily, and even beyond that, to serve the economic interests of the United States of America and Europe. If any country outside that circle was able to free itself, it was a result of steely determination to self-liberate from the hold of that organised value expropriation arrangement.

For Nigeria to be economically free, it has to take a path, a steely path of deliberate obdurate resistance to the enslaving economic system that has continued to hold it captive to foreign interests. It is not going to be a one-off battle, but a series of difficult battles, against strongly conscious, organised and determined internal and external brutal forces ready to virulently keep Nigeria on its knees. It is important to keep eternal vigilance when waging such a war for liberating Nigeria’s economy. It needs to be realised that it must be a battle of commitment with unwavering determination and an unshaven faith for victory.  Nigeria holds the promise of being a great and unshakeable economic, cultural and military power in the world. Its economic travails are directed towards ensuring that it does not ever reach this status in the world.

While it is common knowledge, to critical and discerning minds, that the IMF/WB economic template has continued to be used to hold Nigeria down economically, it has been made possible by the conniving ruling elite – politicians, technocrats, some civil servants and so-called private businesses. While the economy can be redirected and liberated, Nigeria will have to contend with the self-serving colluding internal forces that consciously and destructively pursue their own interest at its expense. The colluding internal exploitative forces have consistently been having their way while Nigeria continues to asphyxiate economically.

The neo-liberal economic template foisted on Nigeria and accepted by internal subversive forces pretending to serve Nigeria’s economic interest have ensured that manufacturing, power supply, national air and shipping services, etc. have collapsed and remain dead. Phraseological sophistry of “government cannot manage businesses”, “the private sector is the engine of growth” and “government should only regulate the economic environment” have been popularised and presented as the only options for the revitalisation of the Nigerian economy. Yet, the reality is that the so-called privatisation of the economy has not yielded the desired “economic growth”.

The few so-called private operations are proving to the Nigerian people that local production is never designed to bring economic succour to the people. Instead of service, exploitation is the name of the game. It defeats every sense of economic logic that the government acceded to a power supply arrangement that is “irrevocable” and provides for “yearly increase of tariff” irrespective of the quality of service – whether erratic or no service. Again some private businesses ensure that their goods/products are based on fluctuating, but upward prices, never down in all situations. The private sector gets preferential treatments in terms of so-called tax holidays and special waivers. But since profiteering is the preferred option, despite these incentives, the prices of goods produced in Nigeria remain at sky-high levels.

One wonders at the reported profits by banks on yearly basis, yet the economy has failed to get traction in production and earning so-called foreign exchange, the organised instrument for keeping developing countries in economic servitude. As a non-Economist my imagination leads me to believe that the profit declared by the banks is an outcome of economic investments, not just financial investments, that supports manufacturing industries and exports. Yet, it is not so. The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, since the introduction of the structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), has been complaining low production capacity and poor electricity supply. So where did the banks “invest” to be declaring huge amounts of money as profit while the Nigerian economy remains stagnant?

It is strange that the acclaimed economists, from the IMF/WB, have failed to get Nigeria out of its economic difficulties despite the (nationally injurious) access that they have to the Central Bank of Nigeria. They have failed to engineer internal production and the promised economic development. Instead they continue to make Nigeria and Nigerians to work for the Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling. Thus, the Naira is subordinated to the Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling as all sale of crude oil is denominated in the Dollar. Thus, to buy Nigeria’s oil or any other raw materials all America or Europe had to do was to print and bring Dollars, Euros or Pound Sterling. For Nigeria to buy anything from these countries, it must pay for it  in the currency of “Western” countries; not the Naira. This must change. How come that Nigeria has oil and other raw materials to export, but are valued in foreign paper? That paper is made stronger in terms of value than the commodities exported from Nigeria,?

Some government agencies have continued to demonstrate that Nigeria has the capabilities and capacities to earn money. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (IRS) have been collecting revenues that keep increasing from hundreds of billions to trillions. Although they do announce these revenue collections, where do these funds go? Are the revenues being remitted into the Federation Account wholesale or was the reported remittance of N16bn from over N900bn become the norm?

There is a culture of allocation of funds in the budget to different ministries, agencies and commissions. The budget, despite the economic difficulties has never failed to be presented and appropriated. But it seems, in many instances, like pouting water in a basket. One notes the budgetary allocations for the execution of projects, monitored by civil servants, which have consistently turned out, in most cases as mere phantoms – no public funds, no project. More money spent, nothing changes and all challenges remain the same. The economy remains stagnant.

How do we liberate Nigeria’s economy from these and other cankerworm? It is amazing that Nigeria is experiencing, what is called, Dollar scarcity. It is not only the Dollar that is seemingly scarce. The Euro is scarce. The Pound Sterling is scarce. Forex is scarce. Why is it that the Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling, become stronger whenever, in the few years of “democracy”, when monthly federal allocations are done, these currencies become stronger? Is there an economic explanation for this phenomenon? Let the economists, accountants and business managers/administrators help us to liberate Nigeria’s economy.

Prof. Muazu is a lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria

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