Recession: open border, fix bad policies, governance- Nigerians
As Nigeria officially plunges into its second wave of economic recession in five years, and ordinary citizens bear the brunt of high prices of goods and services, some Nigerians have made bold suggestions to government to reopen the nation's land borders for resumption of cross border economic activities. Our correspondents captured the excerpts:
PRECIOUS EDWARD: A second recession in five years under the Buhari-led administration speaks volumes. For Nigeria to get out of this ugly situation, it needs to practice true federalism whereby states would be independent of themselves. That way, there would be economic revival.
Corruption is the bane of our development as a nation. The government should fight this curse holistically. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should be independent from executive interference and manipulation to be able to bring corrupt individuals to book.
The government should enact policies to enable businesses to thrive. They should also create an enabling environment to foster trade between countries of interest.
DANIEL AKHIDENOR: Nigeria as an entity and sovereign state is suffering from bad policies and terrible governance. Apart from the malady that ensued from amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates in 1914, the federal system of government in practice is highly engrossed in parasitism and undeniably encourages economic laziness. Recession is not accidental but a collection of human excessiveness; ranging from bad governance, corruption, mismanagement, draconian policies, wrong priority etc. The way out of this quagmire is as follows:
Restructuring: Nigeria is practicing pseudo-federalism. True federalism empowers all regions or states to produce and send certain percentage of their proceeds to the centre. But in Nigeria, reversed is the case. When you allow a faulty system like ours where states are waiting for allocation from Abuja for monthly expenditures viz: capital, recurrent and the likes, what do you expect? The constant refusal to restructure Nigeria will only liquidate the country as it is currently witnessing.
Reduction in cost of governance is another way out. Nigeria's budget has been a shadow and false claim of projections difficult to achieve, because of the unnecessary variables that are inimical to core development. The cost of governance in Nigeria is devilish, extremely high and self-destructive. Nigeria is practicing bi-cameral legislature, House of Representative and House of Senate. The cost of sustaining National Assembly and maintenance of Presidency are far higher than what we have for capital projects.
Any budget where recurrent expenditure is higher than capital expenditure is doomed. For instance; 2021 budget, the cost of welfare, travelling, feeding, estacodes, welfare packages, overseas training, new vehicle purchase, office upgrades is astronomical and disaster-prone for a country that is mono-economy like ours. How can you be borrowing to pay salaries instead of embarking on projects that will enhance the wellbeing of the citizens?
JOSEPH OKWORI: Economic situations are like any other situation. If you are to face a situation and you want a solution, the best solution stems from what caused that situation. The first situation Nigeria is having now is that of very poor management of the economy. The experts in whose hands the economy has been entrusted are actually not economists.
We have not used an economic view to be able to manage the economy. What we have done is concentrating on accounting management of Nigeria. We are concentrating our energy on revenue generation and expenditure. Most times, some of these expenditures are not even being tailored in the direction of development. Our expenditures are being tailored more in management of individuals and their selfish interest.
In addition to this economic mismanagement, is corruption. Monies have not gone to the areas that they have been targeted. The monitoring and followership has not been effective. That is one. Two, because experts are not managing the economy, they have not been able to weigh the implications of the decisions we take. And most times, all the decisions that have been taken, especially recently, have been more or less political than economical or development-inclined and this is the challenge we are having as a country.
In other counties, they knew the level they were before embarking on the total lockdown of their economy. You cannot come and lockdown a Nigerian economy that is struggling. For the number of days, weeks, months that the Nigerian economy was locked down, you don't expect us not to slip into this situation.
So we must develop a Nigerian model of our own policies. Foreign models that we are adopting do not go well with us because the peculiarities of our behaviours and the thing that surround the statistics of Nigeria are not the same with those of foreign countries. So developing homemade models is very important for us.
We need to look at areas we have comparative advantage to concentrate on stimulating production and the areas where we don't have that advantage, where it is going to be cheaper for us. We need to open the borders in those areas and allow those goods that will develop our economy to come in.
SHUIABU JOSEPH: Nigeria is going through recession as result of bad governance and lack of planning. As you can see, since the government came into power it shut down the borders nothing is coming in. They are also politicising things. Borders in the other parts of the country are shut down whereas some in the North are functioning. Borders are shut and this has affected the economy.
Why is it that it is only during President Muhammadu Buhari government that we face recession. This means he needs to re-strategize. He should sit down and look at it very well. The price of food items has skyrocketed. Rice that is a staple food is about N36000 compared to minimum wage of N30,000 which some state governments have not been able to pay. Economically, things are bad. All these men are graduates but no Job. We have become cab drivers. Government policy has not helped the masses.
SUNDAY OCHIGBO: government should go back to the drawing board. It should go back to what former leaders were doing to keep the economy afloat. The insecurity in our country has made farmers unable to farm. The middle men that buy food from farmers no longer have a market. For instance, fish sellers who transport fish from Maiduguri no longer go to buy goods for commercial purposes.
This and other factors have led to recession. In the past when government was doing well, foreigners came to invest in our country, but they are no longer coming because of insecurity.
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