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Another round of bailout for states? God forbid (2)

BAIL-OUT

The first part of this series appeared last week after the Federal Minister of Finance reversed herself by announcing that the Federal Government was again considering a bail-out package for the states. Even, before writing last week’s column, it was clear that advising governments in Nigeria is just about as useful as talking to a wall. They ask for “all hands on deck”; but they take cognizance of only the hands closer to the corridors of power and whose vested interests must be protected at all costs – even if the people pay dearly for it.

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BAIL-OUT

Another round of bail-outs for states? God forbid

The same Chinese have been known to derisively refer to a person or government saying two opposite things at the same time as someone “speaking with forked tongues”. The Federal Government of Nigeria has been speaking with forked tongues with regard to fresh bail-out for the states, who despite a previous botched bail-out, are still in financial turmoil. Irrespective of political party in power, all the states are in various degrees in trouble. Even Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, is feeling the pinch badly.

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File: Buhari during the 2016 budget presentation to the National Assembly.

Forget the 2016 budget; it’s no longer realistic(2)

The news report then went on to mention various individuals making the suggestion. It is the sort of report which makes one to wonder if it is intended to be taken seriously or as a joke. But then, one is reminded of the Hubert Humphrey, 1911-1978, late Vice President of the United States, who in Madison, Wisconsin, on August 23, 1965, left the world with the gem: “The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.” The experts were wasting their time for several reasons. But before going into those reasons, it is vital to remind Nigerians of a new phenomenon in our economic landscape.

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President Buhari

Forget the 2016 budget: It’s no longer realistic

The 2016 budget should be thrown into the waste paper basket. It can no longer serve as a guide to what citizens can expect of the Federal, States and Local Governments this year. The Finance Minister’s admission, two days before the President addressed the world on his first year in office could not have come as a surprise to economists, finance experts, accountants and even those who have a good grasp of simple arithmetic and can think deeply. If ever there was a budget that was doomed even before it was written, the 2016 budget was it.

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NEW FUEL PRICE—Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, briefing newsmen on the new fuel price, yesterday, in Abuja.

Consequences of N145 per litre fuel – 2

The vague promise by the Minister of Information, of 600,000 jobs which will be created by the fuel price increase which was received with skepticism on these pages last week, provides an appropriate point of departure for today’s discussion. We have had seventeen fuel price increases since General Gowon became Head of State and moved it from six kobo (6k) to eight kobo and a half (8.45k). Then, as now, mounting subsidy payments was said to be responsible for the increase.

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FUEL5

Consequences of N145 per litre fuel

Lai Mohammed, Information Minister, NATION, May 17, 2016, p 6. In the report by Yusuf Alli, Yomi Odunuga and Vincent Ikuomola, all senior editorial staff of the paper, the Minister also pointed out that “Government is not about popularity. There are times in life you have to take a very hard decision and this decision is for the long term and benefit of everybody.” Fortunately or unfortunately, the three journalists were with the paper in January 1, 2012 when Jonathan’s government increased the price of fuel from N97 per litre to N141 – an increase of 45.3 per cent. Each of them should be able to recollect what he wrote in response to that announcement. Lai Mohammed, then the National Publicity Secretary for the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, also should go and find out what he said in 2012.

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BAIL-OUT

Federal government faces reality on bail-out

“…every Nigerian is now sober. The governors have realized now that this can happen and that oil prices can plummet from $100 to $28 within a short period of time, and that we can be so exposed that we can’t even pay salaries…”So there is a sobriety that has come in. So, we are working with the states and we are not bailing them out. We have said to them that we have a fiscal restructuring plan…”Whatever we are doing will be conditional. Mrs Adeosun, Federal Minister of Finance, May 5, 2016.

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BAIL-OUT

Bailing out states: FG’s exercise in futility

Readers would permit me if the APC spokesman is not identified. He is a long term associate and one of those who have helped me as a columnist in the early years. Like Shakespeare, 1564-1616, “I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vainness, babbling drunkenness or any taints of vice” (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 103). But, that far I will go and no further.

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File: Buhari during the 2016 budget presentation to the National Assembly.

Economic Conference: An afterthought too late to rescue budget 2016 (1)

NOTE: This article was written on March 8, 2016, two weeks after it was announced that President Buhari had agreed to organize an Economic Summit. Even then, it was clear to some economists that this government was not really interested in the summit. The summit failed to take off on Thursday, March 10, 2016 as scheduled and no new take-off date had been established. Obviously, there is no commitment; only an attempt to silence critics of government.

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Prepaid Meters

“No” to protest against tariff increase

Most of our Fellow Countrymen (“How many fools make up Fellow Countrymen”, asked Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, in despair) are emotional and unrealistic. Less than one tenth of one per cent understands the basic principles of economics. Most of the leaders, drawn from the same pool of people, are not different. Even those among the leaders who understand the principles of economics lack the moral courage to tell the truth when issues pertaining to economics become contentious. They choose to play to gallery by telling the “masses” what they prefer to be told instead of telling the truth which might be unpopular.

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Geregu power

Killing discos; commiting national suicide

Like most Nigerians, I consume electricity and receive all those bills, about which everybody complains, and the services are not satisfactory. But, unlike most Nigerians, five DISCOs, two in the North and three in the south, provide me services. With one pre-paid metre, four estimated bills, popularly called crazy bills, are received and paid monthly. I don’t have shares in any DISCO and I tried my best to discourage friends wanting to invest in DISCOs when the last administration slated them for privatization.

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File: Buhari during the 2016 budget presentation to the National Assembly.

Can these figures and budget illiterates run a government?

It ain’t the things you don’t know that cause the problem. It’s things you think you know that ain’t so. Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882. VANGUARD BOOK p 117. President Buhari must have entered into the GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS for taking five months to assemble a cabinet of less than fifty people and about thirty Special Advisers, noise makers as he called them.

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Mr Godwin Emefiele answering questions  during his screening by the Senate for  Central Bank Governorship in Abuja on Wednesday

Soludo vs Emefiele: Pot calling kettle black

Professor Chukwumah Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank, CBN, was in his elements a few weeks ago, when he declared that the current CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, turned the bank into an ATM machine for the Jonathan administration. The imports of that statement are numerous; but, two would have struck most readers who are no knowledgeable about the role of the central bank in any nation.

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