By Henry Boyo
The palpable public anger provoked by the sudden postponement of the Presidential and Federal Legislative elections, in the early hours of February 17, 2019, i.e. barely 6 hours before polling should have commenced, may have since become tempered, even though the perceived odium of this ugly incident may linger.
Nonetheless, the question is, whether the ultimately victorious candidate or party, has the passion and capacity to transform and improve our social and economic welfare and, in the process significantly also, reduce the security threat of a restive army of over 90 million Nigerians, who presently live in abject poverty?
In other words, can the victorious party or candidate stem the poisoned tide, which reportedly, currently sweeps 6 Nigerians into poverty every minute?
Incidentally, just as in 2015, the APC and the PDP still remain front runners amongst several other contending candidates and parties, jostling respectively for a 4 year term as President, Governor or Legislator.
The above title, “Will PDP or APC rescue the Economy?” highlights the critical requirements for a strong, inclusive and rapidly growing economy. The article was first published in this column just before the 2015 Election, which was incidentally, similarly postponed for one month, due to reported security threats. The following is a summary of that article. Please read on:
“The 2015 General Elections are barely two weeks away and yet, not even close followers of events, can satisfactorily articulate distinctive differences in the ideology of the two major contestants. Instead, Nigerians have been fêted to a reality edition of a seeming Nollywood dramatization of a “roforofo fight” between two deceitful, self-seeking, gluttonous wives, in a polygamous family, campaigning for the right to manage their husband’s assets for the greater good of all. Ultimately, the embattled husband, like the poor, gullible electorate, will invariably choose an oppressor for another 4 years.”
“Conversely, nations which adopt economic and political systems, which readily induce competitive entrepreneurial spirit and self-reliance, will positively transform their economies. Notably, for example, the imposition of ‘unitary federalism’ which underpins our association as a nation, has obviously failed as a vibrant engine for inclusive economic growth; sadly, therefore, despite our clearly bountiful resource endowment, the strident economic progress and keen competitive spirit which fired the subsisting Regional Governments, before the advent of ‘unitary federalism’ under Military dictatorship, has since, become inexplicably, extinguished, despite a fortuitous huge leap in government revenue.”
“Predictably, our stunted federalist structure will ultimately, sink the liberally patched ship of state and bring untold anguish to Nigerians. Nonetheless, any movement towards the equity of fiscal federalism, may reduce the fatal attraction to hijack the resource rich centre. Undeniably, the glorious years of Regional autonomy brought out the best in us all; arguably however, a self-serving political class, which habitually derives stupendous benefits from our inequitably skewed social contracts is in no hurry for positive change.”
“Furthermore, the 36/7-state political structure is clearly a great disservice, as this selfish contraption has supported an incredible duplication of functions and wasteful application of scarce resources, such that recurrent consumption spending, regrettably, exceeds 80% of total expenditure annually.”
“Invariably, mere lip service is often paid to increasing spending on infrastructure and human capacity building, even when our lawmakers, alarmingly, earn the highest parliamentary salaries worldwide, despite the pervasive, abject poverty nationwide. Nonetheless, politicians of all hues, including PDP and APC will certainly reject any attempt to equitably realign their gross personal emoluments to provide succour to the impoverished benefactors!”
“Furthermore, the accumulated debts politicians incurred during the extended campaign trail must also be repaid, with a handsome profit, while these political officeholders have 4 years to enrich themselves for a lifetime!”
“Evidently, neither APC or PDP has a clear grasp of how an economy works; consequently, the distortional significance of the impact of excessive money supply in an economy is poppy-cock to them. Instructively, nonetheless, with persistently bloated disequilibrium in money supply, any hope or talk of industrial growth, or increasing consumer demand and employment opportunities, or reduced debt burden, with fuel subsidy abolition and new refineries or indeed any promise to diversify the economy would remain just hot air, as faithfully corroborated by serial failures of successive administrations.”
“Invariably, economic success or failure, critically rests on best practice management of money supply, to keep inflation below 3% and induce lower interest rates, while simultaneously sustaining consumer demand, which will drive industrial expansion, with more job opportunities! Instructively, however, clearly, no economy can achieve distinctive economic growth or any form of diversification if, in addition to the burden of oppressive energy costs, industrialists and SMEs are compelled to pay over 20% interest to fund their operations.”
“Consequently, the APC and PDP should explain how, they hope to bring inflation below 3% despite the decades old systemic challenge of the embarrassment of untamable excess money supply, or how, indeed, cheaper funds will become liberalized below 7% across board (i.e. in place of the often abused selective sectorial waivers), so that businesses can thrive.
“It is foolhardy to persist in national debt accumulation, in the belief that, the current Debt to GDP ratio is within tolerable limits. Inexplicably, the high cost of funds presently instigated by CBN’s current 13% MPR (2015), (in place of less than 2% MPR in successful economies) will ironically also attract abnormally high interest rates for risk-free government borrowings and further complicate our ability to service our debts.”
“Furthermore, although, total domestic debts have climbed beyond N14.02tn, with external debts at about $11.41bn (2015), sadly, PDP and APC leaders may not actually understand how these escalating debts evolved; nonetheless, debt service may attract well over 20% of annual budgets ($25bn-2015) for several decades to come and we may borrow to service debts! Notably, however, a significant reduction in debt service values may not favour the cabal and oligarchs that currently control the commanding heights of banking and the rest of our economy. Invariably, both PDP and APC and their leaders certainly enjoy significant support from the beneficiaries of government and CBN’s ineptitude.”
“Similarly, political party finances are also handsomely buoyed by the substantial fiscal leakages from the deliberate mismanagement of public funds that also feeds wholesale corruption, which regrettably, often attracts mere slap on the wrist punishment on discovery. The several opportunities for corrupt enrichment in fuel/kerosene subsidy scheme, for example, currently also cost the federal treasury about N1000bn annually; such contrived leakages also reinforce party strength and solidarity; thus any attempt to restore fiscal discipline, maybe akin to self-flagellation either APC or PDP. Similarly, despite the oppressive distortion caused by Naira’s free fall, the attendant opportunity for rent seeking will prevent any serious attempt to save the Naira exchange rate from further devaluation!!!”