Call for urgent mechanisms to rescue situation
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Monday, expressed dismay over alleged poor management of economy following the recession that struck the economy at the weekend as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
Speaking with Vanguard they expressed divergent views about the current hardship Nigerians find themselves and also made recommendations on how best the recession should be tackled to reduce its impact on Nigerians.
It will be recalled that NBS, on Saturday, released its report on Gross Domestic Product numbers, indicating that the nation recorded a contraction of 3.62 per cent in Q3 of 2020.
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Nigeria being run on self-inflicting economic policies — Atoye
The Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “As long as Gen. Buhari continues to run Nigeria in a self-conflicting manner, in which parochialism trumps competence and where his policies and actions are largely influenced by ethnoreligious sentiments, our country can never get out of the woods.
“Nigeria has been oscillating on the sidelines of recession since the last quarter of 2015, and it has now twice gone into this economic abyss, without any significant roadmap for progress and prosperity, meaning that we are not solving our problems.
“No nation is totally immune from economic tragedies, but only nations with wise and competent leaderships know how to get their countries out of problems and build back better prosperous economies because problems are meant for human beings to solve, especially the leadership.
“Nigeria has the potential and wherewithal in terms of human capacity and resources to be a leading economy and global player, but it lacks the coordinating leadership to effectively do so and that is all that we need to get sail on the path to economic prosperity.
“For our country to get out of this biting economic recession, the best of Nigeria (in terms of human capital development) must be harnessed and put forward to solve critical problems, and we have them in abundance waiting to be called and deployed for the country and the people.
“We need to overhaul our over-bloated system, truly diversify our economy and run a lean and transparent government where the majority of the people and not the present few, are the greatest beneficiaries of government.
“The delay in restructuring Nigeria is at the peril of the country, except we restructure and make every component part economically viable or responsible, we will continue to sink deeper into an economic quagmire.”
Looting of the economy must stop — Ene
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, said, “We have seen the Auditor General’s report of 2017, over 200 units in parastatals have never rendered account and more money is being given to them despite that they have not presented themselves to be audited. What doe s that really mean?
“I thought the budget is to check and say you spent money and you didn’t spend money on what we gave you money for. Checks and balances supposed to be in place and sanctions meted out to those who are guilty.
“We have so many cases in court that are not being heard against many people and we are not really following up with punitive measures on those who commit a crime. So transparency and accountability are things we have to be serious with because billions of Naira are been held up because of corruption.
“What the government is going to do about it? They need to do now is to get committed Nigerians to take up responsibilities, and those who are there already should be made to work and looting of the economy must stop, and we also hold people accountable, where you have palliatives, monies getting into people’s accounts and are not afraid of COVID-19 that supposed to be the leveler. The issue of ‘I Pledge To Nigeria My Country’ which all political leaders pledged to are not keeping their words.”
Corruption, mismanagement, and waste must be eliminated — Rafsanjani
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, said, “Set up a competent economic management team and mandate them on real economic recovery plans – such plans that will aim at proffering strategies to encourage local manufacturing and reducing importation, not knee-jack approaches like border closure and an outright ban on some products.
“Engage practicing private sector practicing business experts (not politicians) to evaluate our monetary policies in the short run and proffer some interim economic investments that can guarantee some level of sustainability in the economy.
“Part of the economic team should look at is the analysis of the effect of the ease of doing business policy on the manufacturing sector and the on how much it has changed. What is the implementation trajectory or was it just a political point scored that never saw the real change in practice as envisaged?
“Government should now. More than ever give attention to priority spending. Frivolities and high allocation on the cost of recurrent should be highly discouraged at the moment.
“All strategies to curb leakages in the revenue should gear up now such as TSA, GIFMIS, IPPIS, and others.
“Finally, the issue of corruption, mismanagement, and waste must be eliminated for any sound economic recovery.”
Nigeria has no leadership, but ‘bandits’ over the years — Eholor
The Founder and President of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, said, “It is an unfortunate circumstance Nigeria finds herself, you deserve those who govern you, unfortunately, we have never had the opportunity to choose who governs us.
“We have never had leadership in this country just ‘banditry’ and ‘bandits’ who call themselves leaders instead of them refer to themselves as an emperor.
“The only way we can salvage this situation is to straighten our institutions and if possible to have a retroactive law to try every corrupt civil servant and politician, including Service Chiefs, and others, which is to introduce death sentence or life imprisonment for those who have stolen our common patrimony and recover the money they have stolen and put that money into infrastructure, health sector, education sectors and other public interests, and also to reduce the number of churches and mosques we have in this country.
“Unfortunately, most of them have become merchants of misery, I, therefore, suggest we borrow a leaf from China and Rwanda, if we follow suit a better Nigeria is possible. Don’t forget the trademark of President Muhammadu Buhari that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us.”
Cut unnecessary expenditures on VIPs — Dama
The National President, RIMAN, Peter Dama, said, “Government should reduce unnecessary expenditure on overheads, for example, on travels; entertainment, purchase of new vehicles; equipment that can be serviced; Award of over-invoiced contracts; bogus expenditures on VIPs; Reduction on salaries and allowances of National Assembly members and unnecessary political appointees, blockage of fraudulent financial leakages on government revenue.
Stoppage of capital flight particularly on the foreign exchange through the importation of luxury goods; Good company taxation where profitable businesses will pay in their taxes when they are properly accessed.
“Discourage smuggling of goods into the country that will destroy our production and deprive Nigerians of gainful employment. Stop corruption or reduce it to the barest minimum. Invest in revenue-generating ventures. Invest in the development of the countries agricultural sector.
“Explore the possibility of exporting our mineral and agriculture products to earn foreign exchange. There should be fairness equity & justice in all that we do. Armed robbery; banditry should be checked as it discourages direct foreign investors from flowing into the country.
“Conscious efforts being made to develop our infrastructure, for instance, education; transportation & energy supply, provision of adequate security through the safeguarding of lives and properties.
“There should be honesty; justice and fair play in all both from the leadership and followership in our actions in the nation. Those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy must be knowledgeable and honest in their duties.”
Nigeria’s recession has been a protracted problem-Ndu
President and Founder Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria, PMNN, Yahaya Ndu, said, “In economic terms, a recession is normally described as a business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity.
“In other words, a recession is a significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months, normally visible in the real Gross Domestic Product, GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and others.
“A recession is also said to be where businesses cease to expand, the GDP diminishes for two or more consecutive quarters, the rate of unemployment rises and housing prices decline, and others.
“The situation in Nigeria is strange and to my mind recession does not truly describe what is going on in our economy. To start with unemployment has been on the increase for decades now.
“Prices of housing have been on the increase steadily for decades and likewise decline in economic activities. As to what I think we should do, and there is a saying that is said to be from Uthman Dan Fodio, that: Conscience is an open wound. Only truth can heal it!
“The first thing to my mind that we should do is to begin to tell ourselves the truth and the first truth is that we have been lying to ourselves for decades.
“The second truth is that we must begin to produce the things we need in this country and stop this importation madness where we import virtually everything we use.
“We should ask ourselves why the Ajaokuta Steel mill is not yet running after decades. Why is it that during the civil war of 1967 to 1970 we were manufacturing many things that we needed in this country but the reverse is the case today?
“Why is it that technology was invented in black Africa but we, the most populous black nation on earth is looking elsewhere for all our technological needs.
“More than thirty years ago I tried to organize a Nigerian Indigenous technology fair and have consistently sought government approval and collaboration for it without success.
“We must link up our technological brains at home and in the Diaspora to develop a Nigerian Indigenous Technology Revolution blue print and begin to follow it to become the technology giant that we have the potential for.
“We must realize also that whatever we want to do, and security is key. We must stop living in denial and fix our security challenges. Give all sections of this country a full sense of belonging. Kill nepotism and tribalism.
“Above all we must stop sacrificing national interests on the altar of partisan politics.”