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Nigerian nation @ 57 under Muhammadu Buhari, a BH Analysis

From the buildup of his 2015 general elections campaign that brought him to power, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has harped on fighting insecurity, corruption and growing the economy.

A cursory look tends to show that whereas fight on corruption is looking selectively progressive, insecurity and economic development still leave much to be desired in the faces of analysts’.

On insecurity, containing the excesses of insurgency in the North East is becoming very hard to rate even though the wave of attacks seemed to have shifted from coordinated sweeping model to selective suicide bombings and minimal overnight raids, meaning that their structure in sweeping raids is now weak.

However, Boko Haram is still a big issue especially in the North East as investors are yet to look that direction. The scenario is already weakening a multibillion dollar solar power scheme expected to take off in Adamawa State by some foreign investors.

Still on insecurity, only recently, the agitation for restructuring started gaining momentum but some officials of the government are still not in terms with the need, thus creating serious levels of shocks even in arriving at development polices and development allocations on regional basis.

Elumelu Sanusi
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and the Chairman, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu at the 58th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), in Abuja on Wednesday.

Feelings of lopsided arrangements and misplaced regional inequality started with calls for resource control from where it metamorphosed to restructuring and even self determination and the rest.

Observers say when such feelings are sidelined for too long, the results is always very negative to the economy and collective existence as a nation. Otherwise, there seems to be more feeling of division now than before the 2015 general elections and there seems to be no idea on the side of the government on how the dark cloud can be contained within the shortest time possible.

On the level of progress in economic recovery, yes; recently the economy achieved fragile exit from recession, analysts traced it to steady rise to global oil price than government policy initiatives as there has been no appreciable growth in the real sector.

Key factors hobbling the economy can still be traced to weak infrastructure base and forex issues which have shocked the sector especially with the ban on 41 items which include production inputs in some sectors including the telecoms.

Currently, key growth indicators like industrialization, employment and wealth creation are still in need of spikes to rise.

Even though the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is critical to achieving the ambitious goal of this government in diversifying the economy and attaining a growth rate of 7% by 2020, the Ease of Doing Business, another driving force needed to spike the system has recorded poor results which recently forced the government to think of relaunching the scheme with more involvement of other stakeholders.

According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, “Getting out of recession is only the first step and the system is still fragile”.

As Nigeria celebrates another independence day, the business community sees more promises, but less concrete resolution of existing challenges. Now tougher problems are emerging which include rising population and Naira devaluation.

Analysts say from the economic crunch and rising crusade for restructuring before president Buhari which is yet to agree to the need, there is still more work to do.

This year’s independence however, was a follow up from 2016 as rapid fireworks from the monetary authorities combined with the measures of fiscal engineering to soft land the economy in the second quarter, but the coast is not yet fully clear after all.

Emefiele noted during his remarks at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting penultimate Tuesday that “Economic activity will become more clearer between now and the first quarter of 2018 when growth is expected to have sufficiently strengthened and gained in receding inflation very obvious”.

Udoma-Udo-Udoma
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma

According to the managing director of Cowry Group, a finance pundit, Mr. John Chukwu, “For most Nigerians, the key issues of life and living go beyond Independence Day celebrations and the high sounding macro economic framework and statistics. For the majority, they see a bigger jobless market, shrinking consumer spending with no clear policy to cushion inflationary pressures”.

In the submission of the President of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Frank Jacobs, “It is actually that big when you consider the fact that your economy is contracting, and the contraction means that people will lose their jobs, that is more people will lose their job, that the income of households is also shrinking, but once your economy begins to expand, you will have a very good feeling that the future is looking better”.

Chukwu averred further that there is still much work to do and government right policies are needed and right on time.

He said “Well the potentials have always been there, during pre-colonial times, the potentials was there, they was recognized by our colonial masters so we became major producers of several agricultural products, and at independence we had a base given to us by the colonial administration to grow this products, from palm-oil to rice and cotton and cocoa, and we started well at the beginning, but shortly after that, we fund oil, and everybody got very very soaked or drunk in oil that we thought agriculture has gone out of fashion and that we had enough dollars to buy whatever rice we want to buy or whatever.

Today, the trend has changed and we are staggering to come back to a bus stop we abandoned decades ago,” John Chukwu noted.

In all, the key drivers of every developing economy remains the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), real and service sectors with sustainable polices that can spike interests of deep pocket investors and not just portfolio investors that are currently masquerading in parts of the country.

CBN Godwin-Emefiele
Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The danger of portfolio investors is that they take away their money and exit the economy at a very little shock which will further weaken recovery.

Considering the state of the nation, some politicians have started declaring for presidency, thereby setting a record in the history of Nigeria as the earliest declaration which points to the fact that all is not well with critical issues of a nation