I often wonder why, when China devalue her currency, the almighty USA cries “BLUE MURDER.” And even threaten “TRADE WARS.” Or perhaps why the Japanese currency is twice as worse compared to the US Dollar vs. the Nigerian Naira. Yet the Japanese are smiling and the almighty USA doesn’t seem to like that smile.
But when Nigerian currency devalues, only Nigerians cry.
The answer, Nigeria has a different economic pattern and economic activities compared to China and Japan.
You cannot have a “Mono Economy” that’s totally dependent on crude export for external revenues and imports almost everything else for her citizen use.
Any economy in this category will definitely be hurt by Exchange Rate differentials – Yes! Foreign Exchange Rate fluctuates like wild FIRE!
But what do you make of a society that’ll travel from Lagos to Paris just to get Ice Cream. Make it trend on Social Media and sing a hit song about such useless expedition. You think you’ll not have to pay for such madness?
The exchange rate differentials will definitely come for your head and your economy too!
I don’t even want to argue about how you can have a complete meal in Nigeria for 500 Naira or $1 while a coffee at Starbucks cost $6.
To me, this comparison/argument is not worth the conversation because it only makes clever comparison without profering solutions.
THIS IS WHAT I THINK!
Nigeria is not a rich country. You can argue about this all you want! But before you write your response to my assertions, I’ll like you to pounder on the following;
Assuming Nigeria extracts 2,400,000 barrels of crude oil per day at $60pb. Now multiply the dollar figure and share it amongst 200 million people to see what that amounts to per person per day – then you’ll understand how poor we are as a country.
The above analysis doesn’t consider the cost of exploration and other biz/logistics expenses or what accountants call OPEX.
Yet you’ll see that we don’t even earn $1.5 per person per day. How poor can a country be?
Remind me again. What’s the yardstick that measures the extremely poor? $1 I think, is that correct?
Nigeria must move from being a 100% oil exporting country and begin to create value in other sectors.
We get it wrong when we keep calling for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Nobody will bring FDI into a country where civil servants are openly asking for pasentage share of the FDI, blatantly asking for kickbacks and even asking for stake in prospective businesses.
We need more than a call for FDI, We need a people that are engaged in economic activities that creates value – I’m talking about Economic Values that’ll directly benefit Nigerians and also attract foreign customers.
Discussing the solutions I’m considering will require a bigger space. Maybe I’ll talk about the other options Nigeria can utilize in subsequent epistles!
Corruption: A Parasite That Retards Collective National Development – Mukhtar Garba Kobi
It is unarguable true that the problem of corruption has being in existence since time immemorial. Corruption is frequent in each and every society and it happens almost everyday. It has several shapes as well as various effects but that varies from one society to another, it deals with subverting public fund, etiolating morals, defalcating staff’s benefits, absurdifying tax & fines, political misconduct and decadences in spheres of human endeavours.
The wound of corruption has eaten deep down the flesh and melted in veins of fellow countrymen. It usually starts from home between husband and wife, mother and children, down to entire society. It generates a lack of transparency and a lack of control by supervisory institutions, corruption paves way for a non transparent functioning of social, political and economic sectors.
Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in position of power or followers which typically involves bribery. According to Morris (1991), corruption can be seen as the illegitimate use of power to benefit a private interest. It also entails offering of bribe to an official so that the truth of a situation will be hidden. It covers the embezzlement of public funds for personal use, giving a token to scale a course by students, offering some amount to skip paying actual fine to security agents and any act that is considered to be criminal in nature which is contrary to the laws enshrined by code or constitution. In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second most corrupt nation in the world out of 91 countries, second only to Bangladesh.
Recently in 2019, Transparency International ranked Nigeria as 146th out of 180 countries surveyed on corruption with 26% corruption index. This reveals that level of corruption has mercilessly stabbed Nigeria deep to a state of unending stupor.
Furthermore, corruption retards economic growth of a country, slows down business operation, blocks employment opportunities and halts investors from foreign countries in investing. The wider society is persuaded when the gravity of corruption is high, the executive arm of government tends to not bring policies and programmes for development, judiciary will then be chocked with angry and money egocentric judges which makes citizens lose confidence in them.
The legislative arm can then be taciturn and passive by not passing bills that could reduce burdens and dilapidated infrastructures. The level of corruption in Nigeria hurts a lot of people as money which supposed to be used in purveying developmental projects to better lives is channeled into the pockets of selected few.
The sad part of it is that the current Nigerian government and the ruling party turned to redemption camp; where corrupt labeled politicians absquatulate to it, then those charges on them are being dropped unquestionably.
The stain of corruption did not spare anti-graft agencies that are saddled with the responsibilities of antagonizing corruption, as the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Ibrahim Lamurde was accused of fraudulently diverting one trillion naira recovered from corrupt convicts by the commission (Adeyemi, 2016). Recently, the embattled Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu was also accused of corruption, diversion of recovered loots, insubordination and abuse of office which led to his unexpected suspension as the Acting Chairman of the commission. This is unimaginable as those appointed to fight corruption in the country are also found to be guilty of the same problem they are suppose to be fighting for.
Laconically, corrupt related malfeasance varies from one country to another, in most developing countries; the cases of corruption are usually common. Some causes of corruption includes GREED which has led to major crisis in almost all developing countries and in Nigeria in particular; Leaders that garnered too much wealth still quest to remain on power because their money ego is insatiable.
Secondly, UNEMPLOYMENT; Youth that are the strength of the nation are unemployed, the hike of idleness triggers many into internet fraud (cybercrime), sexual harassment by male managers in companies in order to reinstate female staff.
Thirdly, POVERTY; According to international standard, which states that a person is said to be poor when he or she lives under $1.25 (which is equivalent to N475) per day, poverty has pushed many into thuggery, cybercrime, and other heinous acts in order to better their lives.
In fact, corruption is a multidimensional process, it benefits the giver of the bribe, the receiver and both are aware of the consequences while others are doing it unknowingly.
Some countries have recorded great success in dealing with corruption, such that anyone caught the repercussion is to be liquidated or life imprisonment.
There are several ways to curb corruption and they includes; Reinforcement of moral compass in which government should help parents in by rewarding honest citizens whether adults or teenagers, also by declaring free education, free healthcare, taking under age persons that are found guilty to rehabilitation homes, etc.
Similarly, leaders can help in fighting corruption by serving as good example to citizens; this can be achieved by judiciously applying stipulated punishment to anyone irrespective of whoever he or she is. Thirdly, making anti-graft agencies or commissions independent from government control, by giving them the wherewithal to charge all whether in ruling or opposition parties.
Lastly, citizens should be allowed to have access to information concerning country’s finance, this will help in enhancing accountability.
In conclusion, if these steps are sternly taken and applied the preponderant cases of corruption would be eradicated and lastly become history.