Let me say thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari. My commendation is not the wrong information the likes of Lawretta Onochie, one of Mr. President’s advisers, tries to make Nigerians swallow.
It has been a tradition that in every government, some people would elect to take the job of court jesters and clowns and make sure they don’t say anything that adds value. Sometimes you wonder if such people are employed to fill a government office called ‘nonsense’.
Onochie lives in the fantasy of taking Nigerians for the uninformed that she has the duty to misinform or deform their minds.
It was just too much of arrant digression from her to imply that now the economy of Nigeria has actually picked up speed and not the ‘rebased’ hoodwink of the past. Good enough, the chief executive of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) replied her adequately that whatever she tried to malign as rebased GDP was actually professionally turned out by the same office that gave the latest GDP growth figure of a paltry 0.55%. This margin actually translates to half of a percent of growth, and not in a year, but in three months – the second three months of this year – April, May, June. We are yet to know what the growth would be in the Q3 and Q4, the last in the year. Factually, our Q1 was negative.
President Buhari was circumspect and wise to ask Nigerians not to take that figure too far into ecstacy land and vowed not to stop tweaking the economy until it comes round to the point the common man would feel the impact of a positive turn of events. It is for that wise counsel as an elder and man at the helm of affairs that I commend him and advise him to do something about the likes of Lawretta Onochie in his team.
Only baseless politics is taken to the reality of the economy of a nation. On the social media while discussing these issues as they broke, I made a comment in reference to some that trivialised the whole thing to attacking Buhari and APC and aligning it to faulting everything that is not PDP.
But my reply is that only a political party member argues this way. I, a journalist who supports whom I feel impresses me with plans to pull Nigeria out of impoverishment argues from the point of how it impacts me and other common citizens. This is my 10 years of sustaining this column and I argued in most terse words against PDP as I do now, or even less now because these ones in power today are not as tolerant of dissent as PDP.
No matter how discriminatory a government is, it can never get as consummate as going to the market to tell traders to sell commodities at variable prices to buyers depending on whom they support or where they come from. So, our economy is a common denominator that must be discussed factually for the common good.
What every truthful person should tell Nigerians is that we made positive impact and inched forward in the economy by half a point just in three months. The growth rate is too marginal just as the growth period. Three months is just one quarter of a year, and half a point is nothing to even recall. If one starts singing Halleluyah over three months of minuscule growth, if the trend relapses or reverses the following quarter/s, would the same have the face to tell us that it has slumped again? I don’t want to have anything to do with possible politics in the data, which applies in many countries especially when a government grapples with imminent failure after spending about 60% of its tenure spawning only hardship.
Another friend challenged that I was wrong to adduce that APC administration got us into recession and therefore should not be applauded for getting us out of it, provided it does. Someone visited my home, damaged my TV set or my furniture and made efforts to get it back to functioning three months after. Do I have to clap for the person for the restoration? What about the denials I suffered in the days of the absence of the items which were actually due to his act? So even if a government that got a country into the economic doldrums finds a way out, it calls for no applause at all. Yet, this government hasn’t got us out of recession it got us into.
At the last count, World Bank data till the Q1 of 2017 is that Nigeria’s population grows at 3.2% and the economic logic that doesn’t take a PhD to know is that to sustain Nigeria’s economy at this status quo of hardship, the economy must grow a little above this figure, maybe at 3.9% or 4.0% because of other variables. And to get out of recession into positive economy, it must grow at a pace of minimum of 4.5% sustained over a period of say four years. Three months is not a positive indicator regime and half of a percent which is almost one seventh of the prevailing population growth rate is actually not an issue and way into penury. So, Nigeria is still in recession until the otherwise happens. That otherwise is sustaining a growth that never drops an inch for years. Then the factors start to manifest like Mr. President said in the status of better life for the citizens. Let us get the matter straight that the whole duty of a government is to grow the economy, and let nobody delude you with vain escapist vaunting that somebody that was there before he came destroyed the economy and possibility of growth. The major slogan every party angling to take over touts is that it would make things better, reason it is voted. This administration convinced us the former was faulty, reason the people voted it, and rebuilding the economy by it is like what international human rights law calls a peremptory norm from where no derogation is tolerated (jus cogens).
No government in the world comes to power to spend ready-made resources stashed somewhere. They all come to generate resources to run the state, and the beggarly notion of coming to power to run the show with money shared every month in Abuja is actually the retardation that holds Nigeria down.
The fallacy in the claim of exiting recession was confirmed in the statement of the NBS that food prices are still high, two days after the new GDP data was released. The politics and lie of claiming otherwise was that crap by APC that shamelessly declared that it kept its word of taking Nigeria out of recession.
To put the records straight, APC didn’t meet Nigeria in recession. The Statistics Bureau we have today published its report that as at the Q3 of 2015, Nigeria GDP still grew by 1.1%, and it was more than that in Q1 and Q2 of 2015. Politicians being what they are, if the GDP was in negative growth, that is the first thing APC would have announced.
Our recession set in after oil exploration was seriously disrupted aside the slide in oil price. Although crude price had gone bad, but Nigeria’s oil production was almost 50% of the OPEC allocated quota. That arose from the approach of the government to Niger Delta agitations. It got compounded when Mr. President in August last year voiced out further threat as against dialogue in Kenya. The improvement you see today is because sometime end of January and February, VP Yemi Osinbajo made some hostility cessation moves that helped improve crude oil production.
And to set aside totally, the notion that things have improved and we are back on the groove, the trade sector had deficit of 1.62%, a sign of declined or poor purchasing power of the citizens and inflation compounded also by job losses.
If we exited, then, we should be told how many new jobs were created in the period in focus, the lending rate and how it affected positively doing business in Nigeria this period.
The fallacy further stated that manufacturing improved and we ask, how? What more quantity of electricity did we generate? How many shut factories bounced back? How many new ones were built? Those who want us to believe we exited owe us a duty to clear all these.