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Published On: Fri, Sep 28th, 2018

Economic drift, recession: A viewpoint

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By Olisa Uzoewulu (Wulus)

What is really the problem? Why are we just this way? Why the drag Back? Why do we keep taking two steps forward and five steps backward? Why do we have leaders without courage? We must stop the carnage of our natural resources and direct our economy to growth and benefit of the majority. Leadership is the struggle between evil and good. Why must we allow evil to keep wining and the good is subject to continuous prayer of miracle to will it in. Is poverty of the citizens a democratic dividend?
It happened before when it took six months to appoint the relevant officials in place after the 2015 elections – to drive the national social political and economic sectors. This inaction plunged the economy into recession.
No propaganda or alternative facts or truth will drive or hide economic indices. It is always visible and practical. It is poor management that portrays the managers incompetent which caused the national recession.
It was internal rather than drift or effect of world economy. The drop or fall of oil prices with effective management can never lead the nation to recession. Oil for now is a constant and continuous source of revenue for the nation till it dries up. It is what we do with it or how it is managed that determines the outcome.
Again, the 2018 capital budget has not been released. The first and second quarter have experienced negative growth and in three months the 2018 budget year will run out. The Nigerian economy is heading into recession if not already in it. The government economic drivers should wake up. At this stage no propaganda will stand the test of time even as the prices of crude oil are rising. Manufacturers are accumulating inventories. The economy is sluggish. One recalls when Nigerian Economy the fastest growing in African continent and 3rd fastest in the world with a target to embrace the tape in no distance future to be counted among the 20th group of the world economics. But 2018 as Ghana and Ethiopia are growing at 8.3%, 8.2% GDP ours is at the shameful rate of 1.9%.
The Nation cannot be counted among the 10 most growing African economy, shamefully sitting at 44th position and at 88th position in the world (World Bank, IMF) report.
For a developing nation to grow at the rate of 2.9% with vast deficits or avenues that needed attention is poor and shameful for a Nation with vast deposit of human and natural, nurture resources. It is sickening and our leaders or drivers need to hide their heads in shame.
Economic matters and growth is not political party event only, it is not campaign or campaigning, it is not nepotism or tribalism, nor favoritism or all other ills associated with the Nigerian corruption of incompetence. The players may be such character or their appointing authority but economic growth is a national interest business because the outcome negative or positive does not possess such negative characters of the Nigerian nation. So what is actually happening? Maybe the players don’t understand the sensitive nature of a drifting national economy and impact. Why are they silent as the very weak recovering Economy is allowed back into recession?
The impact on the economy growing at 1.9% will never be felt by the citizens. Rather the economy needs to grow at the rate of 7% or more continuously for over 4 or more quarters for the impact to be felt by the citizens. Yet the non-release of capital budget which is very low at 30% (no nation will even develop at such low rate) and at the last quarter of 2018 is just what anyone can’t comprehend and understand. At this stage and situation one wonders what the institutions charged to lift the nation towards steady growth are doing. Talks, seminars, conferences, arguments, blame. Fault findings cannot deliver economic miracles, but policies and actions. So far within the year 2018 there are no actions yet. Silence, delay and inaction kill the economy and deny it of the operating oxygen. Such causes death and the cost and process to bring it back to life is so painful and drains life out of the citizens.
Some of the shameful economic records of the nation
Thus: GDP growth – 1.9%, very poor for a developing nation with vast areas for growth; world glorious capital of poor hygiene leading to sporadic cholera outbreak; poor handling and disposal of faeces and poor growth policy. In Air Pollution Nigeria is the 4th deadliest in the world as pollution kills 150 per 100,000 people which are the worst in Africa. Nigeria houses the world’s very poor people – hence Nigeria is named the poverty capital of the world – seven Nigerians fall into extreme poverty every minute-world’s poverty clock. The growth into poverty started from 1980 and keeps climbing. Any honest Nigerian leader should be shameful of such records and it is enough to call the citizens to action demanding for results and improvement rather than just live through it expecting miracles.
Time, lag effects, inability to act, execute are the serious handicaps to economic growth even in wealthy environment. It is simply the character of corruption of incompetence. The idea to hand a carpenter the possession and authority of medical instruments to conduct a human diagnosis and operation is suicide. The carpenter destroys everything and creates extreme poverty in midst of wealth. Taking the carpenter to the law court will not deliver justice because everything will be destroyed and nothing will be recovered.
It is not only about IMF figures or statistics. One needs only to take the local statistical observation – the charity Homes, the Churches, Mosques, the orphanages – the begging homes. The experience and upsurge of begging and demand through phone calls, people demand for food – just to feed has more than 200% doubled. There is a desperate increase of the rate of poverty. Majority of the population exist just to survive from day to day not to talk of setting up businesses. It is more than time for action rather than delay. Give oxygen to the economy. Economy does not understand nepotism, tribalism or domination. It understands action. The impact of lack of oxygen is universal. It does not discriminate. It is a national interest business.

Olisa Uzoewulu (Wulus) is an Abuja based Economist.

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