Date Published: 10/21/09
Minister of Finance and Voodoo growth By Imohimi Uduigwome Airenevboise
The Nigerian Minister of Finance has suddenly found his voice and has gleefully informed us that contrary to the intelligent analysis by economic agencies based abroad that our economy was not growing, by his own objective (?) analysis our economy is not only growing but its growing at a reasonable rate.
While I do not posses a doctorate in Economics but I suspect that the minister of finance is definitely trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Mr. President. His statement that the Nigerian economy is growing was definitely not for the benefit of the generality of Nigerians who would definitely know if the economy is growing without consulting any economist or checking any indices. I sometimes wonder if our policy makers actually believe what they read to the public or do they think that because Nigerians are not reacting to the current severe economic situation it means that they are stupid?
Factories lay off workers daily, while others are folding up, some are even relocating to Ghana. What happened to our textile factories? How come most items in our market place comes from China? Asian made vehicles and electronics have flooded our markets and our dear minister considers that because more Nigerians can afford to buy Asian products while are factories shut down it means that the economy is growing. I am sure he does not care that most Nigerians purchase these Asian made products with loans obtained from banks at exorbitant rates!
Perhaps I am wrong but I have never seen a growing economy that lacks an efficient means of transportation maybe Nigeria will be the surprise .The roads are death traps despite the billions of naira that pumped towards the repairs though am sure the Minister is not aware of the risk Nigerians take daily simply by plying our roads. The rail system is comatose, water transportation is still largely on canoe level and air transportation over the last couple of years, has sadly remained undeveloped and there is no hope that that it will soon reach half of its full potential.
The energy sector a vital component for any growing economy has simply confounded all the experts at Aso Rock.All their pronouncements and policies has ended up in white elephant projects. Our oil refineries no longer perform their primary function and now refine foreign currency for top government officials and their business partners through turn around maintenance. Factories run on diesel powered electrical plants and the diesel is never available at the official rate so the only source is the black market controlled by a cartel that has the listening ear of the powers at Aso Rock. Over 80% of gas a veritable source of fund and energy is flared in flagrant disregard of the concomitant effects on the environment and economy, and our Minister says our economy is growing!
Can an economy grow in a state of insecurity? Armed robberies, kidnapping, assassinations and religious upheavals are now daily occurrences in Nigeria. Even those responsible for security are terrorizing the good tax paying citizens of Nigeria who pay their salaries. Yes there is no nation that has completely eliminated crime but when the statistics reveal that crime is on the increase then it means something is definitely wrong somewhere and when there is a general state of insecurity it beats my imagination hollow how the minister can with a bland face tell us that the economy is growing.
I would like to say that at least one sector of the economy is growing but am at pains to pin point any one that is truly performing. I seriously hope that the minister is seeing something that the rest of us can’t see because from what I am seeing the economy is still in doldrums. The banking sector, capital market, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, insurance, construction, etc it is the same story, instead of growth we are experiencing a downward movement or at best stagnation. The current government has failed woefully to provide a conducive environment for the private sector to fully harness the potentials inherent in the Nigerian economy.
However let us give the minister the benefit of the doubt and assume he was misquoted by journalist then perhaps this article will be met with a firm rebuttal. From all indications the Yardua led Government has no idea on how to revive the economy and they are scared to admit their failure. The seven point agenda has remained dream, a dream for the generality of Nigerians but a reality for the decision makers at Abuja who have continued to loot our treasury in the guise that they are implementing a seven point agenda that has and will in all likely hood never rise to an appreciable level to be understood or enjoyed by the generality of Nigerians.
Imohimi Uduigwome Airenevboise