It can be argued that those taking positions at either extreme of the recent exchange/debate between the CBN and the IMF were being inaccurate or unfair to the people of this country.
Wildly overdrawn justification of IMF’s “advice”, often made under topics such as: 'Nigeria’s Response to Prolifigacy’, ‘IMF shows way out for the Nigerian Economy’ and the equally derisive debunking that follows from the other side such as: ‘We have already devalued the Naira based on the budget submitted by the MoF’, ‘CBN stands up to IMF’; only appear to be opposite perspectives.
In fact, they are two modes in which the same weightless discourse is conducted. The argument is unnecessary and is a complete waste of time
The devaluation question is a fall-out of the largely pervasive cultural malaise we are prone to fall into every time as a nation; especially when the prolifigacy that defines our electoral process is on and the wheel of governance grinds to a painful halt.
This is a crisis brought on by our collective profligacy and lack of an integrated sovereign plan to deliver on the state’s responsibility. This has manifested itself in too much spending on consumables, too little spending on infrastructure, an unaccountable subsidy structure, an oil revenue that cannot be accounted for and a lack of will to address our infrastructural deficit.
As a people, we fail to accept that there is not enough for everyone’s greed and that at some point – the leadership of this country must manage the affairs of the state in the same responsible manner it expects a disciplined household to do – earn every kobo and spend wisely.
With the quick erosion of the middle class in the country where an average family struggles to balance their budget, is unable to access credit for small business or to meet what would otherwise pass for basic needs – housing, education and feeding; the people all turn to the centre for a ‘piece of the action’. This is an unsustainable culture for a forward looking society we seek to be.
Yet, that household that is expected to sacrifice and contribute to the economy by way of taxes defines leadership by the ability of the parents to make decisions that reduces its outflows on consumables, eliminate avoidable expenditures (including painfully personal ones), and focuses his thoughts on increasing inflows by spending on those things that will help create jobs for today and tomorrow; hoping that the adjustment made, will create a more equitable future.
This is at variance with the free-spending executive-legislative leadership we have had over the last five years. This did not start in 2010, but has grown to reflect a government which appears oblivious to the risk element/vagaries related to its economic model in a fast changing continent and world economy.
Listening to the justifications giving for some of the expenses – it is a big wonder no one has advocated for a complete change of the currency for a government which has grown an appetite for spending on consumables/recurrent expenditure over and beyond its leakage-prone resources.
The discourse last week has thus been rightly treated with expected indifference by the populace and its elite – we are all pre-occupied with a momentary high – elections; with all the promises of ‘quick bucks’ and a jostling for positions ahead of the post-election office sharing that normally ensues.
This cannot be right! Every society expects its elite to have the intelligence to recognise that the rate, nature and style of managing our economy is unsustainable; and we need a new way of doing business in this country.
Neither of the arguments so far addresses the fundamental truth - that this government is imprudent in managing our future.
The affairs of the state is conducted like the proverbial dream team without a game plan that recognises the strengths and weaknesses of all opponents in a competition but focuses on the media-dominated pairings; unmindful that the pairings is a communication imperative to sell papers and not to win games.
It would appear that hoping, fasting and praying that the inevitable consequence of our inability to have more than a 12-month plan for the economy – with integrated policies that reduces the size of government, empowers small businesses to create jobs, retool our healthcare delivery system, reposition the state of our infrastructure and rebuild our educational system – the reliance on oil and the ever increasing tax collection drive to grow IGR’s cannot stop this impending crisis.
It would have helped therefore, that in place of the exchange of advice and rebuttals; we engage in a debate on who has the best plan to deliver such an integrated plan.
Did someone say that will be difficult to put together?
The late Professor Aboyade and his colleagues did put one together in their time.
What is therefore stopping this generation – one defined by world class scholars, accomplished professionals and ingenious business managers - from putting one together?
With thirty six (36) days to one of the most important elections in our economic history, we have embraced the cheaper alternative wholesale – adopting ‘noise’ to hide the fact any of the political leaders that may emerge will do so without any contract with the electorate on the economy, nay our future.
That is the real news about the economy and the value of the naira.
It is incredible that there are no specifics on the most pressing issue to guide the choice.
Olufemi AWOYEMI, FCA