GTB 737 banner Yudala banner

Is NIGERIA BROKE?

By Pat Utomi on 30/07/2013

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 2,691


The politics of signaling on the economic health of a nation is high art. When public officials who yesterday waxed lyrical on the robustness of the economy, in the face of naysayers who strive to make light of economic growth numbers suddenly begin to argue that there is no money available, something is amiss.

In our contemporary experience the dramatic switch from promoting buoyancy to expressions of distress by the stewards of the economy and financial services, is to highlight irritation on how crude oil stealing has affected the treasury’s intake.

All this has confused the unfortunately simple folk and simple minded are active in public life presuming to know but who do not quite understand the game of talking up economic performance. Of course there is psychology and idiosyncratic response to all decision making. In choices about where and how to invest, the issue is even more subject to how reality is perceived. Take the example of how a perception of crime varies between those who follow Nigeria and South Africa.

Many who refer to high crime rates in Nigeria as an impediment to investment often do not seem aware that the incidence of criminal activity is much higher in South Africa and indeed in some parts of leading US cities. But because of weak institutions, poor management of issues around crime and the weak selling of Nigeria, the country’s lower crime rates are perceived to be much higher.

A good example comes from personal experience. Back in 1984, not too long after I returned from graduate studies in the United States I persuaded a Nigerian who was in school with me to return. He came home with his Caucasian American wife who had probably never left the American Midwest and began his NYSC programme attached to a firm I had founded immediately I returned in 1982. His wife got a job at the American International School in Lagos.

One day, after school, she was at their Ikeja home while her husband was at work and armed robbers arrived at about 4pm. She was quite traumatized and drove straight to the US embassy with a message left for her husband: “We either return to the US together straight away or I return alone for good”. I intervened, trying to persuade her to change her mind. To the question: “You know this can happen to you in Indianapolis”, she said “yes”. Then went on: “But there I can call the police and know for sure that there will be a quick response; here it is highly improbable”. I could not refute the veracity of her comment.

It was a clear pointer to how weak institutions like the policing function were making perceptions of uncertainty higher than reality thereby making economic intercourse poor and transaction costs high, thus reducing competitiveness. The bottom line is there is need in the course of nation building and governance to either talk up the state of things, market the economy or talk down problematic stuff. In truth the vacillation between high growth economy chests pounding by officials and pointing to being broke to dissuade those vandalizing crude oil delivery systems and the integrity of the process that produce the blood line that keeps Nigeria alive is currency of modern statecraft and should be no cause for alarm.

So is Nigeria broke? Not really. But those who must share the FAC account every month to run the governments of Nigeria and to extract the economic rent that make them seemingly thrive are naturally in panic from disruptions of such vital blood link. In that circumstance a big cry out is expected.The real dilemma for me is what should be the right emphasis here, monies being lost to crude oil thieves or the damage being done to the environment by the crude manner in which the crude is stolen.

I am more worried about the despoliation of the environment and damage to the eco-system that will leave long term harm on future generations than that there is less money available to today’s profligate power-wielders.
Indeed, if it were not for the damage to the environment and the injustice in loss of what is the commonwealth to a few crooks, I would be happy that the revenues from oil were entering the treasury in a diminished manner. A constricted flow of oil revenues may force a rethink of our parasitic politics, bloated governance structures and governing mindset to wealth creation and nation building as different from today’s prebendal booty-sharing. I am often remembered for an interview published in London’s Economist in 1996 in which I said Nigeria would be better off if its generals and politicians could take the oil and move out of Nigeria, that the Nigerian people would be better for it. While this was said, albeit tongue in cheek, I realize that some countries have not suffered the so called curse of oil, and that revenues from oil have been channeled into driving growth of other sectors. Norway may seem like champion here in both overcoming Dutch disease and ensuring future generations get their share of God’s gift, but Malaysia’s accomplishment with PETRONAS and diversification of United Arab Emirates economies that now see many Nigerian elite spending much time in Dubai, is good example of how it can be different.

The simple truth beyond the games of talking up and talking down economic activity, which are a necessary part of managing a modern economy driven by market psychology, is that Nigeria is not broke but it can become fatally broken if business as usual persists. Yes crude stealing is grave danger for more reasons than sabotaging what Shell can remit to the government treasury, and must be stopped, but it is not reduced oil proceeds that has economic activity in Nigeria in jeopardy. The real danger is the politics of sharing which has triumphed over cake-baking and job creating economic growth policy making.

•Pat Utomi (shown in photo) is a Political Economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship based in Lagos. He is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership. This piece is courtesy of his Facebook page, wherevit was first published this morning.

Source News Express

Posted 30/07/2013 11:43:55 AM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

 

You may also like...
NLNG calls for intensified malaria research

Varsity strike: Again, ASUU, lawmakers’ meeting ends inconclusively...

Obama and Buhari in Boko Haram summit in...

Funds allocation controversy: LG Chairman replies “Abia Voice”...

Boko Haram: Mass death in liberated towns as...

Delta Govt. cancels Warri BRT Project •Approves over...

Boko Haram insurgency: Now that the USA &...

We need our best brains to overcome economic...

How to wipe out unemployment —Prof. Utomi

Ekwunife defends mandate at election tribunal

Senate summons Amaechi over exclusion of South East...

Anambra APGA dismisses tribunal verdicts, heads for appeal...

 

Latest News Soccer star bags 9 years jail term for alleged gang-rape 40 human traffickers nabbed Enugu budgets N1.5b for rehabilitation of 14 roads BLACK FRIDAY: Yudala records unprecedented spike in online traffic NIPC inaugurates centre with software to boost investments Mass housing: Lagos to allocate ready estates to first-time homeowners NSE turnover volume improves by 55.11% Buhari demands improved efforts against piracy, human trafficking •Emerges Chairman of Gulf of Guinea Commission Osun Govt. orders clampdown on tax defaulting federal MDAs Senate names members of committee to probe EFCC, DSS clash Our call on Deltans, investors yielding results — Okowa DSS, a clog in the fight against corruption, says CDHR

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (295,828 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (279,425 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (225,922 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (190,093 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (181,554 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (166,625 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (144,502 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (130,816 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (127,630 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (116,730 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (113,990 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (108,480 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (31) Business (2,781) Business Verdict (26) Columnists (771) Complaints & Requests (93) Enterprise & Opportunities (187) Entertainment (408) Features (510) Global Business Monitor (192) International (1,654) Interviews (138) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (84) News (30,483) Opinion (838) Pidgin (9) Politics (4,125) Religion (649) Sports (1,357) Stock Watch (24) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

UBA mobile app

CBN Words on marble

 

 

Argentina vs Nigeria

 

APO Group Partner

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement



 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!