Posted by News Express | 25 August 2016 | 3,069 times
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, known for saying his mind very frankly on various national issues, has reviewed the economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari and warned that the government is moving in the wrong direction.
He said the Buhari administration was being run by “voodoo economists” who were running the Nigerian economy like unlicensed drivers behind the wheels of a brand new car so it would be idiotic to expect that such unqualified drivers would not crash the economy.
Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), warned of an impending economic doom in the country if President Buhari continues with the current economic policies which he described as anti-investment and detrimental to national development.
Sanusi spoke in Kano on Wednesday during a lecture he delivered at the second day of the 15th Joint Planning Board and the National Council on Development Planning organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with Kano State Government.
His words: “The first thing I would like to say is that there are many voodoo economists parading around and many of them are not economists; they are demagogues.”
Sanusi, who delivered a lecture titled: “Nigeria – The Search for a New Growth Model”, declared that while the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan created “oil subsidy billionaires”, the Buhari government was churning out “forex billionaires.”
He said: “If this government continues to behave the way the last government behaved, we will end up where Jonathan ended. You may not like it, but that is the truth. Any system that allows you with one telephone call, you make N1 billion without investing one kobo, that system is wrong. It is unsustainable, no matter how you think about it positively.
“We created billionaires from oil subsidies in the past. We are making the same mistake with forex subsidy,” he said in an apparent reference to the dual exchange rates in operation at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“As an Emir, I can sit in my garden and make phone calls to access $10 million at N197 per dollar and then sell it off at nothing less than N300,” he said.
After taking an overview of the economic policies of the Federal Government, Sanusi concluded that nothing has really changed under the administration of President Buhari – while his government continues to blame the previous administration of Jonathan for its current woes.
Sanusi lamented that the incumbent administration had not learnt from the mistakes of those before it.
Sanusi’s knock on the economic policies of the government came a day after the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had accused the incumbent administration of grounding the economy.
The OPS operators asserted that the economic policies of the government had led to massive job losses, closure of over 272 companies and trapping of $10 billion overseas.
Sanusi advised the members of President Buhari’s economic team to retrace their steps and formulate policies that can grow the economy, pointing out that the current economic situation is forcing untold hardship on Nigerians.
According to him, the current economic policies and their inconsistency do not favour businesses and investments in the country. He advised the Federal Government to embrace the Lagos State Government’s model to bail the country out of its current economic woes.
He lamented the overdependence on oil, pointing out that more investments in agriculture, power sector, manufacturing and infrastructural development and attractive incentives to investors will enhance the growth of the nation’s economy.
The eminent monarch and economist accused the government of making the same mistakes as its predecessors and refusing to listen to the wise counsel of concerned Nigerians.
He continued: “I just saw that we are always blaming the past administration, but we have also made mistakes in this administration. The problem is that there is nothing we are facing today that we do not know how it happened. That is the truth.
“We made mistakes, many of them deliberate. We ignored every single warning. Not building roads, not building power plants and other necessary infrastructure that can boost the economy and the development of the country.
“We are spending 30 to 40 percent of every Naira we earn servicing debts. The new borrowings were simply recycled into much higher recurrent expenditure. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was growing largely due to consumer items.
“In 2010 when I was Governor of the Central Bank, the government increased minimum wage to N18,000. I protested but they went ahead and borrowed money to pay. In 2012, as Governor of CBN, I said that this is an unsustainable wage bill. We need to reduce the size of the public service, which fell on deaf ears.
“I believe we have started retracing our steps and we have to retrace our steps. If a policy is wrong, it is wrong and it has to be changed.”
Sanusi urged Nigerians to bury ethno-religious sentiments and put heads together in salvaging the economy, adding that, “those who are clamouring to break up the country because of oil should desist from that agitation as oil would soon be nothing. The world is already developing alternative sources of power, like solar energy, bio-gas and a host of others.”
Taking up the drivers of the nation’s economy, Sanusi described them as unlicensed drivers who are behind the wheels of a new car.
Sanusi said: “If you take a brand new car and hand it over to a driver who doesn’t have a licence to drive it and you are involved in an accident, you can’t say you are surprised, unless you are some kind of idiot.”
He urged the government to revisit its borrowing style, as he said: “The funny thing is that you do not stop borrowing; all you have to do is borrow the right amount and apply them to the right purposes. It doesn’t matter whether it is consumption spending or investment demand. GDP will grow.
“We made a choice of what we wanted. Do we want votes and popularity or we want palliatives. So long as people are getting high minimum wages, they will keep quiet about all the ills in the economy that we have been talking about,” he said.
Sanusi said that those who are advising the government not to devalue the naira were benefitting from it.
According to him, “We are not devaluing because if we do, the poor people will suffer, the people profiting from this are the people telling the government that if you devalue people will suffer. Meanwhile, they all bought the dollar at N179 and price their goods at N300. The poor pay the price of a devalued currency, while the rich skim off the profits.”
•Sourced from The AUTHORITY. Photo shows Emir Sanusi and President Buhari.
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