Wednesday 24th May, 2017
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Pains and anguish of economic recession

Pains and anguish of economic recession

Constitutional experts and political scientists all over the world agree that the primary purpose of governance is the security and welfare of the citi­zens. That is why the writers of the 1999 constitution also included that in that fundamental law that gov­erns the operations of our repre­sentative government. It is rather unfortunate that the year 2016 will go down in living memory as one of dashed hopes and that majority of Nigerians were in the valley of pains and agonies, no thanks to the biting economic recession brought about partly by the Jonathan administra­tion and the Buhari administration drifting economic policy.
True that in 2014, Nigeria was rated as the strongest economy in Africa with a GDP of 568 dollars but today the picture is that of a GDP of 481 dollars. Economists are saying that some of the caus­es for this economic downturn are the crashing prices of crude oil, the bombing by the Niger Delta mil­itants of pipelines and oil installa­tions, the single treasury account, fall of the Naira, the unbridled con­suming patterns of Nigerians that depend on importation of things.
The truth of the matter is that perhaps the Buhari administra­tion was not prepared for govern­ance and not even ready to listen to economic experts to take the econ­omy out of the woods.
And the gloomy picture of the economy was recently painted by the National Bureau of Statistics. According to the bureau, inflation in the country is driven by higher food, petrol and electricity prices. The bureau also held the CBN re­sponsible for economic woes of Ni­gerians by letting the Naira to float, causing sharp decline in the curren­cy against the dollar and pushing up prices of the imported food.
The translation of this message is that more Nigerians are going to bed hungry, people dying of pre­ventable diseases because they do not have money to buy medicine, children sent away from schools because of the inability of their parents to pay fees and other eco­nomic hardship. At the state gov­ernment level, salaries are being owed for months and the federal government had to give out bail­out funds to such defaulting states. The case of local government work­ers is very pitiable as the workers are owed salaries running into sever­al months. And when you remem­ber the plight of pensioners, these senior citizens that used their salad years in the service of motherland, the thought that comes to mind is that there is simply unthinking and insensitive government in place. Predictably, the PDP, the main op­position party is exploiting the inef­ficiency of the government and that the blame game of the APC against the Jonathan administration is no longer fashionable. In a statement issued by Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the spokesman for the national caretak­er committee of the party took the government and the Finance Min­ister to the cleaners. This is the po­litical salvo of Adeyeye: `The view of Kemi Adeosun that recession is a ``word`` is an insult on Nigerians. Is this statement as a result of igno­rance, lack of patriotism or in line with President Buhari`s comment that his ministers are noise makers. For the record, recession is charac­terised as a period of negative eco­nomic growth for two consecutive quarters, giving rise to high rate of unemployment, fall in output, and increase in government borrow­ing. Following this understanding, Nigeria`s economy is already near depression. The crass ineptitude and lukewarm attitude of this All Progressive Congress government is no longer tolerable, and therefore, we are calling on President Buhari and his team to return Nigeria to its state of booming economy be­fore they assumed office in May 2015 and then quit immediately to allow other capable leaders recover our ailing economy`.
In midst of the mudslinging be­tween the APC and PDP as to who should be blamed for the econom­ic crisis, Nigerians are dying, busi­nesses are folding up and some gul­lible Nigerians had fallen for the MMM scheme that promised 30 per cent interest within a period of thirty days. Many Nigerians experi­enced a gloomy Christmas as their purchasing power was very low and the naira is in a free fall against the dollar. Today a dollar will fetch you four hundred and seven naira. That is why the blame game must stop and the Buhari administra­tion should take the counsel of two principal members of the adminis­tration. Speaking recently, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo la­mented that the proposed N7.29 trillion 2017 budget might not be enough to remove the economy out of stagflation. On the other hand, the senate president, Dr Bukola Sa­raki while receiving the budget es­timates from Buhari reminded the president that there was suffering in the land.
Oweh, a journalist writes from Asaba, Delta State
 

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