There have been speculations in different quarters that our excess crude account which was in excess of 30Billion US Dollars before this administration took office has been depleted to just over 3 Billion US Dollars. A statement supposedly credited to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a few weeks ago also confirmed my worries and I couldn’t but ask where did all the Dollars disappear to? I have severally heard from different government officials that Nigeria is not broke but nothing encouraging seems to be happening in the land rather we are continuously faced with more damning problems every “blessed” day.
I am still at a loss trying to understand how we became broke. If I am not mistaken crude Oil has been selling at minimum of $20 above the benchmark used in the budgets in the last two years. How come we are suddenly broke? Where did the Dollars go? I was lost in deep about the situation in my fatherland when a friend asked if everything was okay with me. I could not hide my worries and we got talking about the problems of our dear country and constant depletion of our treasury. His first comment was that “the state governors are the main problems we have in this country”. I sighed and asked with curiosity “why did you say so?” He went on and on to justify his assertions but I will leave the details of that out at least for my own sanity. However, I wonder what would become of some states if there is no in flow from Abuja on a monthly basis.
After the chat I had with my friend, my fears were further confirmed and I came to the conclusion that Nigeria is heading to the doomed land at very fast pace even faster than that of an electric train with no driver to control the speed. I can only imagine where we would end if there is no intervention confirming the Newton’s law of motion. Again, I also concluded that Nigeria can be likened to a patient critically ill in the hospital who is placed on a life support machine but unfortunately there is no electricity to power the machine and the cost of running a power generating set is so killing (not to mention the health hazard) that soon there won’t be enough money to sustain the treatment as fuel prices have also gone up.
What am I trying to say? Can someone please tell me what the government is doing about the dying Nigeria economy? If governments (States and Federal) come together to share money monthly I want to believe that it is only sensible for us to see improvements and developments across the land but the opposite is the case. So I ask again “Where did the Dollars go?” We live in an economy where unemployment rate is far above 40% but our government seems not to be disturbed about this or perhaps they are disturbed but just not interested in fixing the fundamental issues.
How do we account for the billions of Dollars that has gone into power generation and the Nigerian people have perpetually remained in total darkness? Many businesses have shut down today because they could not cope with the cost of power. How does a business make profit when the major cost it incurs is spent on diesel? I know of a textile company that spent over N5Billion on buying diesel to power its manufacturing plants. With businesses shutting down daily all over the country many are thrown into the already saturated labour market thereby increasing the proverbial devil’s workshop and contributing to high crime rates in the land. I cannot begin to recount the number of crimes and security issues we have faced in recent times but I am optimistic that had many of our youths – who perpetrate the evils – been gainfully employed Nigerian would have been a lot better than what we have today in all ramifications.
“What does Nigerian even produce?” I asked a colleague and he answered “juju”. I was shocked but what shocked me most is the response of another colleague who said “we don’t even produce those. We import most of them” I was completely dazed because I can’t begin to imagine we now open Letter of Credit or do invisibles to bring in sorcery and so called men of “God” to offer spiritual intervention. The fear that he has a valid point which he was able to substantiate still terrifies me. He finished his argument by saying “do you now know where some of the Dollars went?”
Have you noticed that hiring foreign domestic aids is now what is in vogue among the elites? If you haven’t noticed let me quickly tell you that many homes in Lagos now hire foreign maids, nannies, cooks and chefs (apart from the ones that are in many of the hotels all over the country). It would interest you to know that a lot of people now prefer to hire from Philippines, Indonesia, Ghana, Benin Republic and so on. They are a paid in US Dollars which many of them repatriate to their home country. I am also now being told Artisans are now being imported to do things that Nigerians should and could ordinarily do. It is really pathetic but we have allowed the Dollars to be squandered and laundered without an end in sight – I sincerely hope I am wrong about this.
What is the future of a country that lacks savings? In economics I am taught that Income equals Consumption plus savings. This means that from your income after spending on your usual consumptions there should be savings for rainy days. One would have expected that the savings made from the crude oil sale would have been ploughed into sustainable developmental project that would have long lasting impact on the economy of the country but instead what we see is totally the opposite.
What exactly is the function of our government? I asked because I know that the government of the land doesn’t seem to understand what its responsibilities are. From Local government to the federal level all the politicians care about is how to enrich their pockets and still ship the stolen funds offshore. Again, this is using the Dollars to enrich other countries while my people continue to suffer from the irresponsible and unresponsive acts of our government.
I want to encourage Nigerian youth that we should not rest but continue to demand for good governance and accountability. So I ask again if the Dollars have left the treasury and we have not seen its effect or impart in the land where did the Dollars go?
You can find me on twitter @bisiogunwale