When I hear about Nigeria economy, I always wonder what people are talking about. What economy were we operating? What economy do we operate as at present? I really don’t get it. If you are a student of economics, can you tell me that we have been operating an economy? The truth is this; we have stopped operating an economy in the conventional sense. What we’ve been doing was just sharing of crude oil money. We share it and the crumbs flow in some places and the people concerned are very happy. Once the crude oil price fell, everything collapsed in our faces because we have never really operated an economy.
Tell me, what concerns a private concern about Government budget? Why is the man operating an akara joint so interested in the fact that Government hasn’t released money? If your business is actually private, why are you sacking workers just because you couldn’t lay your hands on government funds? How would you honestly call that private business? Why would people who say they are operating their own businesses be so concerned about how much money the CBN has released into the economy? It only shows that we have never really operated private business concerns in the real sense of the word. The so-called businesses are mostly government funds in disguise. This has come back to haunt us greatly.
Osun,Ekiti and Kogi states were never created because of agriculture or some projections of enough internally generated revenue. Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa states were never created because people thought the cattles or tomatoes would generate the required funds to make the states viable. Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia states were never created because everyone believed that the trading skills in the area would give so much money to make the states functional. Nasarawa, katsina and Yobe were not created because the farmers in those areas are so industrious that the states would need far less of Federal assistance to survive. All these states and more were created with the mindsets of collecting crude oil money. It’s quite simple. They were created based on crude oil money expectations and nothing more. They never had any economy in them and there is nothing apart from federal allocations. So tell me, what economy? How would they continue to survive with the slump in crude oil price and the Niger delta militants’ strikes on crude oil installations? Let me know?
Let me give you an example, a state like Niger state has about 40000 civil servants to pay. Do you think that Niger state would contemplate that number if the expectations were not borne out of crude oil money from FG? Does Niger state have enough generated income to sustain that number? This is the major issue.
Likewise, we’ve got ministries and agencies that ought not to come in. We have many of them with duplicating and interloping functions just to share enough crude oil money for the boys. All these agencies and ministries are staffed with the number that no private concern would think of. Everyone wants a share of the oil money. Banks were created to collect ministries and agencies money. The banking ethics you read in school or your Harvard schools make no sense here o!! Everything here is based on the ability to be close to where the action is and pronto, you are in the league.
The corruption is also based on crude oil money. The more the oil price, the more the greed in acquiring more and more. So what economy?
Once the crude oil fell dramatically, all bets disappeared. Our underbelly became exposed. Ofcourse, government scrambled to recover as much of her money as she could as the crude income fell. This gave effect to the TSA among others to block the loopholes. Once that happened, all hell broke loose because our economy has been surviving based on corruption arising from the sharing (or lack of it) of the crude oil money.
The economy can only be revamped if we can re-structure Nigeria to work within the limit of our new income. Nigeria as it were, cannot sustain itself because the crude oil basis has been shattered…Ewolewoo!!