If Buhari Really Wants Investors…

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SIMONKOLAWOLELIVE!

simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms: 0805 500 1961 

It was nice seeing President Muhammadu Buhari in Qatar the other day “toasting” the country’s businessmen to come and invest in Nigeria. “All impediments like delayed processing of permits, multiple taxation, and corrupt practices, would be removed,” he said. It reminds me of how my mates used to chase girls in those teenage years. “For your love, I will swim across the deepest ocean,” they would swoon and croon. For a country that consistently ranks poorly on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Nigeria has to do a lot of homework before investors can come rushing in. The global competition for capital is fierce. This is not about sentiments.

I was wondering: if I was a Qatari businessman with a billion dollars to play with, why on earth would I come to invest in Nigeria? All the reports I read about Nigeria are kidnappings, bombings, fuel queues, power cuts, one politician or the other arrested for billion dollar “fraud”, electoral violence, ethnic killings, unemployed and unemployable graduates, and so on and so forth. Why would I come to a country where I have to buy generators and diesel, build my own road and sink my own borehole just to set up a factory? Why can’t I just go and invest in a country where amenities are in place — and all I have to do is just plug in and play?
Well, that’s the way life goes. Problems and opportunities are two sides of the same coin.

A problem creates an opportunity to find a solution. Two people will be looking at the same thing: one is seeing problems, the other is seeing opportunities. We had telephone inadequacy. While Vodacom said Nigerians were “too smart” and decided to stay away from us, MTN and Airtel (then called Econet) came. They are now counting their billions in dollars. No power. No roads. No water. Plenty diesel. They invested nonetheless. That a country has challenges is not a death sentence. Nigeria, with a population of 182 million and limitless investment opportunities, offers a fantastic return on investment.

Today, I continue with my proposals on the “low-hanging fruits” Buhari can pluck to turn around Nigeria’s economy as oil revenue dwindles. In the first instalment of the series published on December 20, 2015, I argued that Nigeria as an import-dependent country can reap much more revenue from imports: all we need do is thoroughly clean up the ports and watch the coffers balloon with trillions of naira yearly. On January 10, 2016, I made a second suggestion: tax amnesty. I projected that by giving tax evaders a clean sheet to bring them into the tax net, we could see a quantum leap in voluntary compliance — and an astronomical increase in public revenue.

I will now present my third suggestion to Buhari: make life easier for investors. Make investing in Nigeria a pleasure. Investors on ground are already groaning, so we have to swim across the deepest ocean to “toast” new ones. How do we get investors to revive our textile industry? How do we get investors to set up juice-making factories, as millions of mangoes and oranges rot away in Adamawa and Taraba? How do we reduce the distance between Lagos and Kano to four hours by rail — so that export products can get to the ports on time? How do we move goods from Kaiama to Kontagora without police checkpoints obstructing lorries every 100 metres on the highway?
There are, indeed, several investors out there with billions of dollars to play with. The advanced economies do not have a big room for fresh investments.

They have matured. The return on investment is relatively low. Their companies and entrepreneurs are looking for fallow grounds to cultivate. There is competition for their attention in several countries, so what are we going to do to get them to pick us as investment destination choice? Furthermore, there are Nigerian entrepreneurs who would love to invest at home, but they are being discouraged or forced to look outside because of the investment climate. How do we address this?

If I was a Qatari businessman, I would be asking myself many questions as Buhari spoke. To start with, getting Nigerian visa is war, no matter how genuine you are. In my little corner, I have had to intervene on several occasions for foreigners who were being frustrated by our embassies. Services at most Nigerian embassies are appalling. Phone calls are unpicked, emails ignored. Yet this is where many foreigners would form their impressions of Nigeria. They arrive at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and find it hard to know what carousel to go to pick their luggage, as the screen never displays that simple information.

As a potential investor, I would be asking myself about the business registration process in Nigeria. If you want to register a business in the UK, for instance, it takes you 10 seconds to do a name search. Just go to the website of the Company House, type in the proposed name of your business and press “enter”. There you have it. The whole registration process takes an average of 24 hours. You can do everything online. In Nigeria, it used to take a month to do name search and another month to complete the registration — except you were ready to “play ball”. But I understand things are now changing at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). I pray it is for real.

I would also want to know how long it will take me to get the necessary approvals to get my business going. In Nigeria, it could take forever to complete documentation. For instance, the governors hardly want to issue the certificate of occupancy (C of O), thus the capital that could be accessed by businesses are tied down because banks need these documents as collateral for loans. Building permits are not readily issued, and you have all kinds of agencies slowing down the process in the name of regulation — even though we know what most of them are looking for. It could be very frustrating. It kills the spirit. It kills entrepreneurship. It kills the economy.
Buhari assured the Qataris on security — but security is not just about defeating Boko Haram.

That is just an aspect. In Nigeria, people are easily kidnapped. Miscreants, in the name of “omo onile”, hold construction workers and investors to ransom so brazenly. A few years ago, a friend was setting up a factory. He bought a transformer (an unnecessary expense) but the miscreants said he must pay them N500,000 “settlement” before they would allow him to install it. This is a complete breakdown of law and order. No civilised society runs like that. Communities and their youths have become a hindrance to investment in many parts of the country.

I would be asking myself more questions as a potential investor: if I have a contractual dispute or trade issue, how quickly can this be resolved? Cases can be in Nigerian courts for years. Adjournment upon adjournment. Some land cases have been at the Supreme Court for 30 years, someone told me recently. I hope it is a lie. I would not be too eager to invest in such a country. I would also be asking myself about the tax system. Is it simplified? Is it reasonable? Would I get incentives? Would I get compensated for generating electricity myself, building my own road and providing my own water? Life could be far easier for investors in Nigeria.

There are several other important issues in the mix, especially for the foreign investors. One is the exchange rate. When you know your $1 billion will only get you $197 billion from the official channel instead of N300 billion from the open market, you will hesitate, especially as the local components of your cost are priced at N300 to a dollar. But I take it that eventually, Buhari will exercise some flexibility as the CBN evaluates the current FX regime. All said, we can’t deny the fact that this economy can use extra billions of investors’ dollars if it is to bounce back to life. A colossal low-hanging fruit is: make life easier for businesses.

QUOTE 
“For a country that consistently ranks poorly on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Nigeria has to do a lot of homework before investors can come rushing in. The global competition for capital is fierce. This is not about sentiments”

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…
ESE ORURU
It’s tragic that the case of Ese Oruru, the teenager reportedly abducted from Bayelsa and taken to Kano by her “lover”, Yunusa, has been politicised. It should rather offer us an opportunity to unite and tackle the plight of Nigerian minors, especially girls. At 14, Ese was not legally old enough to marry, even if her parents consented. The police unscrupulously failed to act when the Emir of Kano asked them to return Ese to her parents. I have nothing against people changing religion — it happens every day — but I object to the illegality Yunusa and his cohorts were trying to mask. Exploitation.

AKWA IBOM KIDS
I normally don’t react to rejoinders. This is, therefore, not a rejoinder to a rejoinder. My criticism of Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel’s wasteful open-air church service to celebrate his Supreme Court victory incurred the wrath of Mr. Ekerete Udoh, his media aide, who wrote: “Our people are deeply religious, and we sometimes wear our Christian values on our sleeves as badges of honour.” May I humbly implore the “wearers of Christian values” to stop the cruelty being meted out to children who are branded “witches” and routinely dehumanised? It is the very opposite of what Jesus preached about how to treat children. Values.

N5000 DOLE
APC deserves a special medal as Nigeria’s most confused political party ever. Although the PDP was hopeless and rudderless as the ruling party for 16 years, at least its stalwarts did not have to be contradicting one another so shamelessly over party policies. I don’t even know what promises to hold the APC responsible for again. Today, they’ll tell us unemployed Nigerians will get N5000 “dole” per month; tomorrow they’ll deny it. The only excuse I can make for the APC is that it was just an emergency coalition to win an election — it’s not yet a political party. Period.

WAZIRI’S WAR
My joy overflowed when I heard that President Buhari had appointed Waziri Adio as the new executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). I’ve known Waziri for over 26 years, since our days at UNILAG, and I can testify that he is a man of integrity and honour. He is, without doubt, one of the best brains of his generation. Ensuring transparency in the extractive sector is one of the toughest jobs anyone can get in an industry full of buccaneers. But in Buhari, Waziri has a solid backbone to help him carry out his assignment fearlessly. Congrats.

  • Okey

    Can we critize APC without bringing in PDP. PDP is not a yardstick to measure APC performance.

    On NEITI new Executive Sec, when will PMB look beyond the north in his appointments. Sad that the press is watching silently while PMB displays utter disregard to the constitution.

    • Emmanuel A.J

      Do your research before commenting. Warizi Adio is a Yoruba man

      • Daniel Obior

        Waziri Adio is perhaps a Muslim. The two criteria of importance to Buhari are, North and Muslim.

      • KWOY

        When will PMB look beyond the north & the Southwest in his appointments?

      • William Norris

        Yoruba Muslim, probably Kwara, Yoruba in name but loyal to the Caliphate. Like Tinubu, Liar Mohammed, Fashola…and lest I forget, Tunde Idiagbon was “Yoruba” too.

        Old tricks. Mugu will believe but some of us know what is what.

        • Jon West

          Waziri Adio is a Fulani man from Kwara masquerading as a Yoruba, just like Olusola Saraki, Agboola Gambari, Tunde Idiagbon, Khairat Abdurazzak, etc. These descendants of Alimi, masquerading as Afonja’s offsprings are the Trojan horses in Yoruba ethos and why the Yoruba are always confused in their dealings with the Fulanis.

          • “Korede

            I have come to undertand you now with your comment.

      • Baron Roy

        Waziri is Fulani, okay? So is Saraki, so was Tunde Idiagbon!!! You need to do your researches, brother!!!

  • Mayo

    While dearth of Infrastructure is a major headache with respect to investment, I think an investor can still overcome those. As you pointed out MTN, Econet, etc are all here. I think a more critical impediment especially when your business depends on the government is the legal framework of the environment. An example is the issue of Remita Software. System Specs invested a huge amount in developing the software, they had a validly signed agreement with the government and in the twinkle of an eye, government not only labelled them criminals, they forced them to repay money the company had legally earned. Other examples are the contract for TCN Management signed with Manitoba the Canadian firm, the refineries that were previously sold, the contract to manage MMA, etc. These contracts are usually terminated on the basis that they were fraudlently entered into but there are multiple cases where that is false. So, if you are an investor about to enter into a contract with the government or invest in something managed directly by the government, you would probably think twice because there is the high probability that a change in government would lead to your contract being arbitrarily annulled.

    • Bakwus

      While I agree with you on the other examples, that of systemspec on REMITA is a total fraud. You cannot charge a customer a percentage of what he is transferring . Take the SWIFT system for an example . You are charged a flat fee regardless of how much you are transferring. It does not add any stress to the platform simply because the amount being transferred is much. It is a day light robbery. Let us not support evil.

      If they must charge recklessly and enjoy monopoly, the other alternate channels must work eg the CBN should not limit the amount one can write on a cheque if they are inept enough to grant systemspec that fraudulent contract.

      • Mayo

        There is no law that says you can’t charge a percentage of what you are transferring. You can maybe argue that it is unconventional (since you cited the example of SWIFT) but claiming that you can’t charge that is not true. System Spec was not just awarded the contract, they competed for it, including against CBN’s own internal software package. The government was under no obligation to choose them but they were chosen because they were the most competitive. If you recollect, 2 other service provider proposed about 15%.

        Secondly, if I remember correctly, part of this also covered insurance. Yes, it is electronic transfer but if anything goes wrong or there’s fraud, someone has to bear the cost and so typically the higher the amount being sent, the higher the fee because of a higher insurance fee. For example, payment providers typically charge a flat rate and a certain percentage of the cost of transaction.

        • Bakwus

          My brother I have 20years in the Financial Service industry…forget those other bids. We know how it works. Imagine for once that you ask your Bank to transfer electronically N1bn of your hard earned money to my account in same bank and by so doing , you lose N10m of your own money. For what?

          The question you ask again is : is it heavier on the platform to carry N1bn than to carry N100k? Answer is no. what insurance are we talking about here? Monies transferred within Nigeria and for the most part from one CBN account to the other?

          Mayo, the fact that a few services providers ( some probably arranged and instructed on what to do) tendered quotes does not make the cheapest one competitive. Trust me once the bench mark mode of pricing does not conform to international constant, we need no law to state that it’s abnormal. It’s day light robbery that you transfer your fund from one account to another …say N10bn and lose N100m of your money. Some to the same Bank that has been enjoying float income on your money. Let’s no support evil.

  • Iskacountryman

    there are enough nigerian investors around…

    • amador kester

      Nay, iska, we have to woo foreign investors,, not just opportunistic portofolio investors but long term investors that believe in thefuture potentialities of the nation. We need investors to create jobs and transfer technologies and skills to the teeming jobless,,we have to rebrand our nation in a more positive light without distracting our attention towards concerted solutions to its ills, we have to educate our external affairs ministry to evolve a conducive smart environment for attracting investors and to engage in economic diplomacy else they degenerate into more of a national burden than a productive institution, we also need to creste such enabling environment at home and if neccessary discard all debilitating bureaucratic redtapism pragmatically, we have to set goals for instance sapture two percent of american clothing market by 2018 by attracting investors from east asia to revamp our textile industries and grow 20,000 jobs and much more
      .. There has to be a strategic investment action plan. No sane nation jokes with investment
      . Our local investors? If they are what you presume them to be how come the south africans manage our mobile telecoms infrastructure,the chinese manage our power infrastructure,the south africans manage our hospitality industry etc. I do not imply that we dont have resourceful investors. But many are yet to learn how to invest home. We should also encourage our best brain to go into business,science and technology not just politics. That was one secret to america,s rapid development in history. First class brain politicians like obama are rare in american history
      . Their best minds like henry ford,carnegies,vanderbilt,jp morgan etc become business entrepreneurs that create national brands in their unique investments. These bands are stronger than the national name. Entrpreneurs mostly create a nation….

      • Iskacountryman

        my child…the cbn guvnor has just cried out that 20 billion dollars is lying fallow in nigerian banks…you do not need FOREIGN investors…most of the money stolen in nigeria is held by nigerians…you need entrepreneurs,,,

        • amador kester

          Another kettle of fish as a nigerian food for thought. They are commencing an economic conference probably soon. In addition my points above still remain

      • FrankNinja

        Nigeria has the challenges of an unproductive elite which depends on feeding off national exports and imports and stealing from government coffers. The danger of leaders whose allegiances are to oil prices, Dubai and London houses and the value of the dollar is that that the development mentality crucial for investments in infrastructure, power, education, health is sorely lacking.

        The East Asian economies boomed because they invested in those basics. Korea builds cars, ships, electronic s because it has consistently invested huge sums in science and math education. The likes of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have civil service staffed with well trained university graduates.

        Nigeria? We have 10 million kids out of school, more than half cannot pass basic JAMB, government is packed with Waec holders and the products of nepotism and theft.

        Let’s not fool ourselves Nigeria is not investment heaven. Its a country run by a den of thieves.

  • Olayinka Philip-Aina

    Uncle Simon. NIPC tried to set up a one stop shop back in the day to fastrack business set up for foreign investors. I suppose policies are one thing. Institutional strengthening is quite the other. Systems don’t run themselves. They are run by individuals, people like you and I. Until the mindset changes and the paradigm shifts take place top down and bottom up within our core insitituions, policy changes would only have a placebo effect. Case in point, you can build a foreign reserve, but without a mindset of posterity, we would never leave any real savings for generations to come in the way of Nordic countries. Ask Okonjo Nweala and Oshiomhole.

    Uncle Simon, let’s couple policy redirections with very jugular shifts, like insituting higher standards for the newly hired teachers who shape the minds of our school children; like deepening the curriculums that serve as the template for building our young minds; like setting the bar higher for employment into lecturing positions; like truly investing in research and development and strategic studies for the younger civilian and military minds. Fifty years from now, setting a higher bar at the rudimentary stages of insitutional building would result in professional customs officers who don’t harass citizens for stipends every time we come back into the country, or airport managers that ensure airport toilets are truly clean or engineers that ensure that airport escalators don’t suddenly reverse direction while in mid travel, spilling passengers off it! And these are just basic paradigm shifts at the airports alone….the Qatari investor never even enter the country proper o!

    It’s the people in the end. Policy changes must integrate substancial levels of cultural reorientation and change management or they won’t go far.

    • William Norris

      Airports toilets will be clean when airports are PRIVATIZED or sold to State governments so they have to COMPETE with each other.

      Right now FAAN has a complete MONOPOLY on the airport business, so it’s natural they don’t care about improving their services. Travelers have no choice.

      Same for schools. In New Orleans USA they had the exact same problems with their schools. Finally they did what conservatives have advocated for a long time. They ABOLISHED public schools. Each child gets a VOUCHER from the government to spend at the private school of their choice. That should be the way forward in Nigeria, of course you need a good ID system first lol

      • Arinze_Ibeagwa

        Sell the airports (businesses) to State Governments to ensure toilets (facilities) are well maintained? Seriously?

        Well, I don’t believe much will be achieved by so doing as far as it is a government managed business. Government businesses in Nigeria are regarded as no man’s businesses just because there is no strong institutions to move against mismanagement.

        I suppose the best answer would be to sell to private business men with a very strong KPIs and deterrents which will include directors being sent to prison if the KPIs are not met.

        • William Norris

          It was a figure of speech. Let me spell it out. The airports should be privatized or sold to State governments in order to make them competitive and efficient. Which INCLUDES having cleaner toilets and robust luggage carousels.

          Got it? Am I writing for children here?

          By the way Nigeria has about 70 illegal airports operating in the country. Yes you read right….just like we have hundreds of ILLEGAL refineries.

          What makes them illegal? The law, that’s what.

          • Arinze_Ibeagwa

            Well, I deal with things objectively and try as much as possible to be very mature with my comments.

            Yes, it was a figure of speech which I understood perfectly and helped you see that I understood it by putting your supposed meanings in brackets for you to know that I understood what your meant.

            Well, my first paragraph only suggested I disagreed with handing businesses over to Nigerian State Governments to manage. My second paragraph gave reason why I think it is not a better solution, and my third paragraph professed a solution I think would be better.

            My comments are just my thoughts and I remained objective and based my reasons on experiences of governments handling businesses in Nigeria (which I suppose you should be aware of if you are closer or above my age). I suppose you would have given a more constructive argument if you disagreed with me. Thanks anyway for contributing.

          • William Norris

            Well most Nigerians – stupid people – will scream bloody murder if airports are given over to private business. It’s indeed the best but where not possible the States are the next best thing.

            Competition between State owned airports might make them more efficient.

  • Haruna Daniels

    I read Mr. Ekerete Udoh’s rejoinder to your article and what came to mind was a story I read of a 2 year old boy who was branded a witch and was abandoned, only for a white lady to pick him up and take care of him. She set up a humanitarian organisation that picks these abandoned “witch kids” from the streets to take care of.
    And it happened in Akwa Ibom.
    I honestly wonder what “Christian Values” Mr Ekerete Udoh was talking about! I don’t think any Nigerian or African society can claim to have any Christian Values- the superstition and diabolism we see all over the country and continent are just too many. Juju and voodoo are very normal in these climes, and these are definitely NOT Christian Values.

  • KWOY

    Was this then what you call an “easy hanging fruit”? The difficulty of doing business in Nigeria is a product & part of the decay. By yourself you listed unanswered calls and unreplied messages, unavailability of power, unavailability of water, insecurity and parallel market/official rate exchange disparity among others as problems that hinder the ease of doing business, & yet you turn to name it a low hanging fruit. You could have probably called making Nigeria a super power a low hanging fruit

    • Kunle O.

      Lol… my best response yet. If these are ‘low-hanging fruits’ in the Nigerian context, then what are the ‘high-hanging fruits’? I like Simon but like most of our journalists, they are all good at enumerating the age old problems but grossly lacking in original and critical thinking that leads to practical solutions.

  • Trust in God, but tie your camel – Prophet Mohammed.
    Why this quote? It is in respect of little Ms. Ese Oruru, may God help her and her family wherever they are.
    Mr. Simon, I see a total collapse of family values in all these Ese and the other ones we are hearing now. The family, as the first bridge to civilization and morality, was lost on this poor girl. The second probkem, was the effective care / bond between a child and it’s parents. I cannot fathom a situation where my little child would be gone for 6 months without me knowing where she is, and do nothing to bring her back. If it means relocating to as they say the Shari’ah commission premises or any other premises that that child is. Kai, I can give my life to bring back or be with that child; even in the lions den or rebels controlled territory. Thirdly, I was amused by little Ms. Ese’s parents narrative that their hands were tied and them taking the fight all by themselves to Kano. For crying out loud, Kano shouldn’t have been the centre of the struggle/ jurisdiction for justice. What was the DPO at Opollo in Yenagoa doing ? What about the Commissioner of Police?, the DSS?, the NCSDC?, the NGO’s/civil liberty groups? , friendly and educated neighbours who would counsel and taken up the challenge, even if the parent are not educated enough to know their rights. What about the churches, the unions (market) that the mother belongs to? For the parents(mother) to go all the way to Kano, says a lot about the family values I mentioned earlier. Nobody will take the mother serious in Kano, coming all alone without “support”. The father of Ese, should stop blaming anyone but himself. It is a case of an Urhobo man that doesn’t care about his children. He left everything including feeding, accomodation, health and schooling on the lap of the poor mother.
    As for Yunusa Yellow, he will now know the difference between Khaki & Leather. The case should be thoroughly investigated and all involve including the father for failing in his core values.

    • William Norris

      After all that long comment blaming the parents you ended with an ironic twist. Perhaps you jest.

      NOTHING will happen to Yellow Yunusa. Nothing at all. This is not the first case of this kind in Nigeria and it won’t be the last.

      Hausa-Fulani Muslims are privileged in Nigeria. That’s all.

    • Isioma Leolee

      Ahmed u must ve smoked sometin b4 writing the above thrash. How on earth can u blame d parents? You bloody paedophile.

    • amakachude

      Did you just wake up from coma? You never heard of the travails of the mother in the hands of the abductors and their cohorts when she went to Kano in search of her daughter the next day she noticed that her daughter was missing. Na wa for you!!

  • chyke

    Simon has my respect any day. In 2014, In desperation, I wrote him a mail about my 15 months unemployed firstclass engineer son and asking for a link to Dangote for a job. Unbelievably Simon replied me and promised to do his best. My name was Igbo and I have never met Simon in my life. Luckily, my son got a job with the world largest consulting company one month later. I wrote to inform Simon and to inform him he has a follower in me the rest of his writing life. Is there hope for nigeria? Yes. Thanks Simon.

    • Toby

      There’s no hope my dear. Let him be appointed into this government and we see the hope he brings. We have seen Adeniyi, Abati and we are seeing Femi Adesina. It’s all hopelessness!

  • gohen

    I can’t help it, I salute your courage on this one. However I find it rather appalling that you are congratulating MTN and Co on the massive rip off they did to Nigerians. Vodafone didn’t come because they know they can not involve in the massive fraud MTN was involved in, from the illegal charges to 50 naira charge for a one minute call, to sale of sim card for 15 thousand naira.Vodafone knew their fate will be if had they ever involve in such,they know they will be punished in their own countries even if we decide to look away as usual. The halliburton case is there for all to see as an example.

    As regards the exchange policy, don’t ever think Buhari will change, he already made this clear on the last interview with Aljazeera days ago. In his words he said they will ‘ pursue and punish any person’ involved in round tripping of foreign exchange.

    FOUR OTHER RESPONSES.

    ESE ORURU
    Sincerely I think the Emir could have done more. When the police did not act , what further action did the Emir take.? I remember that when the Emir wrote Jonathan in private about the missing billions and Jonathan did not respond, he came out publicly to discredit that government which he was a part of.

    AKWA IBOM KIDS.
    The story of that kid is a big shame. It is just another case of Ese Oruru.

    5000 Naira Dole
    I think Buhari should be blamed and not the APC, funny the way you guys are begging the question, yesterday Dele Momodu suggested that the APC’s manifesto should be written allover again in other to accommodate buhari’s numerous denials.

    Buhari’s name was not on the ballot, it was APC that was on the ballot.It is Buhari that is re-writing the manifesto that brought him to power, he got power by the promises on that manifesto, now he is saying that those promises can not be met. It is called stealing by trick…!
    So much for mr integrity.

    • amador kester

      And nigerians spend 2.4 trillion naira annually ,half the average national budget to make mobile calls! These are the most preposterous tariffs globally and the senate communications committee looks the other way unconcerned. And another point of significance: a ten minute call may actually be only five minutes! Such redundant lawmen ,out of touch with peoples agonies in corporate exploitation ought to be swiftly recalled to extract dividends for the masses out of this democracy

      • gohen

        Exactly my point, and Simon is busy celebrating MTN.

        • William Norris

          MTN should be celebrated for the JOBS they have created if nothing else.

          I have a young family friend that was the first university grad in his extended family. He has a degree in Petroleum Engineering and couldn’t get an energy industry job. This was back in 2009 or so. He ended up in MTN. They paid him enough he bought the first cat ever in his family. He bought another and gave the first to his father. Now he is building his own house in Gagada.

          I know he won’t share your opinion. What country are you guys talking about…..Nigeria, right?

      • William Norris

        MTN charges that much for a reason. They provide their own infrastructure and security in Nigeria for one thing.

        When most other companies refused to enter Nigeria because of high risk, MTN braved it. I have read detailed accounts in international analyst reports how MTN was severely criticized for entering Nigeria and Congo. So MTN is charging a fair price.

        I was among the first to get an MTN line in Nigeria. I paid 50,000 just for the line or SIM card pack. I remember commentators screaming on radio and newspaper for government to re-regulate telecom tariffs. Even National Assembly introduced bills to fix tariff prices. Today you can get it for basically free and it happened with no government regulation or intervention…..competition did the trick.

        Am I the only that remembers these things? What is wrong with Nigerians?

        • Erinma Chiagozie

          I don’t know o!

        • FrankNinja

          MTN is like swapping a father who didn’t send you to school for an uncle who sends you to a classroom held under a mango tree. Should we be thankful to MTN or demand more?

          • William Norris

            As far as I know, MTN in particular and telecom companies in general have recorded a TREND of improving quality and declining prices over the past 10 to 15 years.

            Some of that is in response to protests, most of the time it’s a response to COMPETITION.

            Again, I remember the per minute billing controversy. MTN refused to initiate per second billing until their hand was FORCED by a new COMPETITOR called Globalcom. This is the same MTN Nigerians used to abuse and call a MONOPOLY lol…superficial education is bad. NITEL was a monopoly not MTN.

            Do you REMEMBER that billing controversy at all? Am I the only one on this form who has had a Nigerian phone line more than 10 years?

            Right now Nigerians are DEMANDING improved and stable fuel supply. How can it be done? Hmmmm mm, wait Nigerian also used to suffer from cement scarcity. I wonder how that problem was solved.

            Nigerians just aren’t too bright. My dogs are smarter than most Nigerians.

          • Baron Roy

            William, please kindly don’t compare your dogs to Nigerians again; I enjoy your cerebral posts…I do admit that majority of my countrymen are less than disappointing but having them compared to dogs is a bit too much to swallow…

            Some could be likened to dogs anyway…damn! I’m embarrassed… #sobs

          • UOU

            So why not ask MTN to take over the power sector, perhaps make it competetive but note that econet berthed first before MTN, I bought econet line with phone then for 80K because its post paid then?

        • Orphic

          What is wrong with Nigerians? At a fundamental level Nigerians do not understand market economics, They believe in command economics where a leader whips them with koboko to carry out his bidding. They don’t understand that people – yes even Nigerians, can be incentivised to act positively, to the benefit of the country, by the subtle yet effective discipline of the market.

      • Baron Roy

        Let’s be a bit careful here; making mobile calls in the US, UK and UAE cost an arm and a leg, using mobile-based data is atrocious! I’ve had reasons to be a bit more circumspect about our mobile charges here!

  • William Norris

    Simon I thought you were CHANGED, maybe not.

    PDP government was not rudderless. They were not perfect but here’s a few achieves – their privatization & deregulation program improved the availability of telephone services, banking and cement, and in the process created hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs. Undeniable.

    Their biggest achievements could have come from applying the same policy to the petroleum sector. But people like you and millions of Nigerians frustrated the government in Jan 2012.
    Nigerians are reaping the consequences of their stupidity today.

    I’m watching and laughing as APC continues a FUTILE policy of fixed exchange rates. The results will be apparent in about 2 to 3 years just like with fuel subsidy. I’m amazed at the stupidity of Nigerians. Good luck to you all

    • gohen

      I agree with you on points, But you must know that not all Nigerians are stupid, because not all of us are in support of this APC madness

      • William Norris

        I hate to tell you but the VAST MAJORITY of Nigerians are intellectually crippled. That’s from the truck pusher in the nearest market all the way to the Professors to high government officials.

        The arguments about fuel subsidy are a good measure of the collective Nigeria IQ.

        • Baron Roy

          Well, those of us that reasoned with the past administration on the need to jettison subsidies and take our chances in the open market had our voices drowned! You see, we ain’t all stupid; but we’ve got a few that are definitely highly stupid but powerful!!!

          Nothing is more dangerous as a small group of idiots wielding so much power; they intimidate and hypnotize the simpletons into idiocy!!!

          • “Korede

            Well, those of us that reasoned with the past administration on the need to jettison subsidies and take our chances in the open market …” Not leaving out our support for the share of our collective earnings in dollars too…..

        • gohen

          Norris, remember these people you call professor are nothing but political Professors. Well to a long point of view, I have no option than to agree with you, albeit distantly. If not it beats me hard how a presidential candidate can not provide certificate, or at least a certified true copy,and yet

          ‘ the VAST MAJORITY of Nigerians are intellectually crippled. That’s from the truck pusher in the nearest market all the way to the Professors to high government officials ‘

          (please let me borrow your words) still opted to vote him. some even demanded a NEPA bill in lieu of a certificat

    • Baron Roy

      Like removing subsidies on petroleum products that cost us say $5 billion per annum then introduce a subsidy in FOREX (through currency controls) that costs $20 billion per annum!!! Now, that is the SI Unit of stupidity!!!

      • gohen

        HAHAHAHAHA, Baron. you ve got a sense of humour,Stupidity got an S.I unit. ? please you need to inform the French so that they can update the S.I unit system of measurement .

  • austin

    … “an emergency coalition to win an election”. APT.

  • FrankNinja

    Nigeria is easily one of the worst places to do business for all the reasons mentioned most especially the nuisance costs of bad infrastructure and a lawless extortionist citizenry.

    But there is an exception that will entice any billionaire seeking extra billions. Monopoly or Oligopoly power. It existed in telecoms and today it potentially exists for any investor in refineries, rail, power generation and distribution and airport concessioning. With the right policies this is where billion dollar investments will come in not fruit juice factories in Damaturu.

    The Qataris understand gas and construction of big projects. Chances are they would be interested in gas processing, gas fired power generation and refineries.

  • Ekwe Daniel

    Mr Simon Kolawole, I appreciate your efforts at keeping the government focused on the pressing task of nation building on one hand and stoking the consciousness of the governed to interrogate government’s effort at this task on the other hand.
    I, however, must state that for a meaningful interaction between these two agents of nation building to occur, your constituency – the press, must consciously deepen the quality of information available for the interaction. You and your colleagues, particularly the ones who have faithfully stayed the course of providing the platform for the interaction, must as a matter of duty keep providing the most credible platform through presentation of clear facts and figures to players on either side of the divide to draw solution engendering conclusions. Glossing over areas that require presentation of hard facts on where we were, are and should be , as in the case of the CAC and ease of registering a business for instance, robs the interaction of an opportunity for constructive engagement.
    Also, with respect to your take on four other things- Akwa Ibom kids, I think you got it wrong. That subject is both sensitive and important to be thrown into that medium. I expect you would have dedicated a well researched write up to it, than subject it to vagaries of the mudsling between you and your colleague in government. This introduction of such a matter greatly diminishes its importance.
    Thanks for keeping faith with the Nigerian project.

  • apinofiga

    I think Simon has the correct characterisation.APC objective was to simply win elections.No wonder they have not done anything noticeable than to arrest and charge people to court.Bishop Kukah had warned about a month after swearing in that while this is desirable,it should not be at the expense of governance.It is a pity that this government is already failing and it is very arrogant.Save for Dr.Kachikwu who is very inspiring,it is like we do not have any minister.It is so sad.

  • Kelechi

    I wonder why everyone keeps suggesting various ways out of Nigeria dilemma without being bold enough to mention the fundamental thing wrong with Nigeria starting from our Constitution. How can we still be operating State of Origin and deceive ourselves that Nigeria is one? How can we accept the obvious lie that Nigeria is up to 170m? How can we keep encouraging money without labor and dream that we shall grow? How can we accept quota system over merit? Why should monkey be working while baboon is eating? How can we want to have a strong Judiciary when we make jest of their rulings?

    What we need now is a sincere leadership that accepts that he is not the messiah but can rally round all parts of the country by defining a common Nigerian dream built on hard work, creativity and mutual respect for all irrespective of religion and tribe.

    • gohen

      How can we accept the obvious lie that old Kano state that has been divided to Yobe and New kano is more populous than Lagos that has not been divided since creation.

  • Itodo Okey Santos

    Medicine after death!! Are just realizing that Apc is not a party? You should be angry with yourself for endorsing and promoting them during the election. You together with Segun, Dele and others shamelessly marketed Buhari/APC while ignoring all the facts that speaks against such decision. You need not tell us that they are not a political party. Many of us knew it long ago. And I can bet you and the rest knew that also but decided to to be patriotic enough.

    You and your friends should apologize publicly to Nigerians before we will take you serious.

    • gohen

      Oh nooooo ! cant you see the rhetorics in all their article, they keep blaming us the citizen. Dele Momodu even wants the whole APC constitution that was put together by brains be changed because of Buhari. A society were individuals are bigger than institution. In sane society, Buhari would be asked to step down if he can not operate with the constitution of the party that brought him to power.

  • Tea

    UR COMMENTS ON THE ESE ISSUE WAS SERIOUSLY DOWN PLAYED AND UR ATTEMPT TO EXCUSE THE ACTION/INACTION OF THE EMIR IS WICKED.