Moody’s and 2018 Budget of Wishful Thinking

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Ben Murray-Bruce

MAKING COMMON SENSE BY BEN MURRAY-BRUCE

Nigeria is a nation sleep walking into economic disaster and the sad thing is that nobody seems to be aware of it. Not the government in power, not the opposition and not the fourth estate of the realm.

Are we aware that the preeminent ratings agency in the world, Moody’s, cut Nigeria’s long-term foreign-currency bond from BA3 to B1? Not stopping there, Moody’s ruled that Nigerian efforts to broaden non-oil revenue have been unsuccessful.

Not that this was not alarming enough, but my own personal alarms bells rang the very next day after the Moody’s ratings when some sycophantic group released a press statement praising President Muhamadu Buhari for increasing Nigeria’s non oil revenue!
Are we even paying attention to what is happening right before our very eyes?

Even before this latest Moody’s downgrade, there had been an unprecedented capital flight out of Nigeria which reduced us from being the number one recipient of foreign direct investment in Africa according to UNCTAD in 2014 to not featuring among the top ten in 2017.

This type of ignorance is not bliss. It is wishful thinking that may collapse our economy Venezuela style of not nipped in the flower (we have passed the stage of nipping it in the bud).
The 2018 budget is the most vulnerable budget we have ever had with a whopping one-quarter of the budget devoted to debt servicing. What this should tell a reasonable man is that we have borrowed too much to the extent that we are spending more money servicing (not repaying) debts than we are spending on infrastructure. This is beyond alarming.

Nigeria now has $64.2 billion in local and foreign debts as of June 30, per the latest numbers from the Debt Office. Our debt to GDP ratio is now so high that even the World Bank is alarmed, yet we are carrying on as if all is well with parties here and owambe there.

What many Nigerians do not know is that as at the month of November 2017, we have not yet even finished funding the 2017 budget necessitating the finance minister to roll over over 50% of the 2017 capital expenditure budget into 2018.

In simple layman’s terms, we are robbing 2018 to pay 2017.
It is this type of behavior that has seen Moody’s downgrade us and we are not even bothered!
With Moody’s downgrading us partly because we have not been able to measure up to our non oil revenues, it beats my imagination why a nation that has not been able to meet her non oil revenue targets for the first two quarters of 2017 will make such an over ambitious 2018 non oil revenue target of ₦4 trillion.

Moody’s downgraded us in large measure because we have not been able to meet our own revenue target. Being that that is the case shouldn’t we have learnt from that and practiced the prudent financial practice of underpromising so we can have a greater chance of over delivering?
With all due respect, the 2018 budget is far from being a budget of “consolidation”. It is more realistically termed a budget of over active imagination divorced from reality.

What then happens when, as is likely, we do not meet the 2018 non-oil revenue target? Are we not going to be further downgraded?
Was it not last year that we announced to the world that we are ‘floating’ the Naira? If indeed we are floating the Naira, then why are we predicating an exchange rate of ₦305 to a dollar when the official interbank rate is somewhere around ₦365?

What type of mixed signals are we sending to the world? Are we not giving room for profiteering whereby some people “can sit in my garden and make billions through forex market without sweat” as the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi warned on the 24th of August 2016?
Who in his right mind will come and invest in such an environment? We must begin to tell ourselves some home truths.

If we are going to float the naira then let us float it and have only ONE rate for everybody be they government, opposition, manufacturers or importers.
We cannot be practicing Zimbabwe economics and expect Singapore style results.

We cannot be deceptive in our communications to the Nigerian people and bamboozle then with the upside down logic that Nigeria is saving money by borrowing.

Give me a break. One-quarter of our budget is already going to servicing debts. One-quarter!
Look, the time has come for us to declare an emergency in our finances and implement genuine austerity measures, not the fake one we declared where everyone in government (myself inclusive) is still taking home jumbo pay packets.

We must stop the silly practice of giving special foreign exchange rates to pilgrims to the Holy Land when even genuine manufacturers and job creators do not have access to foreign exchange.
We must stop the irresponsible habit food importation which kills our local agricultural industry.
We must stop the practice of sending civil servants overseas for unnecessary courses. If they must go for a course let them go to the Lagos Business School.

The current leadership of Nigeria does not have a single youth in the federal cabinet. Maybe that is why the federal government feels comfortable taking loans that they won’t repay in their lifetime.
Their kids are largely overseas and in stable democracies with buoyant economies. But let us spare a thought for the masses of our people.

But I have kids. My constituents also have kids and they sent me to the National Assembly to plant trees that will give their children shade not to cut down the already existing trees and use them for firewood.

The United Nations has projected that by February 2018, Nigeria will have more people in poverty than India. How can a nation of 180 million people have more poor people than a nation of 1.3 billion people?

It is because we are too complacent a people. We are paying our politicians much more than India pays her politicians and we are borrowing to do so while India is producing to pay theirs.
The federal government must wake up from its sleep walking and realize that all is not well with our economy and broaden its search fir solutions beyond membership of the All Progressive Congress.

• Entertainment Group and Senator are presenting Bayelsa East

  • Abubakar Umar

    THIS IS INDEED MAKING COMMON SENSE!!!! VERY GOOD MR. BEN MURRAY-BRUCE

  • William Norris

    https://m.guardian.ng/news/uproar-as-senate-debates-2018-budget-proposal/

    Senator Bruce said:

    “If you look at the budget from 1960 to the present, you have agencies that were designed for 1960, agencies that were designed for the Nigerian civil war, agencies that were designed to suit some certain conditions in life. 60 years later, those agencies still exist in the budget.

    If you look at the budget, you will see that some agencies get recurrent expenditure, they pay salaries, they get houses, computers, cars, but they have no money to do any work. Some agencies are so bloated. It defies logic but these agencies exist. So, we have 2.4 million people consuming 60 per cent of the recurrent expenditure of Nigeria. It doesn’t make any sense.”

    He added: “I called President Obasanjo on phone two days ago and he said to me that the National Orientation Agency was necessary when we had no political parties. What is the value of the National Orientation Agency in today’s world for instance? Yet billions of naira is spent in it. Let us look at agencies that make no sense and sell them to staff. FRCN has 8,000 workers. Sell it to them. Sell NTA to the staff. Voice of Nigeria… Who listens to Voice of Nigeria? Sell it. If the staff want to buy, let them buy it. Set up a cooperative, like Awolowo did, sell it to them. If we spend 71 per cent on recurrent expenditure, we will never get out of this predicament.”

  • Samson Judah

    Sometimes i feel the President only listens to his incompetent cabinet twats without putting 1&2 together, and the foolish majority citizenry don’t alarm nor questions knowledge depth and vision to potential public office holders. Is this how countries are being run? I’m still amazed how we are still afloat with this caricature system. What a people!

  • Ed Chibuzo

    And the other day, a committee of 30 eminent Nigerians was set up to review the minimum wage. Playing politics of 2019 in 2017….

  • Olufemi Bello

    “We cannot be practicing Zimbabwe economy and expect Singapore style result.” Pointed Point. Let those concerned read or re-read Lee Kuan Yew book ” From Third World To First The Singapore Story : 1965 – 2000 “. Is the Black Race CURSED ?

  • E don do Niaja

    Mr Bruce! Please continue to enlighten the enlightened sir. The commoners get it! The disaster is that the government in power with their praise singers refuse to see where we are heading as a nation under this clueless government: DISASTER!

  • Iskacountryman

    get a proof reader…

  • IronDome

    This is what you get when the government is a gerontocracy ( government of the very old, for the very old , by the very old).
    This is what you get when a trader is your CBN Governor and an MBA holder is your minister for finance instead of getting seasoned micro and macro economics.
    This is what you get when your ministry of agric is run by a French language Teacher and unionists run your economic planning.
    We will soon get the mother of all shocks

  • KWOY

    If senators stop collecting salaries it will not solve the problem of nigeria….. You know what the problem is. Yar’ Adua already diagnosed it 10 years ago. Go & read POWER, POLITICS & DEATH! (Not minding that even the author himself is hiding his head in the sand out of hipocrisy!) And all it means is that the conspiracy against the Igbo out of envy is coming to a dead end!

    • Iskacountryman

      so you do not want eboe to die again?

    • William Norris

      Aside the Igbo envy thing you have a point.

      The Igbo are also part of the problem.

  • Orphic

    Wow, I’ve enjoyed reading comments from the regulars Mystic mallam, William Norris et al. And all commentators have made incisive comments on ideas and problems that I am unable to offer any unique contribution
    The good news for all our concerns is that if economic ‘common sense’ – to paraphrase our distinguished writer, is not common in Nigeria, well the country is going in the right direction to be schooled on economic common sense by the IMF.
    It shows that the one lesson in economics taken in the 1980’s under SAP, is not enough learning experience for Nigerians and they are prepared to repeat Econ 101.

    • William Norris

      The amazing thing is, most Nigerians believe SAP was the worst thing that happened in this country when the opposite is true… that SAP saved the Nigerian economy.

      The average Yoruba person doesn’t even know that COCOA used to be regulated just like petroleum. Cocoa was the first thing deregulated under SAP in 1986 which preserved the sector and made them richer, but they only remember IBB for cancelling Abiola’s Presidency.

      Without SAP there would be no private banks or broadcasting or universities or airlines. Thanks to Yoruba tribalistic press propaganda the vast majority of even university graduates don’t understand any of that. No wonder they elected a President who told them fuel subsidy didn’t exist. LOL!

      • share Idea

        Again another incisive comments.

      • FrNinja

        You clearly dont understand SAP. The main thrust was not deregulation but debt recovery. SAP lead to a marked collapse in public services particularly in health and education which Nigeria has not recovered from. Public finances were geared to paying back creditors aside from IMF budgetary support.

        • William Norris

          One objective of SAP was to shrink the public sector. Yes that included education and health.

          Which is good because a tribally divided nation like Nigeria simply can’t sustain those sorts of public largesse . Those sectors were destined to fail anyway and in any case benefited only a very small % of the population. As access expanded there was no way the government could sustain them.

          Paired with pruning the public sector was the EXPANSION of the private sector. Without it private broadcasters, banks, airlines and telecoms wouldn’t exist. Try and imagine Nigeria without those…..a nightmare.

          • FrNinja

            A stable private sector is dependent on a strong government. What has happened to the private sector in Nigeria with poor government? Banks have npls of over 8 trillion and survive only by lending to govt, airlines have not lasted beyond 10 years, media entities are barely making money and telecom operational costs are one of the highest in the world.

          • William Norris

            Stable private sector is dependent on MINIMAL or at least limited government.

            The private sector in Nigeria suffers from TOO MUCH government interference…such as the regulated and rigged forex market.

            Just forex regulation alone accounts for a huge part of Nigerian economic stagnation. Overvalued naira HURTS EXPORTERS and the naira has been overvalued for DECADES.

            Read this and see the point –

            https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/03/15/fg-pledges-to-resolve-forex-challenges-facing-exporters/

            Federal monopoly of airports surely hurts airlines because there’s no airport competition for their business….no competitive landing fees for instance.

            You have it all wrong. I’ve been through all this when OBJ was deregulating and privatizing telecoms and cement. Your arguments are the same as those back then and they were wrong

          • FrNinja

            The busiest airports in the world are owned by govt. London heathrow, JFK New York, Hong Kong International airport and Dubai. Maybe if Nigerian govt did its job airlines would not be surviving by the skin of its teeth.

          • William Norris

            JFK is owned by a STATE government.

            Hong Kong & Dubai are cohesive nations and even Dubai is an AUTONOMOUS entity within the UAE.

            The premises of your argument isn’t quite right.

  • Mystic mallam

    Woww, at last Mr Commonsense has made some sense. Unlike most of his fellow legislators of both APC and PDP hue, who go about looking for new billion dollar loans to approve for Buhari;s recurrent expenditure, Mr Bruce has this time around, refused to join in their game of the ostrich, hiding their heads in the sand, collecting millions in secrecy, and hoping things will be fine whenever they decide to look up. Honestly, I have seen clueless governments in Nigeria – from Ironsi, Shagari, Buhari to Jonathan, but I can bet on Buhari’s second coming as the most clueless ever and Mr Commonsense is calling him out without mincing words. Bravo.

  • James Gunn

    Shut up shut up shut up. Mr Bruce. Stop all these write ups as if we on these pages can do anything about the situation. You CAN because you ARE a senator. That is your job. To bring these issues to the floor, to debate them, to convince your colleagues to do something about the budget. If it needs to be reworked, readjusted or replaced only you has the power to make that possible. We the enlightened know the deficiencies of the Buhari administration but there is nothing we can do but you can. Stop regaling us with high falutin grammar and big data. DO YOUR JOB!!!

    • Mystic mallam

      What is his job? Pray tell us.

      • Fowad

        He should be telling us how they debated economic policies. Which side supported what on the ideological continuum. We can then SEE what they do in the place. Most senators travel abroad very often, buy books and then they write in papers to show off their knowledge. They appear to let us know how ‘educated’ they are.

        • Mystic mallam

          You have points. However, it’s the job of the Executive branch to make and implement economic policy not the Senate. The senate only has to consider and approve or disapprove the Executive’s budget to execute its economic policies. Cheers. That’s why you must choose your presidents carefully.

    • BB

      But there is SOMETHING we can do…..

    • Olusola Olusina Micheal

      pls tell him loud or why is he there ..just to collect money and find fault?

    • William Norris

      Unfortunately NASS members from the North, Middle Belt and West will NEVER be convinced. And the majority of Nigerians support them. That’s the reality of Nigeria that was crystallized by Occupy Nigeria in Jan 2012 and the elections of Mar 2015.

  • FrNinja

    Truth is moodys has analyzed the Nigerian government seen 64 billion dollars in debt worth three years of government revenue, looked at its capacity to diversify (roads, power, skills), examined its leadership (oil and grass cutting contracts, pension swindlers, legislative con artists, budgetary looters) and concluded that Nigeria has neither the financial strength nor made the necessary investments nor has the political commitment to survive in a world in which its oil resources are no longer enough to cater to its massive population.

    If Nigeria were a company it would be rated as an enron and it is not surprising that investors are pulling money out as fast as possible. The illusion of investing in Africas largest economy has cleared from their eyes and Nigeria is quite rightly being compared to such investment horrors as DR Congo and Pakistan.

    Buhari quite rightly blames five years of corruption of the goodluck administration for the woes of the country but fails to acknowledge his role in accelerating poverty. In the two years Nigerian GDP fell into negative territory and barely grew the likes of oil producing Algeria grew at 3-4%. The likes of Rwanda and Ethiopia posted 5-6% growth.

    • William Norris

      Corruption has nothing to do with the Niger-area Crisis.

      Both Algeria and Ethiopia are set piece corrupt nations, their governing elites are far worse than Nigeria. Have you read the news from either place lately? Yeah Ethiopia is making progress but do you know they have ETHNIC BASED states and autonomy?

      Rwanda is COMPLETELY CONTROLLED by a tribal minority who took power by FORCE in a war of SURVIVAL. The kind of war that concentrates the mind and brings the abyss into focus.

      Those of you who keep harping on corruption are doing your country a profound disservice. Your jeremaids imply that there’s plenty of money to share and provide for everyone, but THAT IS NOT TRUE.

      The problem is that the Nigerian economy is not very productive.

      The economy is not productive because the PEOPLE have a long standing predilection for socialist policy.

      Socialist policies don’t work well in multi-ethnic societies because wealth redistribution soon degenerates into nepotism or actually tribalism.

      For Nigeria to be productive, it has to beco me a predominantly capitalist, neo-liberal economy with strong property rights and a small, very limited (federal/national) government.

      When that happens, Nigeria can be as corrupt as China and still have strong, widespread and sustained increases living standards.

      I know all the above will be hard to do, but here’s one single policy step that will make a positive difference – JUST FLOAT THE NAIRA.

      You say Buhari made things worse. Well, do you know the biggest policy cause of economic distress since he was elected? The dollar peg. He has used the dollar subsidy to undermine all the free market reforms achieved under 16 years of PDP government.

      You complain a lot about electricity. One of their biggest problems is shortage of forex to buy equipment.

      Airlines – nominally private – have come under government influence for the same reason. They have to beg for forex allocations.

      Fuel importers – including mighty Exxon Mobil – have abandoned the retail market because of forex, leaving NNPC as a monopoly that generates hundreds of billions of naira in losses every quarter.

      Oh, floating the naira will also reduce CORRUPTION. You know that, right?

      • FrNinja

        Nigeria today is on life support because of the destructive corruption of all those in power. Rubbish power, rubbish roads, rubbish government. How can anybody be productive in such an environment?

        Algeria and Ethiopia meanwhile may have corruption but it is limited and they are building not destroying. Algeria built a massive $150 billion reserve while Nigeria frittered its own away on champagne, private jets, dubai holidays and cars. Algeria spent over $20 billion improving energy and transport infrastructure with 15GW of power generating capacity dwarfing Nigeria’s 4 GW. How many of Algeria’s roads are pothole riddled like Nigerias?

        As for Ethiopia they followed the same formula – no-nonsense massive investment in infrastructure which is yielding dividends. While Nigeria was fast-tracking a white elephant rail-line between Abuja and Kaduna (Namadi Sambo’s hometown) and while Lagos still has yet to complete one line of light rail (while bulldozing poor people’s homes), Ethiopia with common sense has built a rail-line to the port of Djibouti for heavy cargo and a light rail in their capital of Addis. Ethiopia has also invested massively in power. By 2020 they will have twice the power capacity of Nigeria with 12 GW of on-going projects completed. Ethiopian Airlines is not an accident. They are organized and motivated. Not fantastically corrupt like you know who.

        About the naira floating I have always been an advocate. But it doesnt solve the fundamental disgraceful business environment that is called Nigeria. Even if the naira hits 700 to the dollar ask yourself as an investor, why would you want to invest in Nigeria? Is it the cost of fueling generators, bribing customs at the ports, spending lots of money maintaining trucks because of bad roads? Is it having to deal with the dunce products of poor education in Nigeria? Is it the crookish default philosophical ethos of the average Nigerian? Is it the poor security infrastructure? Or judiciary system that is for hire to keep adjourning cases ad infinitum?

        Egypt was broke like Nigeria a couple years ago with low reserves, a lot of social welfare obligations. They held an investment forum and got over $20 billion in commitments. You know why? Their ports function. They have over 33GW of power for industrialists. Their rail is relatively well developed. Their judiciary functions (heck they jailed ex leaders while Nigeria can’t even jail multi-billion naira thieves). Their young are well educated and not in the business of kidnapping or scamming foreigners. Egypt is 98% desert. The most densely populated place on earth (Nile Delta). But the country presents an attractive investment case.

      • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

        So simple
        Yet not so simple to all

      • FrNinja

        Algeria built a massive $150 billion reserve while Nigeria frittered its own away on champagne, private jets, dubai holidays and cars. Algeria spent over $20 billion improving energy and transport infrastructure with 15GW of power generating capacity dwarfing Nigeria’s 4 GW. How many of Algeria’s roads are pothole riddled like Nigerias?
        As for Ethiopia they followed the same formula – no-nonsense massive investment in infrastructure which is yielding dividends. While Nigeria was fast-tracking a white elephant rail-line between Abuja and Kaduna (Namadi Sambo’s hometown) and while Lagos still has yet to complete one line of light rail (while bulldozing poor people’s homes), Ethiopia with common sense has built a rail-line to the port of Djibouti for heavy cargo and a light rail in their capital of Addis. Ethiopia has also invested massively in power. By 2020 they will have twice the power capacity of Nigeria with 12 GW of on-going projects completed. Ethiopian Airlines is not an accident. They are organized and motivated. Not fantastically corrupt like you know who.

        • William Norris

          You don’t even know the history of the countries you keep citing. Nigeria is NOT them.

          Algeria is NOT Nigeria. Ethiopia either. Give it a rest please.

          You say they’re organized & motivated.

          How can Nigeria be organized and motivated with such ethnic and religious diversity?

          • Jon West

            Like comparing apples and oranges. Nigerians dont really get it. Their country is a fraud and will go the way of all frauds, to hell. To hell with Nigeria!!

          • share Idea

            He forgot to educate his readers that Ethopia have a clues for constituent unit to request to separate which makes the leader to make sure that every part is treated fairly contrast with Nigeria where IPOB agitation is visited with live bullets for any of it proponents.

        • William Norris

          I checked on the Ethiopian Constitution today.

          It has the rights to secession and recognizes many NATIONS that compose Ethiopia. It even recognizes the Land Rights of those nations.

          Nigeria doesn’t have this. So why do you expect Nigeria to progress like Ethiopia? SMH….

      • jellybelly

        Socialist policies don’t work well in multi-ethnic societies because wealth redistribution soon degenerates into nepotism or actually tribalism.

        Oh boy – sing it brother.
        We are the 18th Century US and not 21st Century China

        • FrNinja

          So why does it work in the USA the biggest wealth redistribution entity in the world? Go calculate how much US govt spends on medicaid, mortgage financing, public education, low cost housing among others.

          • William Norris

            All those programs are rife with FRAUD, ABUSE, SELF DEALING, RACKETEERING, waste and palin old stupidity.

            Have you ever lived in a public housing project in the USA?

            Public education in the USA is a constant source of anger and dissatisfaction among parents.

            Mortgage financing? Do you UNDERSTAND that the 2 US government mortgage institutions went BANKRUPT in 2007 to 2009 and are untouchable today?

            Do you want to talk about FRAUD in US healthcare?

            The USA is only able to keep the waste going because they have a vibrant private sector that controls resources and therefore generates a high amount of revenue.

            And it has been possible to do all that because the USA has been dominated by White Anglo-Saxons for a long time. Now that the country is becoming DIVERSE in the socio-political sense, the Whites are not willing to share. So they elected Trump.

            You’re sorely mistaken in your characterization of the USA. I trust that over time they will severely reduce all those programs. And that’s a good thing.

          • FrNinja

            Those programs are not as rife with fraud or abuse as public services in Nigeria. Medicare is administered to over 20% of Americans. Without the US govt underwriting mortgages housing would be as scarce as Nigeria. About your comment of the fannie mae and freddie mac bailout it came about because of poor regulation of new financial products. Indeed every major economic crash in the US has come about because of poor regulation.

            About your white anglo saxon comment I guess americans of jewish descent who have contributed massively to hollywood and wall street are anglo saxon?
            That must also apply to the google, facebook, amazon.com, dell, oracle founders right?

          • William Norris

            Subsidy, welfare or redistributive programs in the USA are more corrupt than anything that has ever happened or will ever happen in Nigeria.

          • William Norris

            Wow….I think you need to go and study up on US history.

            Dominance isn’t only about money, titles and ownership. It’s about ALL of that and more. If you don’t understand that the Anglo-Saxons dominate the USA then you ought to stop bringing up that country as much as you do.

            Seriously, go study the USA.

          • FrNinja

            You clearly dont know the US based on your statements of it being a free market and other balderdash. Go try to run a domestic airline in free USA as a foreigner or a media company. Autos are protected from foreign competition by trade rules. About your anglo saxon theory, I guess pizza and burritos are anglo saxon culture or hollywood movies or music or sports.

            You should save your tribal theories for europe which is far similar to Nigeria in its parochislism. The difference is europe has fought its wars openlys. Nigeria is fighting its wars by destroying every facet of nationhood.

      • share Idea

        Aptly stated

      • Vita

        The possible way to jump-start the Nigerian economy is only by practicing ‘true federalism’ or ‘regionalism’. Anything to the contrary will hardly produce significant result.

        • William Norris

          I disagree.

          SAP has made a huge difference.

          16 years of PDP reform has made a huge difference.

          Regionalism or tribal autonomy would be the best but Nigerians…the majority of the people and their APC….don’t want it because it will cut off their access to petro-dollars from the Niger Delta.

          So one policy that can be put in place easily and with some stealth is currency deregulation. You have to start somewhere.

          • Vita

            Who are the majority of the people and their APC….don’t want ‘true federalism’ or ‘regionalism’? Recall that among the current six-region structure, the SW, SE, SS & NC are unanimous in their quest for ‘true federalism’ or ‘regionalism’

          • William Norris

            The Yoruba today are NOT supportive of regional autonomy.

            Evidence – a majority of them voted for Buhari.

          • KWOY

            They rejected 25% Derivation in 2005. And totally rejected the 2014 Jonathan National Confererence…. among Million other evidences

          • KWOY

            Keep the LIE going abt SW wanting federalism!

    • Mystic mallam

      5 years of corruption? There was no corruption before Jonathan? And there’s no corruption now, I mean as you’re writing right this moment? You ought to be smarter than those confused kids running with propaganda over reality?

      • FrNinja

        There was corruption before. But goodluck frittered away over 200 billion in earnings with nothing to show for it. His administration was monumentally wasteful.

        • William Norris

          No he did NOT.

          77% of all Federal budgets go to salary. You do realize that OBJ raised pay for Federal workers by over 200%….which was implemented starting from Yaradua?

          High CRUDE OIL prices lead to INCREASED cost of subsidy. Nigeria generally spends between 10 to 30% of federal budget on subsidy.

          How much money exactly is left after these huge items? Keep deceiving Nigerians. Let them keep hoping for non-existent money.

          Right now as I type this I believe there are ongoing legislative processes to INCREASE government pay again. I think the figure target is to at least double salaries. Why not? The price of crude oil has doubled in the past 2 years.

          • share Idea

            Thanks for enlightening some of these APC e-mob that beleive everything they are told by this lying administration.

            Okonjo Iweala kept complaining when she was serving under GEJ that one of the greatest problem Yaradua/GEJ administration did was to increase salary to a level they did.

            from 7,500 naira under OBJ to 18,000 which indirectly increases other benefits associated with salary.

            That was one of the reason, GEJ administration insisted on removing fuel subsidy as its added cost was having a massive effects on Nigerian savings and running of government.

            The gullible believe that corruption alone was the major problems in Nigeria without putting into perspectives other major hindrances like culture, ethnicity, religion, resources control, absence or lack of strong institutions, and skewed political systems

          • Olusola Olusina Micheal

            so they shouldnt have increased the minimum wage abi? so that they would hav had more to steal and distribute among themselves.spare me the problem with our economy doesnt start with that but due to seriuos andungodly looting ,selfish policies and politics.

          • William Norris

            Do you think government workers in Nigeria are productive?

            What’s your perspective on that? Because it goes 2 ways. You have to produce something to get paid.

          • bigdaddy

            It is unfortunate you dey do bad belle for people receiving a miserly 18k a month!!!! That is/was never the problem. The thieving that took place/is taking place in past and even the present Government is the problem.

          • William Norris

            Are government workers in Nigeria very productive?

          • bigdaddy

            are the politicians productive too? Atleast you can look at it as a social safety net even if they are not. Besides, they spend the money here and contribute to the economy unlike the thieving politicians who take their loot abroad

          • William Norris

            LOL, at least you appear to know what all reasonable people know. Government employees are unproductive, inefficient and CORRUPT. By the way, the Fed Government employs 1 million people. These drones and their overhead consume 75% of the budget. That’s why a few years ago young people were willing to DIE to get employed by the Immigration Service, so they can earn without working!

            There are 37 Water Boards and Corporations in Nigeria. I don’t think any of their employees and managers deserve even ONE NAIRA salary.

            Actually most money generated in Nigeria ends up abroad because a lot of things are imported. Even 2nd hand clothing is a hot item. This foreign oriented consumption is possible because the DOLLAR IS TOO CHEAP in Nigeria. Forex needs to be deregulated ASAP!

            The PEOPLE are no different from the politicians….they’re the same.

          • bigdaddy

            LOL. Glad we agree the clueless one could have shown he has balls by doing the right thing instead of caving in to the protestors. He caved in because he was selfish and trying to make sure he remained president till 2019.

          • William Norris

            That’s what democracy is about….but you prefer the ballsy mass murder of citizens who disagree with the government. At the very least you ought to commend Jonathan for being honest. He PREDICTED the crisis that would result from keeping the PSF subsidy.

            Much better than

            1. Buhari who claimed subsidy didn’t exist

            2. Fashola who claimed that lower crude oil prices should translate to LOWER domestic petrolprices….

            https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/203271-new-petrol-price-nigerians-tackle-fashola-jonathan-era-tweet.html

            and now serves a government that did exactly the OPPOSITE.

            3. Team David West who along with Fashola promised petrol would be 43 with APC in government. How far?

            The people of Nigeria got exactly what they wanted and they’re living with the results. Elections have consequences. This is it…..Enjoy the CHANGE

          • bigdaddy

            We needed the change and it is not working. Now that this one is going the way of the clueless one, we will look for another changi again. Unlike you, many of us call a bad product bad and will not blindly continue supporting thieves and misfits. We gave the APC a chance and they have shown their incompetence like every single bad government we have had in this country. We will not try to justify their failure like you know who with some silly excuses of ” his hands were tied or he was forced to allow fraud to continue”. No my man, we will not do that.

          • bigdaddy

            The fact he was brow beaten into reversing his decision on oil subsidy removal proves he wasted resources. The buck stops at his table just like it does stop at the table of Buhari you keep bashing(deservedly though). Please stop making excuses for GEJ. If he knew he could not handle the heat, he should not have entered the kitchen. Anybody who aspires to lead must be ready to take responsibility for the successes/failures of his administration.
            If he could not do the needful to ensure this country stayed on the path of progress, he should not have thrown his hat into the ring. I personally have no sympathies for any leader who makes silly excuses (like Buhari is doing). Just do the Job or ship out period. Dont come crying to us about being blackmailed to retain oil subsidy or some other cock and bull story. After all he mobilized the army to disperse the protesters with tear gas.

          • William Norris

            Only tear gas? Jonathan didn’t understand that Nigerians love strong leaders. He should have mowed them down with machine guns like Buhari has done with the Shia and IPOB.

          • FrNinja

            Salaries pay for doctors, teachers, engineers. But it was the jonathan administration that refused to implement thr oronsaye report that found that 80% of fgn staff were waec holders, that over one quarter of mdas were duplicating functions.

            Jonathan created more universities without adequately funding existing ones. He blew billions on shoddy renovations of airports, the white elephant kaduna abuja rail line. He sold electricity companies at a loss to briefcase businessmen, handed over npdc oil production to connected businessmen for siphoning. He oversaw dodgy oil licensing rounds. The list can go on and on.

          • William Norris

            GOVERNMENT IS ALWAYS SHODDY, inefficient, wasteful and CORRUPT.

            That is why the PDP policy of reducing government power by privatization and deregulation was a good thing that stimulated and sustained economicgrowth for 16 years.

            That’s why Jonathan deregulated fertilizers. That’s why he wanted to do away with fuel subsidies. That’s the EXACT POINT.

            You want government to WORK WELL….I’m telling you it will NEVER HAPPEN in any country anywhere and I gave you examples even in the great USA. Go read about the States of Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico and many other that are bankrupt, go read about healthcare fraud, go read about fraudulent tax returns that are costing the Federal government of USA hundreds of billions. Ever heard of the US government paying hundreds of dollars for hammers and toilet bowls? It happens ALL THE TIME.

            So HOW do you expect government to work well in NIGERIA? Please….it’s OK, go on and elect the Saint who can make Nigerian government work. We’re waiting.

          • Samson Judah

            You seem in support of handicap system, the people are the leaders, it matters our scope for sustainable and sanity system to make even our family units acceptable.

        • Mystic mallam

          Nothing to show? Are you sure? You may need to check again. My dear, don’t get drunk on the cool-aid of propaganda. Jonathan’s administration was weak, corrupt and profligate, but not any more so than the ones before it, and definitely not any worse than the present one. Some of us are close enough to see it all without being part of it.

          • FrNinja

            Goodluck had over 30 trillion naira at his disposal. He couldnt build critical infrastructure. Did the Lokoja Abuja road not collapse, Enugu-Onitsha, Jebba-Mokwe, Lagos-Ibadan. Go and look at the airports renovated with billions. Leaking roofs, cheap floor tiles. He allocated billions for fighting Boko Haram which was diverted or used to purchase used helicopters. Nobody is absolving Buhari but Tinubu was right he won a gold medal in corruption.

          • Mystic mallam

            Ok, Mr. Ninja, you’ve confirmed it yourself. You’re drinking the cool-aid of APC propaganda.

      • E don do Niaja

        Really Mystic mallam! Hope you did not come to us from PLUTO! When Obama took over from Bush after the Subprime loan disaster he went to work and fixed the American economy. Buhari only commissioned Jonathan’s project with no tangible project so far as we continue to wait for the Chinese loans. Please excuse me!

        • Mystic mallam

          Are you sure you don’t need to re-read my post?

    • Fowad

      I respect you a lot. You speak truth to power even though you could easily become unpopular despite your lofty contributions

  • John Paul

    “Look, the time has come for us to declare an emergency in our finances and implement genuine austerity measures, not the fake one we declared where everyone in government (myself inclusive) is still taking home jumbo pay packets…We are paying our politicians much more than India pays her politicians and we are borrowing to do so while India is producing to pay theirs”
    —————————————————————————————————–
    Exactly !

    At the beginning of this administration, both PMB and his vice president, Osibanjo, took a 50% pay cut in their salary. They put their money were their mouth is. So the time has come for the members of the National Assembly – four hundred and sixty nine (469) of them – to equally put their money were their mouth is by taking a 50% pay cut

    In light of our extant dire economic straits, we should be practicing the less expensive parliamentary system of government, like most advanced countries. Or , at least, a unicameral presidential system of government, and a parliamentary system in our States.

    But since a constitutional amendment, to change our legislative system, is like pulling teeth, Ben Bruce should propose a bill in the Senate, for a 50% pay cut for all members of the National Assembly

    Nigerians will certainly back Ben Bruce should he choose to fight for a 50% pay cut for all the members of our national assembly

    Regarding our exchange rate regime. Sometime last year, our Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, complained that during an eleven (11) year period – 2005 to January, 2016 – Nigeria wasted $66 billion defending the Naira. Instead of spending the $66 billion on investing in our dilapidated infrastructure

    http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/09/19/66bn-spent-on-bureau-de-change-in-11-years

    But today, every week, we hear that the CBN has injected $480 billion, $200 billion, $280 billion, etc, into the forex market. Someone – the CBN or even Alex Otti – needs to set forth for us the cost benefit analysis of all this injection of billions into the forex market

    If Ben Bruce is being sincere, as opposed to posturing for the benefit PDP’s 2019 ambition – the same PDP that looted our resources and created thousands of briefcase billionaires – then he should call for a 50% pay cut of his colleague’s salaries, today

    “When people get wealth they did not work for, what follows would be disastrous for the nation… The more the society produces briefcase billionaires, the more the masses would get more impoverished” – Emir of Kano Mallam Mohammadu Sanusi, II

  • Mr. Wilson

    I thought I was the only one thinking this. I regretted campaigning for this clueless president, and I’ve apologized to everyone I know.

    It’s left for us to remove this government ASAP before they throw this country into anarchy.

    Jonathans government was corrupt, but he was able to perform because of an outstanding team. The Buhari’s government that we felt will be incorruptible, turned out to be also corrupt, and grossly incompetent at the same time.

    We are in a serious mess, and nobody is talking, not even Tinubu who I respect so much. Everybody’s focus is on 2019, but by 2019 I doubt if there would be anything left in our country to campaign for.

    Buhari, pls sack ALL your ministers and advisers and cabinet members, and ask Tinubu or a skilled and experienced administrator to shop for talents to replace them. This is the only country we have, if you keep going down this lane, Nigeria will break into pieces.

    • bigdaddy

      There was nothing Jonathans economic team did to effectively manage our economy. The simple truth is there was alot of money going round to take care of almost everybody’s greed and corruption. The Chickens started coming home to roost in 2014 when oil prices started crashing.

      • William Norris

        The events of Jan 2012 and Occupy Nigeria are a lesson that every Nigerian should take to heart. No matter what you say of Jonathan, he PREDICTED the future. It wasn’t even part of an election campaign, he analyzed information and told Nigerians the bitter truth even when crude oil prices were relatively high.
        Jonathan understood what was good policy and tried to do the right thing when it would have been easier and done the most good
        ————————————————
        Subsidy Removal: I’m Ready For Mass Revolt -Jonathan
        -Find alternative – Agbakoba, Falana, others tell President
        From IHEANACHO NWOSU, Abuja
        Sunday, December 11, 2011

        President Goodluck Jonathan, at the weekend, vowed to take the option of social revolt from Nigerians than back down on his plan to withdraw the subsidy on fuel.
        He said his insistence was informed by his knowledge that Nigeria’s economy will collapse in two years if the subsidy is sustained.
        Sunday Sun learnt President Jonathan stated this at a meeting with the leadership of some civil society organizations at the President Villa in Abuja, which was also attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economic Team, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and her Petroleum Resources counterpart, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
        __________________________
        From Jan 2012 to the time Buhari supposedly “abolished” subsidy in 2016, Nigeria spent at least $25 billion buying fuel that never reached the people. Yet this APC government has been running around trying to borrow $30 billion. Today the government still spends at least $2 billion per year on fuel subsidies, IN ADDITION TO LOSSES THAT CONTINUOUSLY ACCUMMULATE IN THE NNPC.
        The above is the genesis of the current economic crisis. The APC government made it worse by trying to regulate forex prices at a very unrealistic level.
        Nigerians had ample warning. That’s all the EVIDENCE needed to reach a rational conclusion.

        • John Paul

          “From Jan 2012 to the time Buhari supposedly “abolished” subsidy in 2016, Nigeria spent at least $25 billion buying fuel that never reached the people. Yet this APC government has been running around trying to borrow $30 billion”
          ——————————————————————————
          Finally, you have admitted it: it was the psychopathic vermin in PDP that caused our malaise.

          In many other countries, all those people that looted the – “$25 billion buying fuel that never reached the people” – would have lined up, and shot right between the middle of their eyes, or at least, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned

          But in Nigeria, people have the effrontery to blame the victims and not the perpetrators

          No wonder, Nigeria kicked the idiots out of power in 2015

  • William Norris

    For the very first time you’ve written something sensible with concrete and realistic recommendations. Timing is everything though and this is definitely NOT the time.

    How can you ask for Common Sense when the price of CRUDE Oil has more than doubled to over $60 under the present government? Are you OK? That’s a HUGE amount of money, a massive increase in revenue! The foreign reserve is $35 billion right now so what’s the problem? Senator Killjoy na wetin?

    Every Nigerian is very HOPEFUL that when corruption is wiped out, every citizen will get a fair share of the petro-dollars procured by killing, pillaging and trampling the tribes of the Niger Delta.

    That is why they Occupied Nigeria in Jan 2012 and followed up in Mar 2015 by electing the feudal socialist APC that promised ₦5,000 stipend and petrol at ₦45 and cheap reliable electricity in 6 months.

    And that naira exchange rate thing eh…

    —————————————————-
    “Was it not last year that we announced to the world that we are ‘floating’ the Naira? If indeed we are floating the Naira, then why are we predicating an exchange rate of ₦305 to a dollar when the official interbank rate is somewhere around ₦365?

    We must stop the irresponsible habit of food importation which kills our local agricultural industry.”
    ——————————————————–

    Most Nigerians don’t understand that floating the naira will kill or at least drastically reduce food importation AND vastly increase local production.

    Simple – float the naira today and it will likely crash to around 700 – 1000 per $.

    The prices of ALL imports will skyrocket. Nigerians always say well the country doesn’t have the means to manufacture anything but guess what? Nigeria has everything needed to produce FOOD. And once imported food gets expensive, local alternatives will become attractive because they will be MUCH cheaper AFTER an initial price spike which will act as an incentive for massive increase in local production.

    The sad thing is that the PEOPLE of Nigeria will violently resist any devaluation of the naira. In fact defending the naira is one of the prime reasons they voted for APC….they remain HOPEFUL that the promise of $1=1₦ will be achieved very soon….after the fight against corruption is won.

    That’s because as everyone knows, CORRUPTION is the real problem in Nigeria. Not the unitary structure, not the overvalued naira, not property and resource rights. Just fight corruption. Good Luck with that!

    • bigdaddy

      There is no politician in Nigeria that is ready to sacrifice his political career and do the right thing. Floating the Naira will cure alot of the ills of the Nigerian financial system but it will come at a very steep price for the politician that tries that and for the already vulnerable impoverished masses. Many will die, there will be an uptick in crime, BH will get more members and i assure you it will take turning this country into a military state to stop it from imploding.

      We have gone so far down the road to perdition such that there are no fixes to the Nigerian economy without significant social upheavals. We can go the Ebola way like you suggested that kills quickly (and in reality many, many people will die quickly-good thing??) and everything stabilizes in a relatively shorter period for the sake of the few that will survive or we keep the current policy and hope that Nigerians become saints (wishful thinking) and somehow stop stealing and gradually come out of our present mess. The prospects for the latter are slim to none and in reality, people are still dying slowly and we already are experiencing social upheavals that will exponentially increase if your suggestion is implemented – BH, kidnapping, armed robbery, communal clashes, Fulani/farmers clashes etc. Either way, we are damned and i don not see an easy way out of our present predicament.

      • FrNinja

        Floating the naira is not going to build roads or generate power or train engineers or get people to start making toothpicks. It will mean inflation and a significant loss in living standards for the urban class. Exchange rate policy has to be combined with industrial and agricultural policy for economic growth and diversification.

        • Orphic

          In the short term, inflation and living standard erosion will occur, but with sensible planning and efficiency gains these negative variables can be reduced over the medium term.
          Nigeria is like a child refusing to take quinine for life threatening malaria because it is bitter!

          • William Norris

            I don’t think it even requires sensible planning….The efficiency gains will occur naturally.

            I reduced the policy prescription to just forex deregulation precisely because I believe government planning will NOT be possible due to clashing cultures within the Niger-area as currently structured. So just let the market do its work.

          • jellybelly

            Clashing Cultures. Very much so.

          • FrNinja

            Lets say Nigeria is a company like polaroid selling instant cameras whose demand is falling on world markets. It is told to cut prices. Is this a solution for getting into digital cameras or stemming losses?

          • Orphic

            As you probably know most companies faced with a mature market and declining prices for their product would cut prices – in order to eliminate non-selling stock and/or conserve capital deployed, and seek to use such capital to enter markets with better growth opportunities. There is no either/or to such a situation.
            Apple computers faced with competition from the PC market evolved and successfully turned itself into a producer of mobile phones.

        • Iskacountryman

          all that without power?

        • bigdaddy

          Its a first and very important step to correct the distortions in the financial system. Its not a silver bullet that cures all the ailments in the financial system. Remember, we are not discussing the cure for all the malaise afflicting us.

      • William Norris

        The naira has lost over 75% of value in the past 2 years. Count back since 2013 and its over a 100% loss.

        They said Nigerians would die off if fuel prices went to 145 back in 2012.

        They said poor Nigerian could never afford mobile phones.

        Nigerians need to Occupy Nigeria and demand deregulation of forex. They will not die but live. Yeah I was in church on Sunday to pick up a couple of girls. We had a great Day & Night Vigil. God is in control…Toto and Punani have already been privatized and deregulated !

        • bigdaddy

          That loss of value of the naira happened slowly over 2yrs. Remember when the naira was losing value everyday and hyperinflation was the order of the day? Well, that is what awaits if you “freely float”the Naira. Every country places restrictions and safe guards to protect its currency.

        • bigdaddy

          Like i pointed out earlier, no Nigerian politician has the interest of the country at heart. Jonathan is just like every selfish and spineless leader we have the misfortune of having rule this country. His sights were trained solely on being president till 2019 and so could not follow his convictions.