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Nigerian economy: We are in huge financial trouble – Obaseki

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, an economist and former investment banker, at a public forum recently painted a gloomy picture of the Nigerian economy. Below are his exact words:

At the end of the month we all just go to Abuja, we collect money and we come back and we spend. My brothers and sisters, I am an economist, and I am an investment banker; we are in trouble. Huge financial trouble!

First, what we used to rely on, crude oil, forget what we are seeing now, $60, $70 per barrel, it is only a mirage; it is only a question of time. Because, the major oil companies- Shell, Chevron- who are the ones producing; they are no longer investing as much in oil.

Chevron is now one of the world’s largest investors in alternative fuel. Shell is pulling out of Nigeria. So, in another year or so, where would we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC (Federation Account Allocation Committee) for March; the Federal Government printed an additional 50 to 60 billion to top-up for us to share.

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We say remove fuel subsidy, they say no. This April, next week again, we will go to Abuja to share. By the end of this year, our total borrowing is going to be in excess of 15 to 16 trillion. My worry is that we would wake up one day, like Argentina, the naira would be 1000, 2000 to a dollar, and it would keep moving. You can imagine a family, you don’t have money coming in, and you just keep borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back.

And nobody is looking at that; everybody is looking at 2023. Everybody is blaming Mr President as if he is a magician.

So, that change in the world economy which is now affecting Nigeria is going to be one of the major factors that will affect our politics going forward; whether we like it or not.

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