• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Taming inflation, ending insecurity: A “war council” for Nigeria’s economy

Nigeria’s $3.2bn aluminium sinkhole sit idle for 27 years

Nigeria’s economy faces a war on two fronts: runaway inflation and escalating insecurity. The rising cost of living is crippling Nigerians, while violence disrupts livelihoods and food production. In this critical moment, the nation needs a decisive response – a “war council” specifically focused on taming inflation and ending insecurity. This non-partisan body, composed of economic and security experts, can craft a unified strategy to combat these intertwined crises and steer Nigeria towards a more stable and prosperous future.

Read also: Can Nigeria economy be liberated?

Vice President Kashim Shettima addressed the nation on Tuesday, 20 February, highlighting the presence of “forces hell-bent on pulling Nigeria down.” In response to this existential threat, what measures has the Federal Government undertaken? An appeal for patience accompanies the implementation of “painful reforms,” emphasising the necessity for these measures to yield results.

According to Shettima, evil people, among whom he lists opposition politicians and smugglers, are determined to pull the nation backwards and contribute to the present difficulties.

Nigerians agree with Shettima that the economic policies of the government and its efforts at reform have induced tremendous hardship that is more horrific than the instance 40 years back during the Mohammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida SAP exercise.

Shetimma’s accounting of the problem at the Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) points to a different direction for the issues and, more significantly, its solution. “Forces are hell-bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy. Those who could not get to power through the ballot box, instead of waiting till 2027, are so desperate,” he stated.

However, the VP unwittingly pointed out the problem and its resolution in the next breath. He said the government intercepted and stopped 45 trucks of maize at midnight on Sunday as they sought to cross the border.

He said: “Just three nights ago, 45 trucks of maize were caught being transported to neighbouring countries. Just in that Ilela axis, there are 32 illegal smuggling routes. And the moment those foodstuffs were intercepted, the price of maize came down by N10,000. It came down from N60,000 to N50,000. So, some forces are hell-bent on undermining our nation, but this is the time for us to merge into a singular entity”.

MR VP unwittingly pointed to one of several solutions to the looming chaos in the country. The government should govern! Yes, govern.

Citizens need more effective governance. When border security roused itself to perform at the notorious Ilela border, they stopped the smugglers. The security agents identified and destroyed them, unlike the traditional tales of “spirits” taking things out of the country.

Items spirited out over the years of lack of enforcement include our crude oil, agricultural produce, premium motor spirit, and various consumables produced in Nigeria. The laxity of the Nigerian government turned our country into both a dump and a source for illegal importation and exportation of items. We constantly lose revenue and more.

Read also: World Bank, UN see recovery for Nigeria economy in 2024

As we pointed out in our recent front-page comment, Nigeria stands at a crossroads. Besieged by a multifaceted war – insecurity, economic turmoil, and widespread citizen disenchantment – the nation urgently needs decisive action. The time for incremental steps and fragmented approaches is over. We need a unified front, a War Council, to strategise and lead the fight for Nigeria’s survival and revival.

Q: “The war is not just about safety, but survival, with food production plummeting and inflation spiralling.”

Take charge, President Bola Tinubu, as the Field Marshal and leader of the War Council, as numerous battlegrounds await your command.

Security is a lifeline in this region, with constant threats from Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, and farmer-herder clashes causing significant loss of life and resources. The war is not just about safety, but survival, with food production plummeting and inflation spiralling.

To win, a comprehensive security strategy, improved intelligence gathering, a well-trained force, and genuine community engagement are needed. This war cannot be won from a distance, as it requires the hearts and minds of the people on our side. By focusing on these aspects, we can turn the tide and build a future free from fear, ensuring the safety and stability of communities in this region.

Runaway inflation, currency devaluation, and rising unemployment cripple Nigerians. The cost of living skyrockets while wages stagnate, pushing millions more profoundly into poverty. This economic war requires bold reforms, diversification away from oil dependence, tackling corruption, and fostering an environment conducive to job creation and investment.

Apathy, frustration, and anger simmer among citizens. Broken promises, unaddressed grievances, and a perceived lack of leadership fuel this internal war. Rebuilding trust requires transparency, accountability, genuine dialogue, and demonstrably improved governance.

A war council, composed of diverse and competent Nigerians representing critical sectors – security, economy, civil society, and faith-based groups – can be the answer. This non-partisan body, led by a respected figure, should develop a united strategy, coordinate efforts, mobilise resources, and communicate effectively.

The strategic thrust is that the multifrontal wars are interconnected. The “war council” should craft a holistic plan with clear objectives, timelines and measurable outcomes. Someone should coordinate the efforts, break down silos between government agencies and ensure unified action.

Nigeria should mobilise local and international resources. Please show me your friends. Diplomacy is critical now to identify the true friends of Nigeria. We need funding, technology, and expertise to fight these wars.

Read also: FG inaugurates committee for Nigeria Digital Identification

Significantly, the government must communicate effectively as one. It must inform and regularly engage the public to foster transparency, trust, and shared purpose.

There must be coordinated efforts. Break down silos between government agencies, security forces, and civil society, ensuring unified action and efficient resource allocation.

Resource mobilisation is critical. Seek domestic and international partnerships to secure funding, technology, and expertise necessary to fight these wars.

To move forward, the government can convene a Security Summit with all stakeholders. This summit could be used to develop a comprehensive security strategy that clearly outlines lines of command and establishes a framework for accountability. In parallel, a robust economic recovery plan can be crafted. This plan should address the key economic challenges of inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates.

Furthermore, fostering dialogue and reconciliation is crucial. By moving away from blame games and finger-pointing, the government can help unite the nation.

Overall, a transparent and demonstrably effective anti-corruption drive will be essential to rebuild public trust.