After the 2023 General Elections and announcement of results, Nigeria became more divided and fractious. The renewed hope became an agitated aggression.
With the inauguration of a new administration, Nigerians started making new sacrifices and some of them do this with their blood. The only way our leaders found to make Nigeria better is by putting the citizens in a cauldron. The corrupt political leaders feed fat, live luxuriously, spend lavishly and think of how to increase their salaries and emoluments. Fuel subsidy benefit the rich only is the story. The empty rhetoric and promises of the APC-led Federal Government have depressed many Nigerians. The rate of suicide, drug abuse, substance use is higher among young Nigerians. Even female undergraduates are seen smoking ‘weeds’ in their campuses. Nigerian leaders have no plan for vulnerable and indigent citizens. Fuel is everywhere, yet nobody buys it. It will further exacerbate to loss of jobs and unemployment. The informal sector of the economy is almost shut down. The only thing we hear is that the government has been corrupt. Private sector refineries and modular refineries are here but no efficiency and competitiveness to drive down the pump prices.
Normally, every new administration excites hope amongst Nigerians. Nigerians have been deceived and scammed. It is projected that it will take Nigeria $3 trillion by 2050 to meet her infrastructure need. The common advice every State and Federal Government gets is to raise revenue without doing anything. This has put citizens in an untold hardship. Is that a way of attracting investors or chasing them away? Consumption to production economy is still a mirage. Nigeria’s private sector is hampered by high cost of power (energy). Instead of constant supply of electricity, tariffs are increased by 40%. VAT of 7% will not make local industries more competitive. There is no energy security nor welfare care support for the poor.
President Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the governor of Lagos State has overseen the highest revenue-generating state without oil. He turned a ₦600 million per month economy into a ₦10 billion per month economy. Perhaps, he intends to replicate the outcome for Nigeria by realizing ₦400 billion from the removal of fuel subsidy within his first one month in office. How many years do we need to fix Nigeria? Is Nigeria moving forward or backwards? When will Nigerians start feeling better, happier, stop complaining and enjoy the only country they call their own? Nigeria spends 96% of its revenue servicing debt, with the debt-to-revenue ratio rising from 96.3% in 2022 to 98.2% in 2023.
How do we ensure growth and competitiveness in Nigerian economy? The new administration plans to create one million jobs in digital economy. Flight to Europe and US has dropped as economy class ticket hits 2.2 million Naira. African countries like South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire where struggling Nigerians get succour economically are becoming out of reach. Is the government partnering with the private sector? Yes. Is the economy getting revived? No. There is not yet a dominant belief in the private sector. The proper deregulation of the economy to unleash the depth of competition and efficiencies necessary for higher and deeper economic growth and expansion of the economy has not taken place. Opportunities for corruption and bottlenecks that limit the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy has not been reduced. There is no commitment to pursuing inclusive growth which will lift the poor to an improved state of well-being.
Is there a deliberateness in easing the doing of business environment not just for major businesses in Nigeria but for Micro, Small, Medium enterprises; which are the lifeblood of the economy? All we see is tribalism, nepotism, bigotry and destruction of houses, markets by governments. Government has a big role in enhancing the economy not undermining it. We often criticize those who have statistics but does it negate the information and facts shared? What about human capital development? The cost of getting basic education in Nigeria has doubled and the effects will be having a good number of out-of-school children translating to high percentage globally. Teachers (lecturers) in the higher institution were owed 21 months salary or more. How do we intend to achieve education for all? The new administration plans to fix ailing economy – from 3% GDP to 6%, remove inhibitions to foreign trade, unify exchange rate, remove fuel subsidy, develop critical areas such as education, health and creation of jobs. Hitting the ground running some of these have been achieved and we commend the present administration.
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In conclusion, building strong and accountable institutions, including an independent judiciary, effective civil service, and transparent regulatory bodies is important. There is need for fiscal discipline, monetary stability, and market-oriented reforms to attract investments and stimulate economic growth.
Government should address the root causes of insecurity, such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, and social grievances, through targeted social and economic programs. Government must invest in education, healthcare, and social welfare to improve human capital and provide opportunities for all citizens. It is necessary that we speak out on steps taking by our leaders. We may judge them but we do not condemn them in any way. Judging them entails weighing their actions and decisions in the light of what God intends for His people through those in authority.
It is important for governments to prioritize the well-being and prosperity of their citizens. Most political office holders in Africa focus mainly on how to enrich themselves in office.
A responsible government typically focuses on policies that promote economic growth, social welfare, and equitable distribution of resources.