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The magic economy

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SIR: One of the confounding mysteries to a foreign mind is how to fittingly classify the Nigerian economy.  Without basic facilities such as water, electricity, good healthcare and motorable roads, the people are suffering in abject lack. Be that as it may, the daily evidence in the society strongly supports another argument.  There are elaborate weddings and funerals, mansions rising up and exotic cars parading the streets.  These luxuries are not even exclusive to the rich; every citizen aspires to have the most talked about lifestyle

  Although the government is inefficient, the money from sale of oil still leaks into the population through corruption.  Politicians have to flaunt their wealth and they need the small hands to run their errands.  Every Nigerian knows the worth of his or her service so they price accordingly.  It is no longer a secret that Abuja prostitutes charge top politicians in dollars for their services.

  The money coming from Nigerians abroad goes a long way to lubricate the economy.  Many families rely on their relatives overseas for financial support.  In the case of death in a family, many know that this is the most sensitive issue, the small businesses; decoration and events managers, videographers, photographers and caterers arrive for work and their pricing depends on a member living abroad.  It is a bonanza.

  Private businesses do a lot on their own to generate income for the masses.  Be it to raise foreign exchange for importation of goods or to service their local industries, their activities keep the economy moving. What often surprises me is that in most weekends, you will find it very hard to find accommodation in the hotels.  And Nigerians are steadily building luxurious ones every day.  The price of accommodation is not cheap either. Bright young boys and girls find employment in the hotel industry to ease their financial burden.

  Nigerians do whatever they can do to survive.  I think it is human nature. You can find someone with university degree hawking second-hand clothing.  Only the lazy ones feel sorry for themselves.

  And what happens when they get sick?  They go to the hospital or pharmacy, see the native doctor or pastor, or a combination of the above according to the person’s means.  And where the fire dies, they lay down their bones and peacefully retire.  The rudiments of an underground economy are not always visible to scientific observation.  However, this does not diminish its efficacy. After all this is Africa where magic thrives. Why exempt it from the economy?

•Pius Okaneme,

Umuoji, Anambra State.



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