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Nigeria averting the impeding economic doom

By Quadri Fatima Omoyeni
23 December 2019   |   3:21 am
On June 26, 2018, CNN reported that Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty with an estimated 87 million Nigerians living on less than $1.90 a day

It is said that a fool at 40 is a fool forever, sadly this seems to be the part Nigeria is moving towards. Despite turning 40 19 years ago, Nigeria has not seemed to improve but surely this situation will not last forever as Nigeria can bounce back on track by averting the impending economic doom hovering over its head.

On June 26, 2018, CNN reported that Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty with an estimated 87 million Nigerians living on less than $1.90 a day, while this is saddening it’s still not the end as at the end of every tunnel there is a light and surely Nigeria will find it amidst this darkness.

Nigeria’s GDP of $447.01 billion delivers only $2,244 per capita while China has a Gross Domestic Product of $14.21 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund, delivering a per capita income of $10,150, it has become the world’s second-largest economy and No.1 exporter. India’s GDP of $2.97 trillion makes it the world’s fifth-biggest, ahead of the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada at sixth, seventh, eighth and 10th respectively. Brazil, once our peer, pips in at ninth largest with GDP of $1.96 trillion and per capita income of $8,967. Singapore’s per capita GDP of $62,984 is the ninth highest (IMF), South Africa’s is $6,377 despite the country’s economic slowdown.

Although Nigeria’s poverty rate is quite high and had been made public putting our great nation in a shameful position our leaders seem not to have come to terms with the fact that the country is becoming more economically ruined and the masses are suffering as a result of this, the rich keep getting richer and the poor getting poorer but still, there is no improvement as it seems the government have forgotten the promises they made and the people who voted them in.

According to the Debt Management Office website as of June 10, 2019, the Federal Government presently owes ₦13.1 trillion domestically, while the states and FCT owe ₦3.97 trillion, the external debt of the Federal Government, states and FCT stood at ₦7.8 trillion. A statement issued by the office in Abuja said that the debt stock comprises of domestic and external debts of the Federal Government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory he added that the debt which rose by N560 billion was accounted for largely by domestic debt which grew by N458.36 billion, while external debt also increased by N101.64 billion during the same period.

Despite Nigeria’s huge debt burden, the level of corruption in the country is still quite alarming and affecting the economic growth, consequently, projects have become costlier, job execution shadier, basic infrastructure worsening, lack of job opportunities and inability of government to pay civil servants, academic staff union of universities and academic staff union of polytechnics. The result is more insecurity and anxiety among the populace. Yet according to former senator Shehu Sanni a senator receives ₦13.5 million monthly as running cost for his office, what an irony.

BudgIT report said the personnel cost at the federal level had increased from N1.8 trillion in 2017 to N2.1 trillion in 2018; this is an increase of N300 billion. By size, public servants make up just about one per cent of Nigeria’s population, estimated at 200 million, according to the fourth quarter 2016 data from the National Bureau of Statistics. On this score, this group will consume approximately a quarter of the N8.92 trillion budget for 2019 let us not also forget that Nigerian has a 43-man cabinet which is one of the highest, meaning more money will be spent on them.

As soon as possible the federal and state governments must stand up against corruption and introduce equitable wages, incentive systems and improve other conditions of work, this way the level of poverty can be reduced and the quality of life improved. This will reduce civil servants’ vulnerability to corruption and also the expenses of the cabinet should be reduced as they consume too much than the country can afford to spare. International loopholes should be blocked so that corrupt public officials have nowhere to hide, the law enforcement agencies in charge of handling corruption must be given freedom to carry out their duties.

Ultimately Nigeria must improve its educational structure, ensure consistency in terms of polices set to improve the nation as it has become a culture in Nigeria to overlook or scrap polices set by the past administration. While doing this, the government should provide policies that see to the provision of jobs and promotion of other natural resources in the country so as to boost the economy and reduce the country’s dependence on crude oil, this way the country’s economy would improve magnificently.

Omoyeni wrote from Babcock University, Ilishan-remo, Ogun State.