“The Nigeria foreign reserves will keep depleting until the Nigerian Government make laws and regulation on the products which the population is consuming, as the devastating impacts of uneven trade balances loom due to larger ratio of imported goods compared to exported products and services”
PEGASUS REPORTERS, LAGOS | NOVEMBER 10, 2023
The Nigerian economic landscape, unfortunately, does not appear to seeing any hope of light at the end of the tunnel; although, it could be assumed that the hyperinflated economy is artificial, because the apparent causes of the present day financial disproportion and dwindling standard of living were obviously preventable.
Besides, it is not enough to see the academics, technocrats, and several analysts trying to play to the gallery with their bogus descriptions of the Nigerian economy; there are simple basic knowledge and strategies to maintain any nation’s economy and stabilise the market.
And apparently, it has never been beyond the curriculum of the college economics to vividly understand the drivers of any market and the resultant effect on the national economy at large.
The laws of Demand and Supply, plus the flow and circulation of money in a given country are the basic instruments determining the cost and standard of living of the populace.
Nigeria, with a population of about 214 Million, is the most populated black nation in the world, with about 60% of the population within the ages of 16 and 45 (given a large volume for probable labour/work force), used to depend on Agriculture for over 50% of her Gross Domestic Products, GDP, before the discovery of crude oil/petroleum in Oloibiri, Niger Delta region, in 1956; although, the exploration profiting started in the late 1960s and peaked in 1973, which produced rapid economic growth in transportation, construction, manufacturing and government services.
Thereafter, the exploration and global patronages of petroleum cum the massive influx of money from the sales of crude oil has brought nothing but woes, rather than supposed blessings, to the Nigerian masses.
Moreover, besides the diverted interest of the Nigerian Government from Agricultural production and the sector in general, to the new booming oil and gas; the common masses appears to lose motivation in farming and also refuse to understand what exactly is necessary for survival.
The American Psychologist, Abraham Harold Maslow, stated that the physiological needs of food, clothing, and shelter, are the basic important requirements for survival, and ascending through the hierarchy of the pyramids of human needs might just be subjective; as survival should be prioritized above all other needs, and if the necessary attitudes are in place, what is needed to have the physiological needs met, might, in fact, not be difficult.
The physiological needs means they are essential for living and has to be provided for at all time; nevertheless, the amount of money spent on basic needs at any time ought to be available and affordable.
Sadly, the rising costs of meeting these basic needs has made them elusive and thus leading to unbearable hardship and debilitating living conditions and standard in the country.
However, aside from the social implications of finding it difficult to realize the essence of living in the country, accompanied by a massive brain drain, in the emigration of young able-bodied Nigerians, further plunging the economy into crises, due to diminished labour, the damning future of a failed Nigerian state is imminent if the crises are not mitigated on time.
Nevertheless, to savage the looming hopelessness. It is imperative to look into the underlying causes; and just like in the United States Marine, there is a saying …“if you see it, you can kill it”; accentuates to the idea of knowing the root causes of our challenges and tackling them might be a way to go in order to improve the Nigerian economy rather than transition of different government and political leadership, incessant borrowing of money from world financial institutions or devaluation of the currency.
The little foxes that we have allowed into the economic vines are the major reasons behind the massive suffering plaguing the Nigerian economy at the moment.
Let us take a look into the diagnosis and strategies to manage the challenging situation.
1. Loss of Interest in subsistence and commercial farming and animal husbandry.
Nigeria has a large landmass with good arable lands in the different regions despite heterogeneity of the climatic and atmospheric conditions, different crops are supported, and until a couple of years back, many Nigerians grow their own food and even have overflow at the local markets; even in the least, are households having small plots of lands at the backyards of their residence where vegetables are grown for consumption, however, with the loss of interest in these farming methods and also in the rearing of livestock, the major source of vegetables and other food items has to be in the general market, where supply, would not be able to meet the demand, considering the number of consumers demanding the items.
These market behaviours lead to lower supply and increase in the cost of food items for those who could afford the prices.
With the increase in prices of food in the market, there is financial burden on individual household’s budget, unable to meet or acquire other necessary requirements for their family and also draining reserves/savings and inadvertently, impoverishing them and diminishing the living standards.
An easy way out of this will be the rejuvenation of subsistence farming and also the need of government’s support in provision of mechanization of agricultural practices, permission of land usage, provision of quality seedlings, building of storage and processing facilities and educational training on modern and state of the art technologies in surveillance, protection and production of agricultural instruments, equipment and practices.
Additionally, poultry faming, dairy farming and other animal husbandry techniques and methods should be popularised in local regions in the country and in these ways, jobs are created and wealth is multiplied.
2. Cryptocurrencies, Ponzi schemes and Gambling.
One of the major causes of inflation is increase volume in the circulation of money, and the idea of encouraging multiplication of money with little or no efforts within a very short time has promoted by Cryptocurrencies, Ponzi schemes, gambling and all sorts of online trading are the major reasons behind increase in prices of basic items and commodities in the market, as it appears there is an increase in the purchasing power of many youths, involved in these shady businesses, who are really not contributing economically to the national gross domestic products, hence, depleting the value for money.
Apparently, these are observed and verified by the purchases of ostentatious items by these youths and their ability to pay far more than the value, commodities purchased could offer. This is a major driver of overall increase in prices of goods and services and invariably, cost of living, leaving the common hardworking man struggling to purchase his own essentials in the same market.
The Government and appropriate authorities should take immediate steps and measures in the enactment of laws to abolish these destructive means of earning or closely monitoring and regulating the transactions.
One of the characteristics of money is scarcity and that is where the value comes from; conversely, the increase influx of money from these ‘easy-way-round businesses’ has little or no positive value to the economy.
3. Increase consumerism of imported products.
The Nigeria foreign reserves will keep depleting until the Nigerian Government make laws and regulation on the products which the population is consuming, as the devastating impacts of uneven trade balances loom due to larger ratio of imported goods compared to exported products and services, thus, keeping the international value of naira declining.
In order to attenuate this, the encouragement of locally produced items and increase in the production of exportable goods and services should be our focus.
However, the unfortunate and insatiable taste for foreign items and the idea that those patronizing and consuming these foreign goods are better off had elicited discouraging attitudes among our local production companies.
The consequent effect of all these is making the nation a dumping ground for foreign products and invariably, loss of value of the Naira in the foreign exchange market; and such is apparent with the increasing Dollar rate to Naira at the moment.
The Nigeria Government needs to work out strategies to make available several factors of production, like stabilizing electricity distribution, making power affordable, upgrading machines and training of workers in handling sophisticated modern equipment for production, licensing and permission of land use, thereby increasing massive production of goods and services for exportation.
Additionally, stringent laws should be made against the increasing purchase of overseas products and lifestyles and plausibly, increasing import duties to discourage the purchases or authorities cracking down on mainstream media portraying the patronage of imported items by individuals as corresponding to quality life and a better standard of living than others who consume local products.
4. Lack of Maintenance.
Working in the civil service for seven years made me understood the cause of poverty and lack of growth in the Nigerian economy.
Our institutions and ministries are always purchasing new facilities and items for replacement of damaged and spoilt ones, which should have been simply preserved by proper maintenance or repaired.
These destructive and wasteful attitude keeps up demanding the new version of the facilities, year in, year out; and thus, the higher the demand, the higher the prices, which the suppliers bill the institution, therefore, dwindling our financial reserves and retarding the growth.
The replication of this insensitive spending in almost every sector, parastatal, establishment and ministry is the cause of economic failure and the need for government to keep borrowing money to savage the situation, further plunging the country into economic and financial crises.
The governing bodies should start tasking personnel in charge of facilities to maintain them appropriately and be sure, they are always in good shapes and if possible, harness repairs rather than purchasing new items.
5. The essence of Academic Degrees and Education.
It is imperative to establish that any knowledge that cannot be applied is almost like wasted, and the purpose of education should be to give insights to the causes of national challenges and to make the society and nation better; however, of what use would academic degrees and higher degrees in engineering, science and technology, medicine, economics, architecture and agriculture, if these professional specialities could not produce what to sell at the market, or even internationally, to bring money to the economy and/ or even exported for improved foreign reserves?
Graduates should not just expect lucrative job appointments and salaries based or their good college grades and university degrees without bringing anything sellable or exportable to the market, which could have a positive influence on economic growth.
The tertiary institutions’ managements and education regulatory bodies should be tasked by the government on what should be brought to the market table based on the curriculum and syllabus of the different fields.
Any course of study without commercial value should be merged with other reasonable courses, which are sellable.
6. Partying, revelling, ostentatious purchases, media display of success and exhibitionism.
In our modern world and down to our country, Nigeria, it is the order of the day for individuals, who are not contributing anything to the economy or having a responsible or tangible source of livelihood to display how much they spend on purchasing cars, jewellery, clothes, vacations without being questioned by the appropriate authorities on where their money came from.
Disappointingly, are the workers in the different sectors of government owned ministries, with known salary range, acquiring properties, whose financial worth are far beyond their income and salaries, and yet, no one questions these.
And as a matter of fact, government policy on assets’ declaration might not be necessarily effective as properties could be acquired with forged ownerships.
Notably, when a few privileged individuals begin to possess unregulated enormous amount of purchasing power, they create a financial and social class for themselves and this inadvertently drives the prices of items in the general market; additionally, hardworking individuals with gradual growing wages will begin to lose interest in contributing labour, which adds to the economy and they begin to follow the trend of easy and ‘rich gangs’.
Examples of groups of people falling into these categories are social media influencers, socialites, celebrities and sports’ men.
The Government should get incorruptible personnel in charge of Internal Revenue Service and financial commissions into appropriate questioning, taxing and laws on property ownership.
7. Religious shenanigans on financial blessings.
There is a current wave of madness where pastors begin to pray for their congregation and they begin to receive credit (money) alerts on their phones; furthermore, the acquisitions of landed properties, private aircrafts and luxurious cars by Christian religious leaders should have been checked as their members have suddenly believed in miracles and divine providence as a way to make money and have financial breakthrough rather than labour which should be growing the economy.
These religious centers are not being taxed based on existing laws on taxations, yet, they are businesses generating undisclosed amount of money, such that their leaders acquire properties, home and abroad.
This attitude which does not contribute anything to the economic growth has attrition effect on the Nigeria financial growth.
Policies should be made by authorities to abolish such practices and if plausibly apprehending and questions the clerics in charge of the scams.
Summarily, if our government is sincere enough about bringing solutions to the present day Nigeria economic situation, there are strict measures, which have to be in place.
Furthermore, the easy and huge amount of money or exponentially generated financial resources are not always available to everybody and some workers still believe in dignity in labour with steady growth in their financial income; hence, it will be imperative if the appropriate authorities step in to avoid choking the poor masses by intimidation and high costs of living imposed by the activities of those “who know the way”.
In conclusion, the Nigerian government should learn to be less reliant on petroleum, accounting for about 95% of exportable earnings, and revenue and invest of other sectors Nigeria could sell to the world, perhaps, rejuvenation of agriculture, which presently is struggling at 2% of total exports, as the fluctuation of oil prices at the international market, itself, is a major sledgehammer on the nation’s foreign reserve.
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