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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Dear Nigerians, General Buhari’s Sketchy Economic Policies Will Tank Nigeria (READ)

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by Uwem Herman Inyang

It’s my humble desire that anyone who has been following my editorials has been reflective of the contents.

As promised, today we look at the Economy or better say, the Economic policies of General Muhammed Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and what he plans to do and the how. Remember that I do not intend to compare what President Goodluck Jonathan has done to what Buhari could do. That is not the essence of me writing these notes as the elections day draw nigh. My REAL concern is that people go to the polling booths with something in mind. Something to nullify the endless and mindless yells of APC’s “change” that has got our ears ringing for months now.

You can read the previous editorial in this series, Why General Buhari Is Grossly Unqualified To Be President Of Nigeria (READ), Why General Buhari’s ‘Integrity’ Image Is The Fraud Of The Century (READ), For A Former Army General, Buhari Comes Very Short On His Views On Security (READ), and Opinion: Dear Nigerians, The Moment Of Decision Is Here (READ).

Something practical and something you can reasonably hold on to. You see, I could post diagrams, histograms and graphs narrating Jonathan’s progress in this sector, but my conscience reminds me that what matters is the trickling down effect on the people. Then I stop and ask myself, does Buhari have any economic programs that he has actually told us about? Isn’t it what we have been waiting for, for ages? The best we get are snippets here, snippets there. This is what debates are for, you know? Personally speaking, I have never seen where someone is gunning for such a top job and blueprints are so sketchy and near empty.

Why do I say so with all due respect?

I have only heard him talk just ONCE about the economics of Nigeria, and read TWICE about his answers on our economy. Maybe THREE times you know… A bit hard to keep up with these tiny drops coming from a camp that think brooms can shield/protect far more than an umbrella. And the truth of the matter is that he is the challenger. He is the one saying GEJ has not done well. He is the one claiming to have the magic wand. Yet, he is the same ONE to shy away from telling the people in words how can do better. Do I start with the first or the latest gaff?

In the world of this Buhari candidacy where the goalpost is never what it’s meant to be, you are lucky to catch a straw of what he says and dwell on it. You are privileged to place it on the altar of comparison without possibly falling off the chair laughing sometimes. I’m serious. If not, how does equating the dollar to the naira sound to you then? No strategies given. No modalities explained as to how. Nothing! You are expected to just get carried away with the message and take it to town.

It’s like someone telling you to go to bed, wake up the next day and check your account for some lottery money that you did not even buy a raffle ticket for. After all, the “special one” called Muhammadu Buhari said so, therefore, it must work. Marvellous!

The only time I heard Buhari manage to say something when he was asked what his plans were to “revive” a deficit economy was his “cutting wastage” response. How and where these cuts would exist were a distant guess. The second time was in an interview with ThisDay Newsprint where he went off on a tangent and spoke about the Armed Forces when asked a similar question. As vague as vague could be. Or something like when he forced the prices of commodities irrespective of market forces (years of 1983/1984/1985) in a sinusoidal manner.

If we are to look at his party’s manifesto (that’s a tedious job isn’t it?), they have promised to pay unemployment benefits of N5,000 per person and per month. Once again, there is no mathematics to this bold and audacious plan.

There are hardly any statistics to back up what they think is a possible projection or calculation. No explanations whatsoever by these change gladiators in a country struggling with genuine census figures. It’s simply something that is supposed to sound very elastic on paper, while its application could end up being quite catastrophic in real practice. To cut a long story short, there is no data analysis of this proposed plan.

Hollow, shabby and scrappy fits the bill…

Let’s see it this way then. In a country of 170 million citizens, I would infer logically that at least 20 million of this number are both unemployed and of workable age. That’s a modest estimation I think. So if we go by the monies to be paid out by Buhari and his team of crack (quack may be more apt here though) economists, we are talking of N100 billion monthly. By the end of 12 months (according to the statistics of Prof Buhari), we will be spending N1.2trillion on unemployment benefits. That’s some brilliant stuff there. Or don’t you think so?

We haven’t added the supposedly N40,000 for every NYSC member monthly if and when this economic maverick takes over power. But yet again, in the Arise TV interview I watched Buhari speak, he talked of cutting expenses and curbing wastage. How this is all supposed to work with hefty payments going out as well remains beyond my basic understanding of Economics. Fair to say that it’s simply a method that does not exist, or is aimed at leaving you more dazed and confused.

Notice I have ignored the stabilising of oil prices by the “73” year old economic guru? I mean, where Buhari would go to OPEC and force the prices down like he did in Nigeria during his mindless reign.

These series as I promised were all about the basics. Nothing complicated really than what anyone should be able to read, substantiate and then understand. You see, when a candidate gives you little to analyse or work on, you may not be wrong if you begin to view the same presidential aspirant as a comedian not fully aware of his comical prowess. You could be forgiven if you even go ahead and invent stuff along the way (I’m not doing that here anyway as everything has proof), but this is why debating is a compulsion.

This is why talking to the masses and answering their questions is mandatory. Shying away makes you look like a timeless gambler which in this particular scenario, is pathetically true.

In any case, here are some verbatim quotes from IBB’s coup speech when he took over in 1985. A timely reminder… Quite curious and something to remember too I believe. Especially when Buhari has made some promises that Obama would not dare make.

[pull_quote_center]“The last twenty months have not witnessed any significant changes in the national economy. Contrary to expectations, we have so far been subjected to a steady deterioration in the general standard of living; and intolerable suffering by the ordinary Nigerians have risen higher, scarcity of commodities has increased, hospitals still remain mere consulting clinics, while educational institutions are on the brink of decay. Unemployment has stretched to critical dimensions. Due to the stalemate, which arose in negotiation with the International Monetary Fund, the former government embarked on a series of counter-trade agreements. Under the counter-trade agreements, Nigerians were forced to buy goods and commodities at higher prices than obtained in the international market. The government intends to review the whole issue of counter-trade.”[/pull_quote_center]

Get the picture? For a man who has no further knowledge of how an economy is run to now come out and promise another windfall where naira will match the dollars is drowsy. It’s not just lousy, but it’s also flimsy and scary.

Elections are about options, and options are about what’s in front of you to choose from.

If we are to even consider how Tinubu used Prof Osinbajo as his personal/official lawyer to extract such financial sums from Lagos State alone in taxation, will we not be worried with what will happen to the national coffers since Buhari is fast ageing with a poor memory as it stands?

Are people really thinking of the deep implications if these lot ever get there? I am.

What Charles Taylor did to Liberia where he once controlled 70% of their diamond proceeds might be childs play. That aside, when anyone makes you a bogus promise and then shuns all avenues where the defence and practicality of these promises are to be scrutinised, you simply have to think again. Or just run away from such a people.

Well, I’m not an Economist myself, but I am equally not a novice where economical matters are discussed. I’m Mathematically a realist and by study too, so I always critically look at these things myself.

Buhari cannot be trusted! His ideas are too old, antiquated and outdated. This is 2015 for crying out loud and we cannot afford to gamble with the affairs of our dear country on someone so conversant with cow rearing economics like this. His 150 cows have been a constant and that shows he is well stagnant. I mean, there is nothing suggesting that Buhari has a clue or grasp on issues. President Jonathan remains our safest bet.

In a nutshell, there is no vacancy in Aso Rock! Touch not Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and let him remain there till 2019. Tomorrow we shall a close look at matters that border on Security as one of the focal points for the Presidential election.

Uwem Inyang is an engineer and a political analyst. He is on Facebook

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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