Economic Recession: Is Patience A Solution? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Economic Recession: Is Patience A Solution?

ECA; economic recession, adeosun
Posted: Sep 13, 2016 at 6:13 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Espying with Ogaziechi Nnedi.


The call for patience has always been a potent weapon in the hands of clerics and the clergy to hold the attention of followers and adherents and create an endless hope that sustains loyalty and patronage in the ecclesiastical world.

The concept of religion as an opium is predicated on the fact that without that element of endless hope, oiled by patience, those that seek favour can easily take a walk. The realm of religion does not submit to the reality and precision of science so the staying power of the message rests on the quality of patience and the quantity of hope.

Apparently drawing from this time-tested religious truism, the government of the day believes that no matter how rough or tough the situation in the country might be, Nigerians should remain hopeful and patient. The difference in the two scenarios is that the ecclesiastical world is governed by a force beyond human imagination and since faith underlines the terms of engagement, adherents easily queue up for fear of offending God. After all, the belief is that God’s time does not align to the human timing.

What people find difficult to reconcile with especially against the backdrop of the huge governance gaps is the kind of patience demanded from them when they cannot put a finger on critical steps being taken by government to address the problems of the country on short, medium and long term basis.

The argument out there especially amongst economists points to the fact that we do not have the necessary monetary and economic policies that can raise the hopes that at least there is a road map to dealing with the huge challenges in the country.

The economists are not alone as even communication experts are of the opinion that the vibes coming out of government as far as approach to fixing the mess are at best mere Barbel. If one attends five different fora mounted at the behest of the agencies of government, the views and the take away from such platforms show that there are no clear cut definite government policy directions on how to pull the country out of recession.

Just a fortnight ago at a forum, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo sounded very enthusiastic about what the government was doing to quickly take the country out of recession. On specifics, he mentioned such steps as economic diversification and ensuring that crude oil pipelines are not blown up. Really? On what then would Nigerians build hope and for what would they be patient when such obvious pedestrian intervention is being proposed by the chairman of the economic team in such a critical economic conversation?

Economic diversification has turned into a cliché in Nigeria’s economic lexicon and even if the present government would not pay lip service to it like their predecessors, thinking Nigerians know that it cannot be a quick fix given our current infrastructural base. Assuming too that Nigeria meets with her OPEC quota in crude oil exports, how much can we realise given the current crude oil price in the international market? One therefore wonders how these two issues can be considered the panacea for the present economic recession given the Vice President’s narrative.

It amounts to wishful thinking for anyone to believe that there can be any way out of our economic crises if we refuse to think out of the box by deploying the knowledge of economic experts. There seems to be a consensus by developmental economists and public policy experts that there are policy gaps that require urgent action by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Finance and the President’ s economic team.

Nigerians are tired of being bugged down with acronyms from successive governments. It is only in Nigeria that citizens are bothered with calculating electricity megawatts. However, in reality, citizens are forced to provide alternative energy (with the attendant environmental pollution) sources even as the electricity companies across the land supply more of darkness. No matter the good intentions behind the TSA policy, its overall impact might need a re-evaluation so that we do not end up with cutting our nose to spite our face.

There might be need to look at the interest rates charged by banks on loans, the compliance level of banks extending credit facilities to businesses that are critical to economic development and the issue of huge idle funds in the vaults of the Central bank of Nigeria. A tweak in all these would go a long way in reflating the economy, put businesses back, re-absorb sacked workers and create more jobs.

The patience demanded of Nigerians must be based on discernible policy direction that holds hope. A situation where patience has turned into a policy to draw confidence and support might be counter productive.

The government should be humble enough to search for options and seek alternatives because the situation on ground requires creative engagement and only people with learning curve advantage can provide answers to our economic problems.