I have raised several alarms concerning the dance steps of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the National Economy. Those who have knowledge of the workings of western democracies would agree that most advanced economies are surviving on the ruins of developing countries, especially in Africa. A robust African economy is seen as a major threat to European and American economies. They have therefore hidden behind the World Bank and IMF to prescribe fiscal policies that will give them undue advantage over Africa. Some of these policies include subsidy removal, currency devaluation, and sabotage of critical sectors of the national economies of developing countries.
Unknown to many, the United States and most European countries subsidize critical components of their national economies to safeguard the populace but pressure African governments through the World bank and IMF to do away with subsidy. The aim is to push more citizens in to poverty and instigate socio-political instability.
The primary reason why both the World Bank and IMF prescribe currency devaluation for African countries is to enable western investors grab key economic sectors on the continent. It is also true that western governments are behind the inability of most African countries to have reliable power, transport, health care, and educational system. They perpetrate this socio-economic crime partly by aiding and abetting corruption in governments across the continent. They know that corruption is the easiest way to destroy a country. It is mainly for this reason that they have made it very easy for Africans to invest or lodge proceeds from corruption in American and European financial institutions.
The first major trap they (enemies of Nigeria) set against President Goodluck Jonathan was the removal of fuel subsidy. They made the president believe that subsidy was evil. This is a big lie! The United States and EU all run various subsidy regimes. Subsidy is a temporary fiscal policy that is put in place to protect critical national interests. Fuel subsidy is mostly to help producers cover losses suffered as a result of government’s policy to keep prices down for the sake of the poor masses. Unfortunately, a few criminal elements within and outside the country abused and gave the process a bad name.
Being (one of ) the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, Nigeria had no reason to import fuel products. The culture of fuel imports was created by a cartel to milk the nation dry. Even when the need arose for imports pending when our refineries would begin to operate at optimum capacity, not effort was made to monitor the activities of the importers. Okonjo-Iweala and Sanusi were busy shouting at the top of their voices that Nigeria will get broke if fuel subsidy was not removed. They could afford to buy a liter of petrol at N500 but cared less about the rest 70% that is unable to eat one descent meal a day.
Whether they like it or not, it was the Hon. Farouk Lawan-led ad-Hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives that forced Okonjo-Iweala to do what she was supposed to do right from the beginning. Like Sanusi, her alarms were clearly deceptive. Today, the whole world knows that the fuel subsidy regime, which was aimed at helping poor Nigerians cope with the high cost fuel, goods, and services was unnecessarily tainted with all sorts of shallow arguments by the Finance ministry and CBN.
These false alarm raised by Sanusi and Okonjo-Iweala only helped to damage the image of Nigerians abroad. The international community is shocked that there are no credible Nigerians to manage ordinary fuel subsidy scheme. The best way government could fight corruption in the NNPC, PPPRA, Customs, armed forces, and police was to remove fuel subsidy. In the opinion of Sanusi and Okonjo-Iweala, the best way to treat headache is to cut off the head! President Goodluck Jonathan needs to be very careful. He cannot actually see the hearts of his lieutenants but the elders say the dance steps of a man betrays the contents of his heart.
To confirm that the fuel subsidy removal was a trap set up to destabilize President Jonathan’s administration, the CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi told the whole world while speaking at the 5th Annual Microfinance Conference and Entrepreneurship Award in Abuja that a staggering 70% of the Nigerian population is living below poverty line. The same Sanusi turned around quickly to argue that these 70% Nigerians who are already living below poverty line could withstand a further weakening of their purchasing power when fuel subsidy is removed. Who was not aware that the removal of fuel subsidy will translate to an increase in the pump price of petrol and go on to distort the prices of goods and services that has direct or indirect link with petrol. I do not know of any good or service in Nigeria that has no link with petrol. By the grace of God, the president was able to use wisdom to survive the plot.
Only recently, the second plot was hatched. Despite the arguments in many quarters that Nigeria was not ripe for a cashless economy, the CBN governor in his traditional arrogance forced it down the throat of Nigerians. Before we could come to terms with it, news of plans to introduce a N5,000 note flooded the media. How would this support the cashless policy of government, combat inflation, fight corruption, and reduce poverty? The whole thing is clearly directed at President Goodluck Jonathan. They want to make him unpopular with the masses. What Nigerians need now are fiscal policies that will fight corruption and poverty. The proposed N5,000 note will not achieve any of these. The decision to place the portrait of three prominent Nigerian women on the proposed currency is a cheap way to bribe a nation already sympathetic to the cause of the womenfolk.
Watch your back, President Watch!
CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower,
2, Green Villa-Customs Link Road,
Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.