BY Roland Danjuma
IT would have been cheering the news as announced by the Vice President, Prof. Osibanjo and confirmed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele that Nigeria’s economy will soon bolt out of the current recession that has beleaguered and almost pauperized most of its citizens.
The recent economic strategy of the CBN to pump raw dollars into the money market to make the dollar more available for anyone who wants it, is a placebo, not actually strengthening or firming the naira against the dollar or the other foreign currencies.
The Federal Government and CBN, in conspiracy with the international, finance and economic institutions seemed to have agreed on some points that the economic/market index have suddenly began showing positive signs of growth.
What growth is seen by these economic alchemists is not readily discernible by the common man, yet they drink coffee over Champagne washed down with cocktails in agreement that the economy is growing or has appreciated.
The Federal government congratulates itself and the CBN laughs out loud while the international economic institutions wink in knowledge.
Despite the assurances to raise hope and make Nigerians believe that it will get better, the Workers Day, May 1st known as May Day proved otherwise. Infact in Abuja the Headline should read; “MARRED MAY DAY: WORKERS DISRUPT CELEBRATION.
Workers outburst in anger on May Day is just the beginning of the pent up and summering anguish and pain Nigerians are going through.
There is poverty and barefaced starvation across a country revered to be the second largest economy in Africa. In a country that is home to the richest African; more than 30 million Nigerians are hungry due to several factors which are not far-fetched.
Nigerians are at the brink of their patience and can no longer put up with these meaningless sloganeering; ‘we’re tired of the lies and hoodwinking , they’re are saying; that was why May Day celebration turned chaotic and all those in power could not put a hold or control the situation. Is this a sign or harbinger of some ominous situation hanging like the swords of Damocles?
In South Africa, President Zuma had to scamper away with his large number of government officials who had prepared lies and unending meaningless speeches to assuage the pains of the people. Rather the call for the resignation of Mr. Zuma resonated and he was booed.
Back here in Nigeria, the naira neither is firming up against the dollar nor is it appreciating. What the CBN is doing is just lending a third leg to the naira. Let the CBN stop pumping the dollar today and see the fate of the naira.
Prices of commodities and services have so soared that the cause is squarely blamed on the naira losing its value against the dollar; though the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) has congratulated the Federal Government for making dollars readily available. The move has not eased up the soaring inflation and lack of food in the country. No wonder workers are demanding more pay; an increase of the minimum wage to N56, 000.
It is difficult to say what this will lead to but the tell-tale sign is ominous. With more than half of the states not able to pay workers’ salaries for months on end, reviewing the minimum wage of N18, 000 is going to be the magic of the century for these same states to pay N56, 000. And what will be the effect on liquidity in the economy? A loaf of bread will cost N2000. A measure of rice will cost N3000 and a bottle of palm oil will cost N3000. Watch out for this prediction.
In faraway Venezuela, the president is under fire to resign and scores have so far died in protest for the economic hardship in the country.
This is despite the increase the president announced for government workers and the military. There is a global economic palaver; that is what is on.
Nigeria’s government today should read the sign from the Tekel and Parsille. A revolt by workers is worse than insurgency. When civilians are at war, it is a very dangerous phenomenon. And coming out from the economic cold to the fiery reality is the same as suffering in another term.