Economic Recovery: Restructuring Nigeria’s farming industry

“We are a farming nation that imports most of our basic food staples”- President Buhari, on June 14th, wrote in an article titled “The Three changes Nigeria needs” which was published on America Wall Street Journal, WSJ.

Despite the fact that government levies imposed on farmers are soaring and the rate of farm bankruptcies is growing in developed countries, farmers are not willing to relocate to the developing nations where their costs can be much lower. This is striking given that foreign industries in the business of non-farm product and services progressively move into some developing nations where they can save costs and also sell at high prices that gives them room for a high profit margin.

Accountably, numerous foreign owned or affiliated telecommunication, technology, entertainment, chemical, petrochemical, petroleum, civil engineering and other manufacturing organizations have relocated outside of their home countries to many developing part of world, like Africa, due the cost- benefits they tend to get. However, across Africa and Nigeria in particular, it is still quite difficult to find expatriates or foreign organisations that are into the farming.

Notably, the oil and gas industry in Nigeria is a huge employer of foreign resources like funds, labour and other technical support. It goes without denying that both the foreign resources and the foreign oil economy significantly helped Nigeria’s economy to tower increasingly. Oil became too relevant to our economic as the nation became overly dependent on petroleum for its prosperity and survival. In fact, reasons as to why Nigeria is regarded as a mono-product economy is because of the quite important role oil played in the formation and transformation of Nigeria’s economy.

Historically, before the advent of the oil boom in the nation, farming was the principal booster of our economy. Thus, oil took the place of agriculture in the nation as a major shift between oil and farming in our nation dates as far back as the discovery of oil in the Niger-Delta region. However, oil did not only takeaway the resourceful attention of our leaders from farming, it took-out farmlands from the oil communities as the mining activities of the crude oil constituted the degradation and infertility of the communities’ land – particularly the Ogoni community where oil was first found.

Oil spillage and environmental pollution that were as a result of the mining activities of crude grossly depleted the environment, paralyzing both land and water farming activities. Fishing activities which were a major source of income for the community and the indigenes was stalled as the water became unhealthy for both the fish and the fishers. The land was also made unfit for planting and the farmers. Today, we are an oil-rich nation that imports most of our gasoline. Worse off, we are also a farming nation that imports most of our basic food staples.

Commendably, even though series of compensation in cash and in kind have been periodically given to the affected communities which have suffered from environmental degradation for many years, the Ogoniland witnessed the flag-off of the Ogoni clean-up exercise launched by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo today 2nd of June. As if a dejavu, the flag off was launched on the same spot to President Buhari commissioned a fish farm project in Bodo, Ogoni land, 32 years ago. The project was since destroyed as result of oil pollution.

However, the cleaning up of the Ogoniland and other affected communities is not sufficient to restore the significant role farming played in region and nation at large. The restoration of the glory days farming can only be regained via effective structural reforms that are capable of catapulting Nigeria into astonishing economic heights.

Re- structurally, there ought to be an increase in the engagement of foreign organisations or experts that are into farming. Concertedly, they can bring-in their resources, technical support and other forms of assistance to facilitate our farming system. Their engagement will successfully help in growing our farming system like our oil and gas industry was helped by foreigner experts to boom. They will teach us how to practise sustainable farming both in the urban and rural areas in a way that will increase our actual exportation of farm goods and services and also improve the quality of the outcome of our farming practices. Together with the help of our natural fantastic climatic conditions, the integration of international efforts into our farming system will help the nation to maximize her large expanse of agricultural dry- land, water-land and the water bodies in a way that will evidently benefit the economy.

The engagement of the foreign farming organization will also facilitate the involvement of our indigenous young graduates in farming as they will be interested in working in foreign-based farming organizations where o proper structures and world best practices is often adopted and observed to the latter. The involvement of our youth in farming will further enhance the realisation of the dreams of youngest graduates and other young people in the nation. The absorption of young people into the farming Industry will further help in tackling our national employment crises as youth(graduates) can be adequately trained and positioned for the overall growth of the nation’s GDP. In the same light, on the platform of foreign engagement, more and more young graduates will easily see the bright future of the nation’s farming sector as the youths’ sense of gainful employment will be improved.

Pathetically, just like farmlands are typically appraised at rates below their true market value to keep levies affordable for farmers, the farming profession is also appreciated below it’s true value which has made both young and old people to unfairly marginalized the profession. Though this is quite due to the negligence and lack of due diligence by youngest people, it is at the general detriment of our economy. As such, graduates are urged not to marginalize the farming profession for whatever reason that is based on today’s status-quo of farming in our economy. Farming holds the future of our nation and the early we resume the future with our hands, the better.

However, while the profession of farming is increasingly devalued at the detriment of our national growth and development, the devaluation of farming lands may not be as dis-advantageous to our economy. In other words, in order to boost economic activities in the farming sector, farm lands may be undervalued in an effort to make it affordable for farmers to buy or bear other imposed levies. High cost of farmland and operational cost stalls farmland deals and general farming activities. When costs are too onerous, business becomes too tedious or strenuous.

Turning the table around, farmlands may also be optimally valued. It may be advisable to value lands that are being used for farming with a method that is not only based on Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV). That is, adequate consideration should also be given to Potential Agricultural Use Value (PAUV) of the farmland. In other words, farmlands should not only be appraised on the current net income farmers earn from their farms. The appraisal should also be based on the future income the farmers can earn having optimized their farming resources and practices.

The optimum valuation of farmlands will enhance the use of farmlands as collateral and further stimulate the interest of both local and international investors. Also, because the high value of a property indicates its increased feasibility, investors can trust or dare to pump in more money into farming business, having seen or perceived farming businesses to have less risk and high yield. Also, banks can progressively gain inroads into the farming industry and launch fully into the agricultural space.

Generally, farming at the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) or the present incomes of farmers is comparatively low to other booming industries. However, farming holds a high Potential Agricultural Use Value (PAUV) or future income that is even greater than the petroleum industry. Farm incomes are now on the rise due to higher export demand and increased prices of farm produce. That is, current agricultural use value (CAUV) and present the income of farmers is already increasing as the Potential Agricultural Use Value (PAUV) is steadily being realised.

The government must also endeavour to keep imposed levies, like tax, minimal both during the period of boom and burst. Government may grant relief especially when prices of farm produces begin to fall. They also should be modest in their legislative movement towards imposed levies. In an attempt to reduce the prices of imposed levies like farm taxes and other levies, the tax values may be calculated only on current agricultural use value (CAUV) or present the income a farmer which is likely to be low. In corollary, Infrastructures that enhances farming should be put so that cost of operation becomes reduced as high cost squeezes profit margins of almost any business. Thus, the government need to focus on the farming industry in a quite strategic way that will give adequate incentives to farmers.

In conclusion, importantly, we need to restructure the farming sector via the progressive engagement of international and our government support in a way that will enhance our locally grown foods and thrive our export market. Also, we need to restructure the farming sector in a manner that will promote the involvement of young graduates in the farming industry. A good rise in the number of farmers between 25 and 34 years in our farming industry will further create a bright spot in the present economic darkness Nigeria is undergoing.

Farming is quite imperative following the huge fall in oil prices, global warming, and other effluents of globalisation that are increasingly affecting the world, particularly Africa. More so, bearing in mind that even though Africa contributed comparatively low to the growth of global warming, we are at the receiving end of it. As such, in other to attain a sustainable and diversified economy in our nation, farming is a great way to marry our socio-economic and environmental goals. We have remained at the crossroad of the diversification of our economy for too long, farming is the way to go.

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The perfection and imperfection of the proposed 4th mainland bridge

While basking in the euphoria of the announcement about the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to commence the construction of the 38km 4th Mainland Bridge by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday the 25th of May, 2016, we need to be mindful of the tiny foxes that may spoil the vine.  In other words, our government need to be watchful so that they do not oversight the important details that may cause the pen of undue diligence to overwrite the major advantages of the bridge.

Obviously the many years of awaiting the bridge were not wasted as the government ensured the scoping of quite suitable paths for the bridge. Accordingly, the proposed alignment of the bridge will pass through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeiku towns along the shoreline of the Lagos Lagoon estuaries, further running through Igbogbo River Basin and crossing the Lagos Lagoon estuaries to Itamaga Area in Ikorodu. Further, the alignment will also cross through the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu – Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos Ibadan Expressway at Ojodu Berger axis.

Recently, the Lagos State Government also disclosed the new alignment will also save 2,200 houses from demolition as against old alignment which was to claim over 3,000 houses. By implication, just about 800 houses will be demolished for Fourth Mainland Bridge. In other words, the new alignment of the bridge has reduced the huge economic losses to state as the government has saved over 73 percent of cost of demolition and resettlement of indigenes. In the same way, the social cost to the state has also drastically reduced as fewer persons/households and communities will be displaced from their present location.

Also, the attributes of the bridge itself adequately compliments the suitability of path, the scope of the bridge promises to cover or comb. It is given that the bridge will feature a four-lane dual carriageway with each comprising three lanes and two metres hard shoulder on each side which will incorporate a generous median to allow for both future carriageway expansion and light rail facility. The bridge, among others would also accommodate cyclists and pedestrians and feature two service areas as well as additional pedestrian crossing.

Truly, there is no gainsaying on the fact that magnanimous benefits will be derived from this project as the features and the scope-path or alignment of the bridge ensures that it will cut travel/commute times and ease roadway traffic. The bridge will create shortcuts through notable routes that will redirect traffic from the overly congested exceeding roads and bridges. It will serve as an alternative route to the eastern axis and decongest traffic in the State.

Also, the axis the bridge is destined to cut across will also improve trade as it will provide the required transportation compliment to the rapidly growing industrial activities on the Eti-Osa – Lekki – Epe corridor of the State. Objectively, the bridge is a broad project aimed to strategically re-direct the haulage of goods on roads and decongest traffic amid concerns that vehicles, particular heavy trucks, are increasingly destroying the roads of the state. In addition, the bridge will save time as movement can now be done faster. It will increase the number of persons, goods and services that can be carried through the roads in the states. Thus, the bridge is principally geared towards economic growth of the state via increased commercial activities, especially considering the phenomenal population growth of the State with over 21 million people.

Quite importantly, the alignment of the bridge has a global impact as it will also reduce the air pollution spewed from traveling vehicles and huge trucks as travel time reduces. In line with sustainable development goals and the U.N. climate change summit held in Paris last year, the bridge will effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The alignment of the bridge will lead to increased unity among the adjoining axis and the state as a whole. The construction of the bridge will enhance connectivity as it would be made up of eight interchanges to facilitate effective interconnectivity between different parts of the State. The alignment of bridge will not only eclipse one area or axis to another but will further unite the areas like never before to areas across the third mainland bridge- which generally make up the major Central Business District of the state.

Interestingly, despite the current discord in the other part of the country and the world in general, the bridge will bring about inclusive growth vide the unity the bridge promises. Thus, the bridge will help to build a future that is inclusive — not divisive. That is, the bridge promises a future that is not only favourable to higher income earners,   but  it also  promotes increasing upward mobility and less inequality. Though,  the bridge may contrast  the disparity of the society, it expands the peoples’ diversity as it recognises evenness among the people and locations. Suffice to say, the bridge is honourable to the common man in the state.

Also, the bridge will make the  life of Lagosians, particularly the people in that  axis, more and more comfortable as it will bring convenience into the road-transport system in the state. That is, the quality of life of the people will be improved as the imputation of convenience into the transport sector in the state is also a key requirement for the sustenance of economic growth in the State.

However, the questions abound beyond the schedule and cost of the project. That is, questions are not just a matter of if the massive project will be brought in on time and on budget as the bridge is expected to gulp N844billion and is to be delivered in three years. The bridge is unique in at least two ways; one, it is the first time in the history of the state, that the government will be embarking on the construction of this kind of  lengthy  bridge which is put at 38km. Two, the project is to be solely funded by the  private sector as it is also going to be the first time a bridge of this calibre would be created without Federal funding. Presently the longest bridge in the state is third mainland bridge which is among the more than 28 bridges the federal government owns in the state. In other words, the forth mainland bridge  will be dethroning the third mainland and other historic bridges in Africa.

If not for any other reason, the first-time nature of this project to the state government are bound to give room for pitfalls in the planning and construction of the bridge. As disclosed by the  governor, the bridge would accommodate three Toll Plazas incorporating state-of-the-art tolling system which are still being tested from financial point of view. As fancy as this sounds, the reality is highly unfriendly to the masses as it is not pro-people. Thus, the tolling system may negate the crucial advantages the bridge holds. While the bridge may dethrone other historic bridges in Africa in terms of physical attributes, it may be under-rank in terms of social values.

Apparently, the financial motives over the social motives of the bridge is what is significantly responsible for the expression of the commitment of major stakeholders including the government, the consortium of consultants and investors in the delivery of the project. The reason for the toll gates and other financial entry-point of the bridge is not distant from the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) method of funding the project. Though the government may want to take credit for embarking on a project of this volume of money and technicality without federal funding or technical support, the resort to PPP method of funding in this dimension is not innovative, dynamic and sustainable as it poses to be . In other words, albeit the funding has been said to be a testimony to the confidence the partners and investors in the project have in the State Government and the Nigerian economy in general, the initiative is pregnant with a number of backlashes.

Practically, the project can be sustainably funded by taxpayers’ money, fees and levies charged by road transport ministry, agencies, unions, commissions and other road-transport organizations in the state.  Alternatively, or jointly, it might be funded from financial support from external organizations. Imposing a toll fare on tax payers would be quite absurd and unsustainable. The three toll plazas may be impedimental to the bridge’s sustainable goals as they will re-introduce a divisive — not inclusive – policy as it will favour majorly higher income earners, thereby increasing the inequality in the society.

The reasons for the toll gates is not equally distant from the cost of the bridge. The money budgeted for the structure is exceedingly high, especially considering the landscape the bridge will pass through. Analytically, with respect to the limited period of time the bridge is meant to be delivered, the budget of N844billion is averagely in excess of about 30% of required amount the bridge should gulp.

The excessive cost and interest rate on the investment may have further compelled the imposition of toll fare so that expenses and interest can be hastily recovered. In addition to the expensive nature of the project, the out pour of such amount of money on a single project in the limited period has diverse ripple effects. The project may become quite difficult to manage according to its pre-determined baseline; thus the quality of project is seriously at risk.

In other words, it will be difficult for expenses to be kept within targets or budget even if the punctuality or schedule of the project may be certain. The issue of cost in the project is common all over the world but we must continually strive for sustainable costing of the project.

The inclination of the cost and schedule baseline may further boomerang on the quality of the project. Resultantly, it has become necessary to question if the quality of the bridge will be Swiss, German, Italian, china quality or others. The quality gives a broad window-view into the structural and economical reliability of the bridge which further guarantees security. The feeling of security which is a huge function of quality is increasingly demanded by the people.

The relationship between the expense and quality of the bridge may be further explained from the life-cycle perspective. Adequate cognizance has to be given to the entire life-cycle cost of the bridge from this stage of construction. However, the governor promised the delivery of the project within the scheduled time frame, the that impact of time outweighs that of cost in relation to the quality of the project. Thus, in relation to the life-cycle analogy, a project – particularly physical projects-  shouldn’t consume more after it has been constructed than during or before its construction. That is, it would amount to a huge pitfall in planning if the cost of maintenance supersedes that of construction. In other words, both the cost of construction and maintenance of the bridge must be duly and diligently monitored from the stage of bridge process.

The balance sheet of the maintenance cost in comparison to construction cost is decided on the quality of engineering of the bridge. This is why it suffices to ask if the bridge engineering would be Swiss, German, Italian, or china quality. Notably, some of the constructed or maintained roads that are being repaired and re-coated again and again showed that some roads can be  poorly constructed or maintained which will result into the increased maintenance cost. Thus, premium quality of the bridge and the roads is necessitated and should be guaranteed as the project is meant to be a long-term big asset/investment to the Lagos State Government. If there is suitable balance between the construction-cost to maintenance cost ratio, a lot of things can be right; the bridge can be funded as suggested above, it can be toll free yet generate adequate revenue for the government. Also, the funding will ensure financial-effectiveness and cost-prudency of the project as government will have to sit tighter to generate revenue and minimize expenses. This would lead to increased sustainability as the government can also recoup expenses and revenue from this method after the bridge has been constructed.  As such, in other to protect both the economic and social interest of the bridge, it is better to make a durable infrastructure with minimal maintenance cost that will make it possible for the project to generate a friendly and long-term interest for the investors.

Bearing in mind that this is going to be the first time  in the history of the state, to embark  on the construction of a long-span bridge and expressway, we can take a cue from the third mainland. The bridge was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 and the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland till date as it measures about 11.8 km in length.  However, the bridge which is among the 28 bridges belonging to the Federal Government in Lagos, built by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC and opened by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990 is said to have never been maintained until 2012 when the bridge experienced partial closure at different times due to repairs and additional works on the bridge’s expansion joints that costed  the sum of N1.05 billion according the Bashir Yuguda, the ex-Minister of State for Works. The bridge which is increasingly used beyond its threshold capability still has a comparatively low maintenance, compared to its construction cost.

Thus, the state may not have required federal funding but may need federal industrial know-how to facilitate the technical support required for the project as it is difficult to find any of the bridges or roads constructed  by the Federal Government with toll-gates,  but newly constructed bridges and roads by the state government are Increasingly being toll-gated.  Rather than toll-gating the bridge for several years, to recover investors’ money at a high interest rate, the Lagos state government can learn from the history of the federal government’s  funding system  and technicality. This would help to guarantee Lagosians  not just   physical convenience but also financial convenience.

Thus, the bridges should ensure a pro-people balance between its economic motives and social motives.  While the government may be more concerned about the Win-Win framework for all investors, they need to align their economic motives with a social motive in order to harness and sustain the goals of the state and the country in general. In as much as the state is the commercial centre of the nation, they must not lose sight of social motives that sustains the economic system of the state. The government has said the bridge is most importantly meant to make life more comfortable for Lagosians, however, it should not just be convenient for the people physically but through the social/economic policies and management practices that oversees the provided physical infrastructures.

On a congratulatory note, in over 50 years of its existence and decades of being  the most commercial state in the country, the Lagos State Government have made another gargantuan move which will impact civilization and urbanization of the state and its environs. The bridge will be a major milestone in the quest for inclusive growth and sustainable development in the nation. Without mincing words, the bridge will be a great western region infrastructure and a connective symbol as the network of the bridge will significantly boost the economic and social growth of the region. Undoubtedly, the impact of the bridge will be felt across western region and the country as a whole for decades to come.

The bridge which is expected to bring a 14-year old dream to reality is quite imperative following series of evidence that shows that our nation and in fact the world is challenged with globalization, urbanization, climatic  change, stagnant economic growth, stagnant incomes, rising inequality and deep arguments over what to do about increasing diversity. However, regardless of the tension and difficult economic realities in the country, Lagos remains the best positioned state for the future of our country and the proposed 4th mainland bridge is a step further in realizing the dream of Lagos.

Currency Swap: How China’s about to take all of Nigeria’s wealth and give us ashes for beauty

“Nigerians await dividends of Yuan deal,” the title of the quite documentary-article written by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Daniel Adeleye, of The Nation newspaper, on Sunday, May 1st, 2016 has given fire to different coals of thought relating to the currency swap agreement between china and Nigeria. In other words, concerns are greatly on the rise as to if the move will make the lives of Nigerians and the country better or worse. That is, a cross-section of Nigerians, particularly public officials, who are either completely sold-out the idea of currency swap or are not buying any iota of the initiative have aired their opinion. And so, the question remains; Do Nigerians await dividends of Yuan deal? With my argument, position and disposition on this big question, I intend to analytically go about the answer by dissecting the matter finely and shining light on the dark areas that may have increased confusion and the chance to be misled as a nation. Furthermore, I intend to proffer best-practices solution that would promote and enlist Nigeria and our naira as one of the largest economy and fastest growing currency in the world respectively.

 

First, what is currency swap?

Agreement between the government of two nations that allow a central bank in one country to exchange currency, usually its domestic currency, for a certain amount of foreign currency. The recipient central bank can then lend this foreign currency to its domestic banks.

Accordingly, given the recently signed deal between the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), the world’s biggest lender, and Nigeria’s central bank on currency swap deal, a re-occurring question in relation to the move is if the agreement signed between Chinese President, Xi Jinping and President Muhammadu Buhari the sustainable path way to go for the economic recovery our nation.

Truly, “You can’t tell who’s swimming without a bathing suit until the tide goes out.” Nigeria being a mono-product economy with over 70 percent of the nation’s foreign revenue -dollar- gotten from oil, many can now see and tell our nation has been swimming without a bathing suit following the tide that went out on the price of oil as determined by the international market.

Consequently, dollar has become increasingly scarce and has greatly appreciated in value, causing a down-sizing effect on naira which has grown so weak and has been ditched and flushed down the drain of the foreign exchange market. In other words, bearing in mind our country is quite ‘dollarized,’ the scarcity of dollars and its high demand has steadily fast-stopped the economic activities in the country. That’s naira has increasingly lost its discount value against major international currencies, particularly the dollar.

This is worsened by the inconsistent and non-inclusive monetary policy seldom spearheaded by Central Bank of Nigeria that has reduced access to foreign currency (dollar). The new policy has left Nigerians, particularly the private sector in the dark as they can hardly produce at commercial capacity.

In efforts to resolve the difficult situation the nation has found herself in relation to the dollar, President Muhammadu Buhari having sought $2 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China and signed a $6 billion deal to fund joint infrastructure projects with government of china also signed a deal on yuan transactions in an agreement that was reached following a meeting between his excellency and Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

The unfolding of the new-turn of alliance between Nigeria and China has emitted from the surface and exhumed from the underneath diverse mixed feelings within the nation and across the globe. Of course, there are two sides to a coin but there can only one right side which, in fact, is the essence of this article.

The truth is China deal must be accessed, assessed and addressed on its merits. In light of this, different pros and cons in relation to Nigeria-china tie and the yuan deal have been publicized by both public and private officials.

Cheapness of dealing with China

Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun recently hinted Nigeria was looking at Chinese panda bonds-  yuan-denominated bonds sold by overseas entities on the mainland- because the bonds would be cheaper than Eurobonds. In other words, the cheapness in price of the bond is, in fact, the deal’s point of attraction instead of it overall cost/effect both in short-term and long-term. Bearing in mind that about 80 percent of short-term solution turn out to be an accrued negative solution on the long run, we have got to worry.

Obviously, the choice may be taken considering some biting conditions in the nation like financial tightening that has probably blindfolded us from the long term effects of our decision as nation. However, we ought to remind ourselves that small errors during short periods of time can create huge distortions, even on the long run.

Bilateral Trade Growth with China

Likewise, it is argued that the move was motivated on the ground that the business and trade tie between Nigeria and China have grown astronomically in the last decade with bilateral trade volumes rising from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $11.76billion in 2014 and to $14.9 billion in 2015. This statistic looks quite beautiful but it uninspiring if you x-ray its basis and composition.

Accordingly, the swap arrangement is being established in the context of the rapidly growing bilateral trade between China and Nigeria. In others words, the swap arrangement was swung into action without giving due and diligent thoughts to the conditions that truly indicates or should define the growth of our bilateral trade with china. It is conclusive to think in this way given the following analysis;

Noteworthy, irrespective of the volume of trade, consideration as to whether Nigeria is a stronger or weaker partner in the bilateral trade arrangements is actively being undermined and over-sighted. Presently, Nigeria is more of an import dependent economy unlike China which is an export driven economy – going by the issue of regional trade, that is, consumer, wholesales and distributing trades, the global importation to Nigeria today shows 87.3% of our total imports in regards of distributing trades are coming from Asia tigers. And this 87.3% coming from Asia tigers, 72.1% is coming from China alone.

Band-Wagon with China

On another note, the move is powered by band-wagon effect as we only playing to the gallery since the solution doesn’t give preference to the ingenuity and originality of our problem as a nation. How do I mean? since the financial crisis of 2008, central banks around the world have entered into bilateral currency swap agreements with one another- particularly with China. For the records, China can boast of having signed swap deals with nearly 30 countries since 2008 with the biggest being the 400 billion yuan currency swap with Hong Kong in November 2014.

In the same vein, many developing countries like Ghana, Mauritius, Zambia, Zimbabwe, are already enlisted or are queuing up to sign currency swap agreements with China as Sino-Africa ties continues to expand. Consequently, following the fact that some countries that utilised the three-year swap line offered by China opted for renewal, it was therefore recommended that it is in the sustainable interest of Nigeria to join this growing club of countries seeking to “de-dollarize” the country by diversifying risk in foreign exchange management.

That is, without discovering and analysing the ingenuity and originality of the nation’s problem in relation to the solution of currency swap, our leaders jumped the gun by deeming the effect of the trans-border currency exchange to be palliative on our ailing economy.

South-South Trade (SST)

In Commutation to band-wagon effect is the South-South Trade which is a diplomatic language for emerging economies.  South-South Trade is a term used in the circumference of import and export and it suffices that the quality of what is produced in a country (Nigeria, for example) must be acceptable locally before it can be exported. And if it is to be exported, it must to countries within similar level of development/quality or lesser. Illustratively, If Nigeria produces doors and its local market is not satisfied with the products, the doors cannot be processed as an export   product to a country like Turkey who may have higher quality of doors but may be an export product to Benin Republic who probably have less quality doors.

As such, the term is reflective of quality within group(s) of nations- who may be region-based-  who are into import and export trade among themselves. That is, trade of quality within a smaller circle of a larger circle of the national and international economy. For instance, when our textiles factories were working, what Nigerians had against other countries was the quality of the yarns. And so, we were exporting it to developed economies. In contrast, if ordinarily, the quality of what is produced is not acceptable locally, we won’t be able to export it.

In light of this, it is held that in the past few years that have witnessed the trade volume between Nigeria and China grow so fast. So, trade has left America and Europe as the hope of Nigeria is in the south-south cooperation or region. How true?

Since China broke into the global market by producing at lesser quality, it is given that trade has left America and Europe as opposed to South Korea and Japan who were then seen by developed nations as a base for low-cost labour which allows low production cost that translates to low prices of goods.

However, the issue of quality is further at stake by South-South Trade given the complaints of substandard products china is known for making. Generally, most of the products “made in China’ have short life span and irreparable when damaged. Whilst other developed economies like Europe and America may be able to compel china into making some level of quality due their strong-hood in the partnership, we have been unable to do likewise as we a weaker partner in our bilateral trade.

More so, given our closed market approach and concentration of trade with china, there have been increase of China-Nigeria cartel as the issue of substandard China products can be traced to the indecent and unscrupulous activities by some Chinese officials and Nigerian who are always bent on ripping-off and raping our economy. Further, the issue of substandard product is aggravated given the lack of due diligence often displayed by quality enforcement agencies like NAFDAC, SON, CPC and Customs we country is at higher risk.

Succinctly, the fact that we are trying to be a part of South-South trade and promote the benefits of the arrangement shouldn’t give us room for withdrawing from the global best practices as it concerns trade of quality in goods and services. By so doing, we would end up shooting ourselves in the leg as quality would be increasingly written-off our economy.

Diversification risk in foreign exchange management

The currency swap is said to be an effort to diversify risk vide foreign exchange. Accordingly, the government claims the currency swap is aimed at diversify risk in foreign exchange management. This is quite hilarious as we are a country who has failed and played down on diversification of production-industries to increase export. Yet we are advancing the diversification currency vide risk in foreign exchange management. We are only playing with a very consuming fire as currency swap is unsuitable for the flexible currency exchange which we run and its unsustainable in reference to world best practices.

Truth, the concept of economy diversification to push economy in different aspects is generally sustainable in industries but it is increasingly difficult to manage the diversification of risk in foreign exchange vide currency swap. In other words, cautiously, the quite slim chance the swap agreement may be advantageous to our nation is anchored on those saddled with the leadership of the economy and the correctness of the sound management practices and principles that will ensure nothing is left to chance as far getting the country back on track. That is, it’s a risky adventure yet we can’t afford to miss a step, else we will be wiped out in a one swipe. In other words, we are don’t expect to get stained by the sand, yet we are playing on the sea shore. How possible?  It is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Economic recovery is not a rat race; rather than address the bull by it horns, some our leaders are going about the recovery of our economy like a colony of rat who are unwitty in tracing and getting the cheese.

Faithfulness and good-faith of Chinese government.

Also one stipulated conditions that guarantees the well-meaning of the currency swap is if the government of China can remain faithful the agreement. On a global scale, the Chinese government has been tested and their report sheet is not very encouraging.

For instance, very recently, Chinese government was accused of ‘raping the United States’ with their trade policies as the over populated nation is also alleged to be responsible for the greatest theft in the history of the world.

In 2014, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest economy when measured on a Purchasing Power Parity(PPP) after the IMF estimated the country’s GDP at end of 2014 as $17.6 trillion using purchasing power parity   method. That was equal to about 1% larger than the U.S. GDP of $17.4 trillion.

China preferred to use the PPP model otherwise called the adjusted-GDP – a method that is generally Inappropriate and unacceptable to earn the crown of the world’s largest economy.  Rather than use the nominal GDP at the current exchange rate which is vested with more accuracy in calculating GDP. China felt more at home using to the ill-method to conjure a world largest GDP. Measuring GDP at purchasing power parity takes into account the differences in prices that people pay for goods and services in different economies. By implication, since the price level in China is still much lower than in the United States, a dollar in China buys much more than a dollar in the United States.

Also china made use of a method that calculates China’s GDP data, in terms of value and growth rates, from cumulated figures rather than actual economic activity of a particular year.

However, in their attempt to put their economic blueprint right, sometimes in 2015, China’s statistics bureau said it has changed the way its gross domestic product data is calculated. It has now adopted the international standards to improve the accuracy of Chinese numbers. It is exemplary and encouraging that the chinse country has shifted to a more accurate method in measuring the economic activity and have become more sensitive in capturing information that are consistent, seasonal and unusual economic elements like fluctuation.

However, we ought to be economically cautious about china as even at their topmost government level, there has long been an increasing widespread scepticism about the reliability of Chinese data. For example, China as the world largest economy in 2014 had unemployment remained low even as poverty rate remained high. Today, as the second largest economy in the world, there are recent move to cut capacity in bloated industries like coal and steel. By implication, many laid-off workers from old-economy sectors have been shifted into lower-paying government jobs, cleaning up offices – good for political stability but bad for economic growth and recovery.

Convincingly, you would agree that It is not strange or surprising to think that China may be trying to draw -in Nigeria into their unrealistic and unsustainable economic approach in an attempt to augment and patch-up their shortcomings and backlash resulting from the precedential false method they have adopted to fine-tune their economic data. We need to be wary of the move and motive of the loan because at some point in the nearest future, when the water of our economy is levelled, we shall then know what proportion of dry land is left.

It will be unwise as a nation to be caught unaware as it is usual for the Chinese government to recover its markets from financial crisis by increasingly seeking the tamping and ramping of market expectations during protracted economic slowdown.

China and Nigeria oil in the dollar market

In furtherance, the chemistry of currency swap and the oil industry in our nation is also crazy. Accordingly, by reason of the currency swap, Nigeria will be using the Yuan to import from China, while they (China) will use the naira to buy crude oil from Nigeria. And then China will take the oil to sell in the market to get dollars. In other words, china will be boycotting or siphoning the dollar (foreign revenue) we ought to be getting to make the nation strive. This newly created chain in international oil market is in-built with a mechanism that will successfully short-change our economy and shorten the life of the nation’s prosperity.

So much so, the currency swap will mortgage the sustainable solution provided by The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. Accordingly,  the group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, replaced the crude-for-products exchange arrangement popularly referred to as crude swap with  Direct-Sale–Direct-Purchase (DSDP) arrangement having discovered that the crude-swap was an unsustainable practise in the economics of the oil industry because it was costly, quite accommodative of middlemen  and their activities and  it limits  the circumference of NNPC to take control of sale and purchase of the crude oil transaction. According to him, this was done in other to introduce and entrench transparency into the crude oil for product transaction by the Corporation in line with global best practices.

However, going by currency swap and the newly created chain of transaction in the international oil market, middlemen and their activities have resumed with china on board as intermediary. Also high cost and limited latitude of nation to take control of sale and purchase of the crude oil transaction will be reinstated and re-instituted. Opacity will equally re-introduce and re-entrenched into the crude oil for product transaction. Worse still, the process will not be in line with global best practices as it will also limit our fight against scarcity of fuel. Thus, rather than learn from the man who is actively bent on turning things around in the oil industry, the government are mitigating the effects of his solution. In others words, the government is re-introducing at a higher level, a fight that has earlier been won at the lower level. Quite pathetic.

Retracing and retracting our steps as nation, the problem is simply that Nigeria’s dollar income is increasingly reduced. In other words, Nigeria’s pocket has been ‘under-dollared’. As such, the solution is to increase the actual flow of dollars to Nigeria and not otherwise. That is, the nation cannot be suffering from headache while the administered medication to cure it is for stomach ache.

Diversification of our economy to increase its exportation well over its importation is simply the chlorine injection that would get rid of any malaria symptoms the body of the nation may be suffering from. It is not the reduced importation without any increase in exportation that would deliver sustainable solution. Neither would any short-cut arrangement in line with reduced importation and zero/low-exportation deliver a sustainable solution. “De-dollarization” is not the solution but diversification.

Consequences of currency swap

The consequences of currency swap remain at large, elusive to most and exclusive to few.  One, our trade will be actively concentrated in the hands of one country, china. This is dangerous for our economy as the growth of our trade is now greatly dependent on china. Nigeria will be using the Yuan to import from China, while China will use the naira to purchase goods and services from Nigeria. Consequently, this will pose the danger of making Nigeria more dependent on China.

Though the framework on currency swaps between china and Nigeria will only make it easier to settle trade deals in yuan, it will exponentially make it difficult to settle trade deals with other major economies that could be more advantageous to us than china. That is, currency swap will strengthen the naira with yuan whilst weakening it against other currencies of developed economies, particularly the dollar. Truly, Naira’s relationship with dollar has been like a cat and rat chase. The more we chase and pursue the dollar, the more the dollar is running away from us which makes the naira to keep getting weaker. And so, though there is a lot of catching up for us do, it doesn’t mean we should give up on the race that’s has defined the future of our economy for so long.

Particularly, given that Nigeria’s economic has been dollarized for so long, it has made our growth strategy from the scratch to be conditioned by the dollar. Thus, a sudden and sharp change with a currency that not in any way compatible or comparable with the dollar in foreign exchange market is seriously hazardous to our economy. Because we have been rejected by other countries with comparable currencies, it doesn’t mean that we should reject ourselves. A currency swap between our country and another that is has a more comparable currency with the dollar might have been a good alternative, not yuan.

However, without bagging a secondary school certificate, it is obvious that the option of currency swap won’t necessarily increase the actual flow of dollars into Nigeria’s purse. Why adopt it as prescription that would recover our ailing economy? That is, albeit the agreement reached between Nigeria and China on a currency swap is proposed to strengthen the naira by reducing the strong demand for the US dollar in the country, it won’t in anyway increase the flow of dollar into our economy. This makes it a poor solution as it won’t treat our economy of its diagnosed disease or ailment.

The implementation of the currency swap doesn’t mean that our economy will be successfully diversified, it only means that our trade is more and more concentrated in Chinese goods. In other words, rather than diversify our economy, we are only ‘dual-izing’ it which is a cousin to the mono-product economy that grounded economy to a halt.

The currency swap won’t sustainably reduce importation from the rest of the world as it is projected because we remain an import-based nation that is always in need of different goods and services from different nations that can provide them. In other words, since we don’t produce diversifyingly at export capacity and quality, we remain reliant on other producing economies for our need. For instance, a man whose need is a car from Germany or USA is going to import it with the country’s respective currency and not the yuan.

Inadvertently, the currency swap option will increase expenses for the federal government as all the cost elements of middlemen will be resurfaced. It will also limit Nigeria’s stretch to take control of sale and purchase of the goods and services in the global market. Also, under the currency swap arrangement, our currency will be exchanged for yuan at a pre-determined yield or ratio rather than through an open bidding process that also it is in tandem with global best practices. We would have a Nigeria-china cornered/closed market as opposed to open market. By implication of the pre-determined yield pattern, we will be fixing our exchange rate system as opposed to flexible exchange system operational in Nigeria. That is, we will be distorting our exchange rate system at the detriment of our economic free-running.

Naira will become more and more weak and a less stable currency that is progressively internationally inconvertible. In other words, it will increasingly discourage host of nations, particularly developed economies, from wanting to do business with Nigeria. Already as of today, nobody wants to even touch the Nigeria naira. Not even in Benin. They are rejecting it now.  Very sad.

Currency swap is an option that once started, it has no end because we will be having to block the gaps it will continually create in the economy. Nigeria may end up like Zimbabwe who joined a growing list of countries in Africa and the world using the Chinese currency, yuan, as one of its official currencies after its central bank added the RMB, the Japanese yen, the Australia dollar and the Indian rupee to the existing basket of currencies. Also, this initiative will infuse opacity into the international-trade exchange system.

By the same token, following the inclusion of yuan as against the dollar in our foreign exchange reserves, our reserves will be fast depleted since yuan’s discount value viz-a-viz the dollar value is weak in the global foreign exchange market.

However, the precedential step taken in light of the currency swap with the motive of strengthening the naira is a ‘de-dollarizing’ policy made by CBN to reduce access to dollar for importation. However, the policies are quite inconsistent and non-inclusive.

CBN policies and activities

On an inconsistent note, in 2015, the governor promised unfettered access to your dollar account (cards) but assured withdrawal limit from Naira debit cards abroad will be reduced to $300/day to a total of $50,000/year from where it stood at thrice that: $900/day and $150,000/year. That is, though CBN had supported banks’ decision to stop acceptance of foreign currencies earlier because their vaults were saturated and posed more risks to the industry in the form of cost of keeping idle funds and insurance, they are now going back on their support by telling the deposits banks to make sure that as they accept foreign currency deposits,  they should equally have enough of the denomination to backup demand by making adequate provision to honour the resulting demand of their customers and many Nigerians because CBN is no longer a haven they can run to and get their  needs their met.

Policies relating to foreign currency deposits in banks and weekly foreign exchange intervention at the Bureaux De Change (BDC) are increasingly inconsistent as the things different from before, when deposit banks commit and run to CBN to ask for dollars to settle them when they need dollar. In other words, then, dollars deposited in cash could be used for the settlement of import bill and could be withdrawn in cash from the bank. But new rule, dollars deposited in cash cannot be used for the settlement of import bill, “but can only be withdrawn in cash as well from the bank. There is a stoppage of weekly foreign exchange intervention at the Bureaux De Change (BDC) as banks are responsible for their customers’ dollar deposits and can no longer resort to CBN to ask for dollars to settle them when they need them.

On a non-inclusive level, coming at a time when many Nigerian businesses are at a cross road due to inadequate foreign exchange to fund their businesses, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, pledged his support for the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, by providing him with foreign exchange(dollar) for the importation of equipment. He further promised to give the billionaire Naira, at concessionary prices, for the importation of equipment.

It goes to say that in our CBN polices is not anti-monopoly driven and its legislation doesn’t enhance fair competition. In many advanced and prosperous economies, there are anti-monopoly policies and agencies. In the European Union, for example, there is a fair Competition Commission. In America there is antitrust legislation. President Buhari should be inventive enough to set up an antitrust-legislation in order to fair competition in the open market of our economy.

More so, it is funny that dollar cannot be accessed to facilitate importation that would guarantee the production of companies and the foreign currency businesses of the banks. However, it can be accessed and used to make round trips where people buy from abroad and sell here at huge profitable prices. That’s it cannot be accessed at a commercial level but can be at a subsistence level as anyone (private sectors) who needs for commercial purpose should sought it from secondary and external sources.

The inconsistency and non-inclusive nature of the policy has jointly made it inconvenient for businesses, both local and foreign direct investment to plan and have a sustainable strategy that can adjust to the harsh economic realities that is facing us. As such, Nigeria has become a high-risk region for anybody who wants to do business as foreign investors don’t see some degree of stability in the economy and are therefore running away. It’s an unfortunate experience for us as a country since we have not been able to raise money on our own through internally generated revenue and through the sale of oil products, the area we could look at is the foreign direct investment which has been bastardized by inconsistent and non-inclusive monetary and fiscal policies that is increasingly inconvenient to Nigerians and inconclusive to solving the problem of the nation.

Devaluation of Naira

However, also in light of strengthen the naira, we have been led to the taunted demand for naira devaluation. Like currency swap, devaluation is strictly in reference to the fixed exchange rate system which might make it not option not the best for us but it doesn’t mean it is worse than currency swap. Accordingly, Nigeria’s exchange rate system is based on the flexible exchange system which makes solution not quite compatible with the nation. However, though the devaluation of naira was an option that was eased out by our leaders, we are not any better with the currency swap. In fact, it is given that devaluation is better than currency swap if it seeks to eliminate the differential between the official rate and the parallel rate.

Solution: currency swap, naira devaluation, and CBN policies and activities

Solution on the three-pronged subject of currency swap, devaluation of naira, and CBN policies of reduced access to dollar for importation is nigh.

Increasing dollar inflow in our economy is the blood tonic the naira needs to strengthen-up with dollar. Reduced access to dollar is not the dosage that will strengthen the naira. In actual fact, the reduced access to dollar vide the currency swap agreement is further strengthening the dollar against naira.

First, finding our way through naira devaluation, we will need to depreciate it by eliminating the differential between the official rate and the parallel rate. Given that Nigeria has a flexible exchange system, it is more appropriate to depreciate rather devalue the naira as devaluation is strictly in reference to the fixed exchange rate system. Right now, there is a differential between the official rate and the parallel rate. The parallel rate is about N320.00 and the official rate is still around N199.00 to N200.00. So long as that differential exists, there will be continued to be ill-rent seeking activity. Having eliminated the differentials, it will be more expensive but the process or adjustment will give access to those who truly need foreign exchange to import in order to develop their businesses at the market rate.

CBN should stop malpractices with polices and in their activities in their immediate jurisdiction and at the mint section.  The awful issue of people taking money that was meant to be destroyed is long standing which ought not to be as It didn’t start from yesterday. In fact, as revealed by an ex top executive in CBN, it was alleged some years ago that one of the mint plates disappeared. This shows the integrity of the naira is at stake as the integrity of the central institutions for managing monetary policy, for managing our currency have left rooms for serious doubt. A lot of rot in the closet of CBN should be cleaned out so they can forthrightly preserve our naira and grow it with all diligence. We can only achieve a better Nigeria that we crave when there is integrity transparency and effectiveness in the central institutions that govern the monetary system – particularly, the Central Bank and the mint.

Likewise, enormous power is being abused as a result of opaque economic policies. The CBN governor has become the biggest and the most powerful man in Nigeria because he controls the allocation of foreign exchange. His role is now more or less the sole voice to the market as he turned deaf and blind to the signals and call-out by other economic experts. Companies are unable to produce and banks are unable to make foreign currency transactions because they’re unable to access foreign exchange cheaply. They are begging and grovelling, trailing the CBN governor. This should not be so.

Further, our government need to look inward in their approach to recovery of our economy especially because the problem they are creating is supposedly unintentional. In other words, the outcome of the polices are frequently in divergent to their intention. Their economic policies have been increasingly faulted as opaque, archaic and a command and control economic system.

They need to remind themselves that the world has moved past the era people believed in controls in the role of the state in commanding heights of the economy. Now, market forces are the predominant determinants of the shape of the economy. As such, collective wisdom in line with democratic approach is needed to address our economy in hard times like this.

Further, the body language of Mr President raises suspicion of being a more analogue than digital in his leadership. However, in this age, in the school of leadership, a leader is more effective when he is more digital than analogue in his approach. The policies being implemented is adversely affecting the poor and the vulnerable in the society as inflation is spiralled, jobs are reduced, economic growth is dipped and so on. In a year we have lost our single digit inflation status. The opacity of their economic policies is further reflected in their implicit approach.  That is, the government prefer an implicit approach in which Nigerians get to know what their plan is by the actions and pronouncements as they go along. In other words, though the government have their plan, they don’t want them articulated clearly before the Nigerians. One bad thing about this approach is that it gives rooms for back-doors deals that can be very dirty. For instance, top executives at both the central bank and other domestic bank may have plans to restructure a bank, they go borrow billions to buy shares in that bank which they plan to restructure. After the restructuring like the merging of banks takes place, the value of the shares will quadruple which would translate to abnormal profit.

However, in this day and age, economic plans are very good because they serve as rallying point for all stakeholders. The government should be more explicit in their approach as it promotes foreign or external investors as they are able to anchor their expectations. By doing so, the government would be more upfront about their economic blue prints and their set objectives in the short, medium and long terms.

Likewise, the government must be mindful of transparency in their approach and the engagement of the media. They need to know within themselves that what whatever they must have achieved or plan to, if it is not well presented to the public especially their vulnerable, the value would be less.

In the time of economic distress Nigeria is going through, the participation and the contribution of the media are very vital. The media fracas between the NNPC boss and ‘CEO’ of APC was incorrect and unnecessary in the way it was done.

In summary, the current administration has yielded to the temptation and pressure to swap our currency. For the records, it is one of the worst turn we have made as a country. Whilst some may feel currency swap between Nigeria and China is a deal that is long overdue, I make bold to say it should have never seen the light of day. In other words, currency swap is not the elixir that would literally heal the wounds plaguing the economy. It actually making matters worse by increasing inflation and hurting the poorest Nigerians the most. As a result of the government’s bad economic policies, the middle class will be eliminated as our economy will definitely be pauperised, pulverized, powdered and sublimed.

More so, we are clogging the wheels of the global recovery which has been described as to snail-paced, fragile, short-termed and risk-laden. This is so because the many approaches to economic recovery is in similitude or correspondence to the outcome. That’s, our approaches are increasingly subduing the growth of the nation and globe.

With signing of the “Budget of Change’’ which is deliberately said to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy despite the huge decline in government revenues(dollar) from crude oil exports, currency swap is a lose-lose. China’s only about to take all of Nigeria’s wealth and give us ashes for beauty.

However, there is always room for improvement if our leaders stop playing with mirrors else, the refraction from the mirrors will protract the nation into an economic red-sea if we choose to remain blind and inactive at the consequences of currency swap.

Conclusively, concerted efforts to reflate the Nigerian economy must buy into comprehensive formulae that factors- in all necessary elements, the short, interim and long-term interest of all stakeholders -particularly the vulnerable- in the nation.

National Economic Recovery: Nigeria’s lending from China instead of learning

 

There is an old wise saying that urges and charges everyone to prefer an offer of one willing to teach him/her how to fish over one who is just going to give him/her fish and nothing more. This saying is so designed to ensure one’s life is not short-changed or mortgaged – often, contrary to his will but out of his/her own doing or undoing.

In the same wise, the everlasting book of economic wisdom admonishes any person or system intending to build a tower to first sit-down, and count the total cost, whether the person has what is sufficient to finish it. Lest haply, after the person lays the foundation, and is unable to complete it, mockery will be the lot of such person.

Without mincing words, the foundation of our economy is being laid on quicksand. In other words, the leaders of Nigeria’s economy have recently launched a ballistic missile that may ground our economy to a very costly stoppage if the nation’s steps are not timely retraced. This might be contrary to our leaders’ will or wish but it won’t be an oversight of their doing or undoing.

The reasons for this assertion is not far to see or difficult to comprehend. The $2 billion loan being sought from the Export-Import Bank of China by the federal government of Nigeria is said to be part of the N1.84 trillion the fore-leaders of Nigeria have proposed to borrow to finance the 2016 budget. Yet, we have a budget of N2.6 trillion for recurrent expenditure viz-a-viz 1.5 trillion for capital expenditure. Much worse, is considering the fact that the country’s debt burden is already being serviced with 25 percent of the Federal Government annual budget. How economically-smart is this approach?

What an economic calamity! Only about 28-30% of our total budget is mapped-out for capital expenditure yet our leaders say they are underpinning our economy on the wings of its quickest recovery. What fallacy! Bearing in mind that is only when a nation invests in capital projects over recurrent projects that the economy will grow and prosper as recurrent expenditures are basically for consumption purposes. In other words, it is only vide capital investment that an encouraging economic growth is surely promised for us as a nation in the nearest future.  The provision of jobs and infrastructures that are part of the major indicators of economic growth and prosperity are only possible if capital expenditure is well sustained with adequate funds.

Action speaks more truthfully than voice: The Federal Government seem to be singing in a direction and dancing in a contrary direction. The motives behind the lending from china is pregnant with questions as to whether it is indeed meant for the forward-marching of our economy or whether it is driven by unsubstantiated reasons like political and religious affiliations. Considering the present hard-times the people and nation is going through, we must not again short-change ourselves of our future. Rather, we must protect it from getting worse and preserve it to get better. We should not be cornered and cajoled by the ill-pressure from economic-desperation/distress into taking unjustified loans even if the future of Nigeria and its people will be salvaged. Truly, tough times demands tough measures but desperate times demands wise/patience measures, not desperate measures. More often than not, when desperate measures are taken, they are often wrong-footed

The move of the loan also raises concern about if the leaders of our economy are protecting the nation’s long term interest and how skilful they are at securing the citizens against any looming or active economic predicament. In the same light, eye-brows have been raised to investigate if the loan is genuinely to our economic advantage following the declaration by the IMF that Nigeria has no need for loans. Accordingly, it was disclosed by IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, that after their evaluation of our nation and the scrutinizing of our 2016 budget, it became conclusory that any loan been sought by the leaders of the nation is detrimental to the nation and its people.

Beyond the IMF, dusts have remained unsettled with respect to economic positivity, productivity and sustainability of the loan considering the fact that some western nations approached by the Federal Government for loan utterly and cleverly declined because they deemed that loan is neither our problem nor was it our solution.

Though it is argued that the loan is necessitated on the heels of the benefit of global relationships and cooperation in a world that is fast-changing as a result of globalization and trans-border economies, social and even criminal activities. The argument does not go far and deep. We do not need any affiliation that will afflict our future with a sour-pill of economic torment.

What’s most pathetic about our economic and monetary relationship with china is that Nigeria is leaning on and lending from them rather than learning from the good and bad lessons the Chinese country often employ in overturning their seasonal economic plight.

Good and bad lessons from China’s Economy: Asian counties like Singapore, Malaysia and the China we are ass-kissing because of loan have their recurrent expenditure at about 20% while their capital expenditure at 80%. In Nigeria, we have a completely reversed case yet we expect to be progressive in the pursuit of our economic recovery.

However, in 2014, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest economy when measured on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) after the IMF estimated the country’s GDP at end of 2014 as $17.6 trillion using purchasing power parity   method. That was equal to about 1% larger than the U.S. GDP of $17.4 trillion.

China preferred to use the PPP model otherwise called the adjusted-GDP – a method that is generally inappropriate and unacceptable to earn the crown of the world’s largest economy.  Rather than use the nominal GDP at the current exchange rate which is vested with more accuracy in calculating GDP. China felt more at home using to the ill-method to conjure a world largest GDP. Measuring GDP at purchasing power parity takes into account the differences in prices that people pay for goods and services in different economies. By implication, since the price level in China is still much lower than in the United States, a dollar in China buys much more than a dollar in the United States. Also china makes use of a method that calculates China’s GDP data, in terms of value and growth rates, from cumulated figures rather than actual economic activity of a particular year.

However, in their attempt to put their economic blueprint right, sometimes in 2015, China’s statistics bureau said it has changed the way its gross domestic product data is calculated. It has now adopted the international standards to improve the accuracy of Chinese numbers. It is exemplary and encouraging that the Chinese country has shifted to a more accurate method in measuring the economic activity and have become more sensitive in capturing information that are consistent, seasonal and unusual economic elements like fluctuation.

As such, we ought to be economically cautious about china as even at the topmost government level, there has long been an increasing widespread scepticism about the reliability and reality of Chinese data. For instance, China as the world largest economy in 2014 had unemployment remained low even as poverty rate remained high. Today, as the second largest economy in the world, there are recent move to cut capacity in bloated industries like coal and steel. By implication, many laid-off workers from old-economy sectors have been shifted into lower-paying government jobs, cleaning up offices – good for political stability but bad for economic growth and recovery.

It is not strange or surprising to think that China may be trying to draw -in Nigeria into their unrealistic and unsustainable economic approach in an attempt to augment and patch-up their shortcomings and backlash resulting from the precedential false methods they might have adopted to fine-tune their economic data. We need to be wary of the move and motive of the loan because at some point in the nearest future, when the water of our economy is levelled, we shall then know what proportion of dry land is left.

It will be unwise as a nation to be caught unaware as it is usual for the Chinese government to recover its markets from financial crisis by increasingly seeking the tamping and ramping of market expectations during protracted economic slowdown.

It is quite conclusory that the move of the loan will only pauperize and pulverize our economy more than it will prosper it. With careful examination, the move is more or less a function of bad economic policies and principles and the consequence is tantamount to; an increase in elimination of the middle class, increased inequitable distribution of income, increased poverty, non-inclusive growth, unsustainable development and so on.

In summary, the essence of this article is to put it straightforward and forthright that; in as much as Nigeria is in dire quest of the recovery of its economy, a loan/debt-fuelled one is simply unsustainable. It would only lead to an increasingly aggressive stimulated-recovery that would create a national economic bubble. Thence, the bubble would inevitably get popped in the nearest future which will blow-out and black-out the nation’s prosperity that is already the pipeline.

Like China did in the past during the global and their national financial crisis, we cannot afford to hand-crank our economy by ourselves out of the current slowdown through massive stimulus (like debt-powered one).  Rather we must adopt solution-driven and strategic structural reform that will deliver and coffer a sustainable economic recovery into the grips and bowels of our nation.

If we follow the ‘stimulant’ way to recover our economy, we will certainly be eased off without any iota resilience. By opting for the loan as a national economic decision, the nation is more or less acting out of undue economic diligence and beyond reasonable monetary and fiscal policy loosening to recover and stabilise our economic growth as the effort would deter and derail us from the structural reform that necessitates and promises a long-term economic sustainability.

In corollary, when going about bilateral arrangements with other nations of the world, our leaders need to task themselves more innovatively and originally about how they plan to turn-around or transform our economic downturn into testimonies. Nigeria needs affiliation or collaboration with international countries like the Government of China in the area of labour transfer, technology transfer, energy transfer and the likes rather than granting loan that may not be put to its highest-and-best use. Financial services solution like the creation and enhancement of Initial public offering (IPO) can be a form or product of strategic reform.

Perhaps because our leaders assume they have thronged out some efforts at generating some internal revenue, and have done a bit in plugging some sources of our economic haemorrhage, the have patched some sources of waste in our economy vide TSA, war against corruption and terrorism and so on, they have now reclined to ‘economic complacency’ even as we hope they don’t relinquish to a fate of economic nonchalance.

In conclusion, the fact our nation may be politically divided doesn’t mean it should be economically divided. In order for our nation to keep-afar the despicability that may beset our economy in the nearest future, we need to drop-off the ‘one step forward and several steps backward’ approach we are adopting in rescue mission our economy. Frankly, our leaders need to come together and put their heads into the big basket of our economy in a cumulative or combined effort to address and redress our economic strategies else, we might find our nation at the verge of an egress that may spill us into the economic red sea.

Third sectors: Affordable housing has to do with passion and humanity

Housing is a basic human need and it has been rated by scholars in the real estate industry as the second most essential need after food. In other words, lack of housing is the second worst form of poverty known to man after the lack of food. Housing is also said to be the single largest expenditure for most households as one-sixth of the world’s population live in the slum. As such, for many developing nations like Nigeria, and even some developed nations, the vision of “Affordable Housing for All” remains an utopian dream. That is, having a decent home and suitable living environment is quite a ‘big deal’ and so it is left for the ‘big boys’ as affordability of houses is an intransigent problem that most nations of the world have not come close to solving. It is one of greatest problem confronting our nation.

Recently, at an inaugural lecture themed “Beyond bricks and mortar” by Professor Timothy Nubi, a lecturer in the Housing and Urban Regeneration Department of the University of Lagos, he noted alongside with other housing professors and scholars the urgency of the state of housing in the country while making emphasis on bridging the gap of the housing deficit in the country which is estimated at 17 million.
In line with this, the Executive Director of Shelter Origins, a non-profit organization, Mr. Ezekiel Ojo recently said that government can drive affording housing by working with sincere developers. He added that “affordable houses have to do with passion, and has to do with humanity.” That is, he posited that if the government can work with developers that are passionate and humanity-driven, it is practically possible to have low income houses in our major cities in our country like Abuja and most Lagos cities that have exaggerated house prices.
Accordingly, through a partnership, a group that comprise the company, MTN Foundation, Cisco International, Union Bank of Nigeria, American Embassy, Larfarge and individuals constructed over 500 houses to accommodate displaced individuals in F.C.T. Abuja at a building cost of ; N1.1 million for a two-bed-room apartment including facilities, N1.3 million for a two-bed-room flat and N3.5 million for 2-bed-room unit.

That is, it will cost the group; N550 million to provide 500 two-bed-room apartment including facilities, N650 million to provide 500 two-bed-room flat and N1.75 billion to provide 500 for 2-bed-room unit. These figures would be appreciated bearing in mind that the country’s estimated housing deficit is put at 17 million in spite the billions of dollars that have gone into in affording housing projects or programs in the administrative dispensation of the past and present government. Not long ago, The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola while announcing that there would be changes in the policy direction of the president Buhari administration in the settlement sector said that at the commencement of the 2016 budget implementation, the federal government would spend N10b to build low income housing in each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, F.C.T. He also said that the budget of national housing must change from N1.8 billion to something in the hundreds of billions that matches the government ambition to bridge the housing deficit of the nation.

Presently, about 60 percent of the present population of over 176 million lack adequate housing in Nigeria. The slum population is put at 70 percent with a higher with a higher annual growth rate of 4.55 percent. Resultantly, there has been a widespread development of slums in our towns and cities across the country. As such, the cost at which the group delivered 500 houses is only achievable on the wings of passion and a strong humanity-drive for affordable housing.

However, why working together of the developers and private and public organisation with the third- sector or non-profit organisation is able to successfully attain this level of effective and reduced-cost may be hinged on the facts that the nature of their operation as an organizations (third sectors) make use of funds/resources they do not earn as they are highly dependent on monetary and technical support provided by other national or international organization (Public sector, Private and social enterprises) through cooperation agreements, grants, or service provision. As such, by condition of their being in business, they may have to: dutifully and diligently manage cost as they may get less than they bargained for; they may have to be ‘extra-accountable’ or prudent for every amount spent; they might have to be financial transparent to attract other donors and earn the integrity of existing donors; and they also have to practise what they preach- philanthropism and humanitarianism.

More often than not, affordable housing is low-revenue generating asset because the investors must be ‘conscientiously’ or ‘philanthropically’ willing and committed to part-away with a share of their investment projection or expectations in terms of returns or profit. In other words, some returns have to be let-go or forgone by the investors or developers to ease the buyers’ chance or access to own a home or increases their capacity to purchase a house. It is like a ‘give-and-take’ (not a carrot-stick approach) where the developers or investors give for the buyer to take or have.

On this note, private sector who are ready to for-go a share or relax their economic behaviour on one end to fasten their social behaviour on the other end have since begun to key into the provision of mass housing. For example, a frontline manufacture of polyurethane prefabricated building in Nigeria Vitapur Nigeria Limited, who is seeking partnership with the Federal and state governments to construct mass houses at low and high speed. Likewise, private firm, B.A.M. projects & properties has promised to build and deliver 500 assorted affordable housing unit in Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

Effectually, the intervention of sincere developers and partners of affordable housing will go a long way in hasting delivering of housing in spite of our bottled-neck mortgage system and poor realisation of the goals and objectives of our National Housing fund polices. It is equally advised that other developers, third-sectors organisation and profit organisation that carry out their humanitarian responsibilities in form of Corporate Social Responsibility to emulate some of companies that have been used as examples here.

Individuals and organisations, as contributors or investors, are urged to drive affordable housing by trading off a part of their economic behaviour for a social one even though in our housing market, more developers are moving towards building of high-priced apartments (both for rent and sale) for economic reasons. That is, they are building houses with the hope of to meet up with an anticipated demand that has been calculate for a time or period when the economy gets better. That is, the houses are built to fallow for a period before the economy is again supportive for the housing economy. The houses are built to also increase the supply of houses in order to create an up-thrust or bounce-back in the economy by an upward pull that will be generated by the supplied houses.

In corollary, it is only a government who is sincere (anti-corrupt), passionate and humanity-drive for affordable housing that can deliver the positive reality we are expectant to see in our country – considering the scary outlook of Nigerian economy viz-a-viz the international economy in terms of; our crude oil price, dollar exchanged, Central Bank of Nigeria fluctuating policies, insecurity, political unrest.

That is, it is only a government who is sincere and has a passion and humanity-drive for affordable housing that will provide the enabling environment like; favourable policy on land, finance, repositioning of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and other Primary Mortgage Institution (PMI), affordable building materials, appropriate institutional frame-work e.g. a legal frame-work like the housing act , sustainable construction workforce, infrastructures like road network , electricity, land, water, waste system and so on.

Previous government at the federal and state level like Ya’ Adua, Obasanjo, Jakande and Shagari that have achieved a bold reference point in Nigeria’s affording housing history were able to do so because of the zeal and humanitarian attitude they used to drive our housing sector. As such, as made known by the Minster of Housing, the decision of the President Buhari Government to understudy Jakande and Shagrari’s housing estates model to develop affordable housing units for the masses that would involve building 40 blocks in each state of the federation is commendable and in the right direction of attaining affordable housing.

In closing affordable, housing can only be a success when the third sectors effectively work with Public and Private Organisation by stimulating and harnessing their passion and humanity-drive towards affordable housing. That is, the third sector can help in delivering affordable housing project as they are in the business of working hand-in-hand with Public and Private Organisations while getting these organisations to commit their social behaviour over their economic behaviour.
As such, with a combined effort of sincerity, passion and charity from organisations and individuals, affordable housing is in view. That is, the working together of a private real estate and construction practitioner (developers), investors or funders (either Individual or organisation) and government, on a passionate and humanitarian note scale can deliver affordable housing that will go a long way in offsetting our housing deficit as a country.

Conclusively, only by the adequate intervention and involvement of third sectors and their social values in the housing sector can affordable housing see the light of the day in the lives of many Nigerians and the country as a whole.

Preparation + Help = success: Preparation + Hope = nothing

Ever taken time to ponder who is worse-off between a hopeless and a helpless man? Although, more often than not, a lot of us assume and believe that a hopelessness is the worst state that a man can be. They say once there is life, there is hope. Perhaps what is meant by that statement is; where there is no hope, there is no life.

In other words, many of us may easily understand a hopeless man better when he is described as a ‘living dead’ or someone who is alive but not living. That is, in the school of population census of life, a man who is hopeless is not worth of a name during head-count. In the same manner, it is norm not to include an insane person among the count, during a national population census.

However, lately, I have been exposited to a light of understanding that shows how helplessness is on the darker side of the same coin hopelessness is. Without bugging and boring you with the various dictionary meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of grammatical comparison between the two words, let’s ask ourselves this question;

Between;

A hopeful man + helpless man

&

 

A helpless man+ hopeful man

 

Who is worse off? Let’s pick a cue to the answer from the following scenarios;

Imagine the life of a man who is full of hope but dry of help viz-a-viz the life of man who is full of help but empty of hope. Who is going to have a more stagnated or clogged ride in life?

Imagine a cripple man who has lost all hope that he is ever going to walk again but always get help from people to move him around versus another cripple man who is hopeful that he will walk again but is never helped. Who is going more distance between the both of them?

Imagine the number of graduates, entrepreneur, inventors, innovators, roaming the streets with hope but help is suffered-from and compare them to graduates who are, more or less, hopeless but readily access help. Who is going to cover more distance of life?

Preparation + Help (opportunity) = success

Preparation + Hope = nothing

 

Help+ Help = success

Hope + Hope= nothing

Lack of help makes a man stranded, and stranded man is stagnated man. Also, a hapless man may be helpless man but not a hopeless man. In other words, helplessness is what makes a man unlucky, not hopelessness. Hopelessness is insignificant in quadratic equation of life where help is kept constant. Juxtaposing this understanding with that of Pareto principle; 20% helped men matter than 80% hopeful men in the project called life.

Hope doesn’t deliver a man from his helpless state, it is help that delivers a man from hopelessness. If you help a hopeless man, you would have done two things for him; you would have helped him and would have given him hope. But, if you give hope to a helpless man, you simply have given only hope to him but haven’t helped him. Bear in mind that more often than not, man can give unto himself hope but not help. Except if a man is dead or mad, he can give himself hope but a very healthy and alive may not be able to help himself. A sick man may hope that his sickness is not unto death even without encouragement from anyone but he cannot treat himself. He needs help to be treated, not hope.

In conclusion, help is the surest cure for hopelessness as helplessness is a major cause of hopelessness. As darkness give way at the scent of light, so also do hopelessness give way as the show-up of help. Hopelessness cannot strive is helpful environment. Nigeria is, more or less, a hopeless environment because help is very scare.

Help plus Help equals success: heaven help those who help themselves, sadly, not those who are hopeful. Hope is not a strategy but help is- in fact, even more, help is a result.

Hope + Help = ? you should have the answer to this having read this article.

The Bloodiest Friday Night in Paris: Religion and Globalisation of Security

The people behind last night’s attacks weren’t Muslims, they were extremists using religion as vindication for their cowardice.” – Leigh Matthews

Barely 24 hours after the Paris attack that killed at least have 127 peopled on Friday night, November 13, 2013, the European Union’s open border policy that has allowed free movement for refugees seeking asylum came under fire. The horrific event is the country’s worst terrorist atrocity till date as the president of French country, François Hollande, has come forward to describe the attack as an ‘act of war’.

In the wake of Paris attack, France is set to regain control of its borders permanently. Poland is also set to retain full control over its borders, asylum and immigration. For her foremost and proponent policy of openness towards refugees, German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is also increasingly coming under fire of the more conservative factions of her country, other countries and world leaders and delegates who have hitherto disapproved or opposed the allowance of free movement for refugees seeking asylum in other countries. For example, Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban and virtually all the republican governors and party members of United States are some of the people who have been loud in their position against refugees’ intake.

Donald Trump has come out to say the attacks in Paris has proven why the U.S. shouldn’t allow refugees through her borders. The Republican presidential front-runner said that Syrian refugees could be an ISIS ‘plot’ or ‘Trojan horse’ to launch a massive ‘military coup’ against Unite States. Also, over half of U.S. states governors have shut their doors to the Syrian refugees, reiterating that they will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to their states through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program under current President Obama’s administration.

However, an open letter by Leigh Matthews, from Cardiff, where he aired out his feelings about anti-Muslim sentiments following the attack that took place in Paris that night have been about to shine a brighter light on the incident . In a Facebook post, that has since been shared over 42,500 times, he said; “The people behind last night’s attacks weren’t Muslims, they were extremists using religion as vindication for their cowardice.” The most fascinating about his post was that it was astutely designed and intended to subtly educate people on who is to blamed concerning the people (Muslims) generally behind (or believed to behind) horrific attacks across the globe. He carefully urge us each and every one of us not to ‘lay blame at the doors of the innocent just because of what they believe(religion) as they are no more to blame for ‘ Paris-like’ attack than we all are.

It is not justifying that Muslims are being blamed on one hand while the refugees are being blamed on the hand for the Paris attack. However, the real ‘who’ to blame obviously remains at-large or elusive to people of world and the world leaders, especially when considering their interests or gains in national and global politics.

Increasingly, the Paris attacks have drawn renewed attention to Europe’s growing Muslim population which has been growing steadily by about 1 percentage point a decade – from 4 per cent in 1990 to 6 per cent in 2010 populations according to US-based Pew Research Centre. However, Leigh Matthews, has carefully been able to throw more light on who is (or not) to be blamed from the Muslim perspective, especially considering the fact that in the EU, Germany and France have the biggest Muslim populations

In the same spirit, I intend to carefully draw the line on who is to be blamed from refugee perspective. Moreover, not that I would be leading you on who to point accusative fingers at but I will definitely be showing you who is not to be blamed and why. In line with what Leigh Matthews’s exposited via his post, it is debilitating that Muslims are increasingly being blamed wrongly as the people behind the Paris attack. Much more, it is lowly to hear that the reason for the Paris attack is seen to be the policy of openness towards refugees fleeing from horrific violence and persecution from their home country, Syria.

The misconception of security

Historically, security is seen as an all-inclusive or encompassing term that denotes safety and protection from variety of threats or attacks. Security is the protection of humans and their tangible and intangible assets from variety of treats posed   by other humans and other non-living and living things like technology, economy or commerce system, animals, environmental hazards e.g. global warming and so on. Security is also the protection of the tangible and intangible assets of other non-living and living things like (economy system, polices, environment, technology) from threats posed by humans.

However, we ought to get it straight that security, at the nuclei level, is essentially the protection of humans (not necessarily their tangible and intangible assets) from threats posed by other malevolent human. In other words security is the protection of human from (other) human- i.e. it is an ‘inter-human affair’ or a ‘human-to-human’ affair. In a real sense of it, security is ‘not’ the protection of humans from other variety of threats like; technology, economy or commerce system, animals, environmental hazards e.g. global warming and so on except, they are being used as instrument of harm by other humans. Security is also not the protection of the tangible and intangible assets of other living and non-living things like technology, economy or commerce system, animals, environment from threats posed by humans. Security, at the unit or embryonic level,   is essentially a ‘’human-to-human’ affair: not human-to- other living and non-living thing affair, neither is it ‘other living and non-living thing-to-human affair’.

It goes to say that we would be hitting the nail on the head in a security discuss that is about protection of humans (not necessarily their intangible and tangible assets) from other hostile or malevolent humans. We won’t be approaching the heart, but the peripheral, of security matters by discussing on the protection of tangible and intangible asset of humans from threat posed by other forms of living or non-living thing (e.g. technology, economy system, policies, animals, nature accident and environmental hazards e.g. global warming). Neither, we won’t be doing very great with a security discussion that is focused on the protection of tangible and intangible assets of other forms of living or non-living thing from threats posed by humans.

If you want to determine for fact, how secured a nation is, the best way of ascertaining that is primarily by examining threats posed by humans against other human; The United States is increasingly under threat of global warming against its people but it is believed to be one of the most secured country of the world. That is, if we have to talk in the real context – heart of security, there is a direct involvement, often in form of violence or espionage, between humans against other humans. However, the involvement could be from a distance. As such that why ‘physical security’ which is a system that to seeks to minimize threats posed by humans is said to be the Heart of Security.

In today’s language, security may be seen as essentially the protection of humans from ‘extremist’. Security is not the protection of humans from Muslim. Neither is it the protection of humans from refugees. That is, in the Paris case, it is wrong for security to be defined as the protection of the Parisians from refugees or the protection of the Parisians from Muslims. If we choose to define security in these terms, we would be adding more coal to fire of insurgency that is sweeping the globe.

More often than not, it is a strategy and nature of criminals (harmful individuals) to exploit or use a system as vindication for their cowardice. Just as some group of criminals like armed robbers and financial fraudsters may use economic system   as vindication for their cowardice, smugglers may use immigration systems as vindication for their cowardice, rioters may make use political system as vindication for their cowardice, militants like the Niger- Delta may use judiciary system (injustice) as their own vindication for their cowardice and so on.

The misconception of Religion

However, religion is increasingly been used by extremist as vindication for their cowardice. In contemporary times, religion has been the system most used by terrorists as vindication for their cowardice. The reason for this not farfetched; it is believed that man created religion having realised that the only time (system) possible for him to live or feel above his fears is the present, as the past gives regrets and future is pregnant with uncertainties. As such, religion was created by man to forgive him of what he has done wrong in the past and tells him not to worry about for the future. That is, man hides his cowardice to face the worries or uncertainties of his tomorrow by embracing religion to believe he is continually forgiven of his past wrongs or regret.

Man has found religion as; a place- a system- possible for him to live or feel forgiven of his past wrongs- i.e. no regrets, a place (system) where he can have no worry about the uncertainties of his future-i.e. no fears , and a place (system) where he can always live or feel happy- i.e. no sorrow. It is based on a wrong interpretation of this understanding that extremist –jihadist – use religion as vindication for their cowardice.

It is unfortunate that religion is increasingly been established as creation made by man instead of creation made by God. And so, religion has lost its bearing in harmonising the belief or mind of individuals unto a common love. On one side of the coin, religion is the strongest system that can be used to produce hate, on the other die of the coin, it is the strongest system that can be used to produce love. That is, religion helps to produce a psychological energy that either use to generate or fuel hate or love -as such, the extremist have been able to use it to produce hate.

The unification power of a religion system is seen from the understanding that it allows individuals –in their mind/heart- to have threefold win of their past, present and future. No other system can guarantee this win as effective religion does. That is, religion allows man to be or remain in a psychological state-of-art- where he remains intoxicated with fearlessness of his future and the freedom of past regrets and guilt. Today, religion is increasingly been torn apart and soiled by people who should uphold its wholeness and preserve its divine integrity. There has been increased irreconcilable views within one religion and between two or more religions. As such, it is because the people have made religion to lose its value by bastardizing its divine rights and nature that the world is increasingly losing her sleep to the terrorist or extremist who are using religion as a system to vindicate their cowardice.

Globalisation of Security : Refugee Perspective

What happen in Paris that night was just a token of experience of what is happening every now and then in Syria. It was a token of pestilence the refugees are running from. It was the best reality the world could use in understanding the emergency state of Syria and every region under the same form and magnitude threat. It was a show of what the Jihadist or extremist groups all over the globe stood for. It was token of the reality of Boko-harm in the north-eastern Nigerian who have internally displace over 1.5 million persons by terrorism till date. It was a token how much extremist have exploited religion as system for vindication for their cowardice and despicability.

In the broader sense, it was not Paris people who died that matters, neither was it because it happened in Paris that matters. It is the death of the world’s people that matters and the ones increasingly under similar threat all over the globe. It a tickler to the world to double their effort in helping terrorist ridden countries like Syrian, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and others. It was remainder that the state of peace a nation or the world is tied to others.   It is a call for unity and collective effort to fight terrorism effectively as the world is losing more ground to the extremist. Terrorism should be perceived as fire, if the fire doesn’t get to you, the smoke will.

As such, it is not enough for some world leaders (America and European) to blame Paris attacks on immigration policies – refugees. We ought to realise that these attackers are the people the refugees are trying to flee from before point accusative finger at them.

The attack against France is not just the retaliation of the ISIS group against the France country for partaking in fight against them but it’s an act in disapproval of the refugees being harboured by the country. Isis is at war with not only the countries involved in fight against them but with the countries showing mercies to their prey (Syrian people/refugee).

If the borders are regained against refugees fleeing the terrorist country, the refugees would be left at the mercies of extremist group. The world would be playing into the hands of terror group by locking out the hapless, hopeless and helpless refugees. It is the extremist that wins if the refugees are refused entry or absorbed by nations who have deemed it right to help. By shutting out refuges, we would helping the terrorist group to achieve part of the objectives of their strategy and we must not be blind to this fact. We would be suffocating the only or major hope the refugees have to be out of their misery as it would be more disastrous and devastating than ever. We would be freely optimising the plan of the terrorist against humans. The terrorist we will be no more to blame for Paris attack than we are.

We must be able to read in between the lines of the terrorist and understand the writings of terrorists on the wall. These groups have master planners and we shouldn’t undermine or underrate their strategy as one that is not deep or smart. In the words of Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders where he recently addressed questions about the blowback to accepting Syrian refugees in the United States in the wake of the Paris attacks, he said “What we have got to be is not just strong and tough, but we have got to be smart.” And that is exactly what need to know and do; that is, it is not enough to be strong and tough to win the ISIS, but the world also got to be smart.

The world will be the cowards before these terrorist if the refugees are left uncared for. In other words, the world we be the coward before the real cowards –extremist. The world would be surrendering to tactics of the vile individuals, however selfishly or foolishly. The dismissal of refugee programs due to the Paris Attacks would make things even worse for Syrian refugees, thereby making things worse for the world, either on the short or long run.

 

Way forward

The fact that security efforts generally are often a step behind the latest method of criminal or terrorist attack doesn’t mean the innocent people or policy should be accused. The saying ‘as one hole in the net is mended, the fish swim toward another ‘is particularly relevant in the case of Paris attack and the general security concerns of the world.

Generally, in security system, protective efforts are usually initiated after serious problems or damage have occurred. France is just one of the unfortunate countries who now have to initiate and reinforce combinative protective efforts after serious damage has been done to them on the heels of their openness to the Syrian refugees. The September 11, 2011, attacks on the pentagon and the world trade centre initiated substantial reforms in the federal government.

As such, the blowback to accepting Syrian refugees in the other countries in the wake of the Paris attacks is not the way forward. The argument against the refugees do not go farther than the need for countries accepting refuges to tighten their screening procedures to ensure that Islamic State infiltrators aren’t among the refugees. The needful thing to do in all countries that serve as in-let for refugees is to implement a more robust screening for Syrian refugees. A screening process for those considered for immigration to other countries should be more thorough; relying on extensive interviews, biometric screening and the combined intelligence assets of several federal and international agencies. Such countries basically have to slow down their immigration process to tighten their vetting procedures to ensure that Islamic State infiltrators aren’t among the refugees.

It would simply be heinous for the European countries, America, Canada, and countries of the Gulf region accepting refugees to turn their backs lock and their gates against the fleeing immigrants. It is encouraging that Canada is still set to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees before Jan. 1, according to their new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In the same vein, The U.S. who has admitted only about 2,500 Syrians since the civil war erupted in that country in the spring of 2011 plan to admit 10,000 more in the coming year. It would unwise and backlashing to dismiss   more than 700,000 requests for asylum that have been submitted to European countries by refugees fleeing horrific violence and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries over the last year.

In conclusion, we ought to bore in our minds that the efforts and decision the world -world leaders- will take in honour of the innocent lives that was lost in Paris that bloody night will not only lie in punishing the extremist group but also in what happens to the refugees.  The position of world in the wake of Paris attack will go a long way in showing how much countries of the he world and their leaders mean well; not just for all the people who were murdered that night and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through, but also to the survivors and the refugees. As such, it is not resounding that the some world leaders, by virtue of the Paris attack, are now feeling vindicated in their view that Paris (western Europe) is reaping what it has sown through a ‘disastrous policy’ of liberal multiculturalism.

In the words of Isobel Bowdery, 22-year-old lady who was at the Bataclan concert with her boyfriend on the Friday night, and survived Paris terror attack by pretending to be dead the pool of blood of strangers; ‘Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people’. I also pray for peace and comfort to every soul that perished in or survived the Paris attacks and for persons or region presently under similar threat.

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