Comrade Abdulbaqi Aliyu Jari – Internet Constituency.
Nigeria recently updated its economic database and proclaimed itself the largest economy in Africa. Nigeria has GDP of over $326 billion. Nigeria, the 26th largest economy in the world, has over $40 billion in its excess crude account. With over 170 million people, Nigeria’s internal market stands at about $100 billion annually.
There is no doubt that since oil which accounts for over 90 per cent of the nation’s income and foreign exchange has now slipped from over $100 per barrel to less than that amount, Nigeria’s economy would be affected negatively.
The United States, US, is among the top buyers of Nigeria’s oil. It used to buy over 35 per cent of Nigeria’s oil but with recent development and discovery of oil in the US, it now buys less than 20 per cent, which is among the best in the world, because it has less sulphur.
Already Nigeria has started feeling the heat. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance, has warned that the country may face shortage of income in its third quarter. Most states depend on the oil money sent to them from the Federation Account to pay their salaries and carry out other projects. Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State was reported as saying some states may go broke by January 2015.
Looting, bribery and corruption are taking the economy hostage. Over one trillion dollars have been stolen from Nigeria since independence. Much of this money is lodged in foreign banks in Western countries and is forfeited when those who dump it there die. Even when in rare cases the money is repatriated, some rogues at home would still convert it to their use illegally.
It is time government initiated and enforced austerity measures to curb its lavish spending. Monies should henceforth be put to good use. Unnecessary travels by government officials should be stopped. About N300 billion could be saved through such measures. Austerity must start from government officials in ministries and departments. Enough is enough. Nigerians must stand up against lavish spending and corrupt tendencies in order to safeguard their future and that of their children and generations to come.
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