…Says they’re unrealistic
Magnus Eze, Enugu
Former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, has faulted recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Nigeria’s unemployment and inflation rates insisting they can’t be trusted.
He described figures as not only unrealistic but unreliable, as they are not in tandem with the realities in the country.
Addressing a large crowd of mainly students, at the 2018 Dinner of the Law Students Association (LAWSA), University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), in Enugu, at the weekend, the former governor who used the opportunity to unveil his presidential aspiration in next year’s general elections also raised the alarm that Nigeria was in great danger and needed a leader imbued with demonstrable strategies to steer the ship and rescue it from sinking.
Dwelling on the topic, “Nigeria in Clear and Present Danger”, he said the nation ran a rent economy; a dysfunctional system designed to create jobs and opportunities in foreign countries.
The former governor emphasised that government adjudged its ability to manage the economy on the basis of how low it can keep the exchange rate stable, which was attractive to their wealthy acolytes, rather than how many jobs were created in the real sectors of the economy.
“Comically, the NBS states the national unemployment rate at 14.2 per cent. This is comical because even the uninformed knows that perhaps seven out of 10 folks you meet are either unemployed or underemployed. Would the NBS claim the hawker on the street is employed? These are the sort of statistics we bandy around that make us look delusional. Another is Nigeria’s inflation rate.
The same bureau states that our national inflation rate is at 15.25 per cent, which is considered too high. In other words, there is too much money in circulation. My question is, where is this money, because most folks I know don’t have a dime, while a very few have too much,” Duke stated.
According to him, the wealthier people get, the less the consumer goods purchase. Rather, they indulge in luxury goods that are usually imported and of no multiplier effect or impact on the economy.
He added: “If the amounts of money in circulation were properly distributed and more people were income earning, there would certainly be a deflation and desperate need to reflate the economy. And to my mind, inflation in the context of Nigeria is a fancy word for government’s failure or inability to properly distribute wealth.”
Regardless, Duke posited that to remedy the disaster, which he said the country was walking into with eyes open, there was need to design an economy with a growth rate in the real sectors of about 15 per cent annually, consecutively for 10 years to bring it to terms with the projected population, need and place in the comity of nations.