•Your policies not working, emir warns President
•Ex-CBN gov lists 6 ways to get Nigeria out of recession
By Odunayo Omokejimi
From the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, came a warning yesterday to the Buhari administration not to end up like the government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
This is even as the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor listed six ways that could get the country out of economic recession.
Sanusi attributed the current recession to the failure of past administration to diversify the economy. He spoke while delivering a lecture at the ongoing meetings of the joint planning board and National Council on Development Planning in Kano, titled: “Nigeria in search of new growth model.”
The emir said though he is a friend of the Buhari administration, but he would not shy away from advising the government when it was getting it wrong on the economy.
Sanusi spoke about the urgent need for the country to return to the drawing board and expand the economy through wise investments capable of yielding economic growth and development.
He said the current economic policy and its inconsistency does not favour business and investment in the country, warning President Muhammadu Buhari that if he does not act fast, his government could end up like Jonathan’s.
Urging the President to be wary of the activities of “voodoo economists at the corridors of power”, he implored the Federal Government to emulate Lagos in formulating policies that can boost trade, business and attract investors.
“If we do not expand the economy through wise investment, we can end up in classical Malthusian situation. If this government continues to behave the way the past government behaved, we will end up where Jonathan ended.”
“We are always blaming the past administration, but we have also made mistakes in this administration. The problem is that there is nothing we are facing today that we did not know what happened. That is the truth.
“We made mistakes, many of them deliberate. We ignored every single warning. Not building roads, not building power and other necessary infrastructure that can boost the economy and development of the country
“In 2010 when I was Governor of Central Bank, the government increased minimum wage to N18, 000. I protested, but they went ahead and borrowed money to pay. In 2012, as Governor of CBN, I said that this is an unsustainable wage bill. We need to reduce the size of public service, which fell on deaf ears.
“I believe we have started retracing our steps and we have to retrace our steps. If a policy is wrong, it is wrong and it has to be changed.”
He said a system where someone sits down and with a telephone call makes N1billion without investing a single kobo is wrong and unsustainable, lamenting that in spite of the previous experiences, the country is still making the same mistakes.
“A situation where we cannot process tomato –tomato paste is being imported from China –is sad,” he said.
The lecture reads in parts:
I’m a friend of this administration, but if they decide to run Nigeria aground, I will become the opposition. You are not good friends if you sit down with government officials and don’t tell them the truth. I will continue to say the truth.
“Nigeria must drop the habit of borrowing to pay salaries and service recurrent expenditures.
“There is nothing happening today that we didn’t forecast years ago because all actions have consequences.
“Industrialisation potentials of Northern Nigeria was documented by Ahmadu Bello in 1962, 54 years after, there’s nothing to show.
“We created billionaires from oil subsidies in the past. We are making the same mistake with forex subsidies.
“As an emir, I can sit in my garden and make phone calls to access $10million @ N197 per $ then sell it off at nothing less than N300. With just a phone call, I’m making a profit of over a billion naira. That is what people are doing now.
“Any system that allows you sit in your garden and make a billion naira without investing a kobo is a wrong system.
“We created the recession we are in now and I hope the President won’t make the mistakes Jonathan made.
“We are not being sincere when we say we are in a recession because of the fall in oil prices. What happened to other sectors?
“I understand it’s painful when we pay for expensive fuel, but we must understand no system is perfect.
“Petroleum subsidy empowers a small group of criminals rather than the poor masses it was meant for.
“If you must subsidise anything, please it should be for production rather than consumption, he said.
On the six ways to get the country out of woods, he said:
•Federal Government must set the forex rate to incentivise capital inflows, catalyse FDI and FDI funding;
•Federal Government must set interest rates at levels that deter capital flight dollarisation;
•Federal Government must eliminate wasteful and abuse prone subsidies;
•Federal Governmentmust address failure in the power sector value chain starting with the DISCOS;
•Federal Government must digitise state land registries and streamline relevant legislations; FG must re-priotise public spending towards investment in human capital; and lastly,
•Federal Government must protect infant industries specifically labour intensive manufacturing.