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Saving The Naira: Political Class Needs To Shape Up Or Nigeria Will Die, Says Pat Utomi

He suggested that the government lay more emphasis on processing of national resources.

Professor of Political Economy and management expert, Prof. Pat Utomi, has warned the current administration to take caution in how they run the nation as well as advised them on steps to take to move the nation forward.

The recent decline in Naira since the announcement of the removal of subsidy by the president of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29th has caused the currency to lose 40% of its value in the exchange market. This led to a rise in uncertainty as well as hardship for the citizens of the nation which is facing an all time high in inflation. The currency now closes at  1150 to one US Dollar.

In an ARISE NEWS interview on Monday, Professor Utomi said that if the president as well as the national assembly do not focus on more effective means to improve the nation’s value and save the national currency from further declining in the FX market, the nation might just as well decline with it.

“If people don’t see our national values, and commitments, rather than stealing our own, none of these will work. The political class has to get together and realise that their country is about to die.

If Tinubu doesn’t recognize this, Nigeria will die. He doesn’t need a soothsayer. This is not business as usual. “

Earlier in the interview, the professor stated the previous administration had a hand in running down the national market that was built to prevent the nation from being a laughing stock globally.

 “We tried to build a foreign exchange market. Why was this foreign exchange market important to build?

“In 1993 I was at INSEA, a famous professor teaching a class on global financing looking at exchange rates. He looked at Asia and you could see a close flow between the purchasing power priority line and currencies. Nothing overshooting. You put Africa on the screen and one country just went off the graph. That country was Nigeria. Everyone laughed in the class.

“That made us struggle to create a proper market.  We went through a second tier foreign exchange market and eventually built up the market, and what happened? The last central bank demolished that, just to allow some people to steal money. We are where we are and still surprised?”

Professor Utomi stated that he had advised the previous governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele to not put focus on fiscal policies but the governor had his own plans.

“I can say I publicly confronted Emefiele when he began to deal with fiscal policy and told him ‘That’s not your business,’ and he said ‘But no one is doing anything.’”

He also stated that if Yemi Cardoso is to succeed, he would have to take a more action focused approach rather than putting emphasis on speeches and promises. He re-emphasised the need to build more confidence in the national value and suggested that cutting costs of policies that serve as bottlenecks to the system to help improve the national market and aid processes like the export system, to favour the citizens.

The professor who is the founder of the Centre for Values In Leadership, stated that some of the steps the government would need to focus on to aid national growth includes, dwelling more on the processing and supply of raw materials globally by taking advantage of our mineral resources thus adding value to them, and creation of policies that support various manufacturing industries.

Obasanjo in a conference spoke on the “Curse of Oil” that has created a mono-economy for Nigeria. He spoke on agricultural resources as a prospect of the government focus and pointed out that exported goods have no added value because they are not processed due to lack of facilities.

Professor Utomi suggested the patronization of smaller institutes and engagement of citizens in the diversification of the economy asserting that this would help the nation dominate the global value chain.

He lamented on the issue of weakened Institutions run by people who are not competent thus limiting personnel working under them, especially in the recent political class thus destroying the industries and the economy.  And finalised by stating that corrupt leaders continuously plan a diverse economy without a national strategy leading to no action being taken over multiple regimes.

Glamour Adah

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