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Monday, 27 July 2015

PRESIDENT BUHARI'S TRIP TO AMERICA: HOW DO WE MEASURE SUCCESS?


  From all the official and several media accounts, PMB's four-day visit to the USA was a huge success. He met President Obama in the Oval Office for a beautiful photo-op. He held several meetings around the Country and met several high ranking Public and Private sector officials. He had several breakfast , luncheon and dinner meetings. He even had town hall meeting with Nigerians where he proved to me that he listens to what Nigerians are saying about 

t him, BABA GO SLOW . He was interviewed by many global media and was back on Amanpour's show. I therefore identify with all the beautiful sentiments expressed by many regarding the trip and to add that PMB discharged himself meritoriously.
  But we must all remember that this is not the first trip by Nigerian leaders to the USA which had been hailed as very successful, yet without any enduring benefit to the People of Nigeria. Against my expectations at this austere times, PMB undertook this trip with a fairly large delegation and it is clear that the trip must have cost the nation a handsome amount. I have always insisted that the success of any venture must be measured by verifiable criteria and accomplishment. When all the photos have faded, and all the effusion of praise and sentiments must have receeded, how will we judge the success of this well advertised trip:
1. Diplomatic Reconnection with America
I do not know exactly what Jonathan did, but it was clear that he fell out of favour with America. Was it because of his alleged apparently poor handling of the CHIBOK girls kidnap by Bokoharam insurgents,or the tardiness of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB )or could it be his refusal to accept the Same sex marriage doctrine or the high corruption perception of his government. I do not know, but from all indications, from diplomatic sources and non governmental sources, Nigeria's relationship with America had soured. 
   But with the warmth and goodwill exhibited by President Obama and the access the Nigerian delegation had to high ranking American Public and Private Sector officials, it is evident that Nigeria has reconnected with America diplomatically. Certainly other benefits will accrue from this improved diplomatic relationship.
2. Nigeria gains global Respect
It is very clear that President Obama respects PMB very much. He introduced PMB generously to the global media. He said he was a man of integrity and that he had a focused agenda for Nigeria. With the way Obama gesticulated and genuflected in the presence of PMB, his respect was obvious. And so it can be deduced that if the leader of the free World can respect the leader of Nigeria this much, then other global leaders will follow suit and such global respect will rub off on Nigeria. For long, Nigeria's respectability on the global stage has waned and this resurgence is most welcome, coming on the heels of a successful presidential election and 'unexpected' peaceful change of government.
3. Will America buy Nigeria' oil?
One critical way to measure the success of this trip is to know if it will get America to resume purchase of Nigeria's crude oil. For many many years , America was Nigeria's biggest oil customer. But in the last year or so, America stopped buying our crude completely. There must be many reasons for their action, including the increased domestic production of Shale oil.  But America still imports some crude. If PMB's visit gets America back to our market, then it would be a major success.
4. Will America sell Nigeria needed alms to fight Insurgency?
One of the greatest embarrassments we received from America in the last couple of years was their refusal or reluctance to supply Nigeria critical military hardware required to fight terrorism. It Was this refusal that forced Nigeria to the desperate action of carrying cash to the black market in  South Africa and subsequently to Russia. Yet we still do not have all the modern equipment that we need. If President Buhari's red carpet reception by his American war college classmates will make America change its mind and supply us the needed equipment and intelligence technology,  then we will have something tangible to measure the success of the trip.
5. Will More American Investment flow into Nigeria- oil & Non oil?
We have witnessed a painful  divestment of American and multinational interest in our upstream oil and Gas sector. The reasons for this trend are many, some unjustifiable from Nigeria's perspective. Our proven reserves are declining and new finds are diminishing. We need the multinationals to resume investing in our upstream oil and gas as well as in non oil sectors. The moment America shows significant renewed interest in investing in Nigeria again, other western Nations will follow. Nigeria sorely needs a higher inflow of foreign direct investment( FDI) which has shown some decline in the last two years,especially to the oil sector. Nigeria needs to diversify its economy and the efforts started in  agriculture and manufacturing by the last regime needs to be ramped up speedily. American investment will be needed to balance investment from the East, especially China. We should therefore be counting and measuring FDI inflows following this American trip.
6. Will the G7 Nations Fulfill their Promise to Nigeria?
One of the earliest trips of PMB on assumption of Office was the trip to Germany in June to attend the G7 summit. Here, promises were made to support Nigeria in the fight against Bokoharam and Corruption. How many have been fulfilled as at date? Many more promises have been made by the USA along these lines. I am particularly fascinated by the promise to get the FBI to help Nigeria recover the 150  billion dollars stacked in American Banks by Corrupt Nigerian officials. To me the fact that we can quote a definite figure gives hope that there is some record somewhere. PMB was alleged to have said that some past Ministers were selling one million barrels of Oil daily and paying the money into their personal accounts. Wow! With that kind of information, it should not be very difficult to arraign these thieves and recover the money. 
  Can you imagine what 150 billion dollars can do for Nigeria right now. For one, the issue of unpaid salaries would be dispensed with and PMB would have enough to fill the ' empty treasury' he inherited. And perhaps that will help to speed things up. Therefore I can not wait to see the money trickling back and I hope to keep records, knowing that in the spirit of transparency, we will be told when the recovery begins and from whom they are recovered. This will be one of the most important indices I will use to measure the success of PMB's American trip.
  Finally therefore, I believe that PMB will make a lot more foreign trips during his term. That will be inevitable and in most cases will be welcomed. But I believe that we need to develop the culture of actually measuring the actual success of each trip and determining its real benefit for our country, considering that each trip costs Nigeria much. Beyond the direct cost, the opportunity cost of leaving his beat for days must be justified. That is an important but often overlooked aspect of accountability that we demand from our leaders.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR 



Monday, 20 July 2015

PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI SHOWS HIS HAND

 After what looked like an interminable wait, President Muhammadu Buhari( PMB) in the last couple of days began to show his hand. Before now, he had only made some apparently minor changes and appointments, the more significant being the appointment of the Accountant General and the acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC). But in the last week or so he has taken some bold steps that give an indication of where he is headed to.
  Firstly, the anticorruption campaign seems to have taken off. Past Governors Ohakim and Nyako (with sons) whose cases with EFCC had gone cold were revived in a dramatic manner. Then attention was moved to Governor Lamido and his sons. The three Governors and sons have been arraigned in court and all taken on bail. I am expecting many more arrests, followed by arraignments in court and then granting of bails. Already I recently read that the erstwhile National Security adviser(NSA) may have been arrested a few days after being relieved of his position. This is the sort of anti corruption drama which Nigerians have missed for some time now and which they have been asking for. There will be plenty of entertainment. Our real hope however is that, it must not end with this entertainment. We need for the cases to proceed speedily and justice served. That will give the real effect to the campaign. 
  In this wise, PMB will need the cooperation of the anti corruption agencies to do a good job of their assignment. They must avoid the past gimmicks of charging people with fifty two unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable  counts which they subsequently reduce to two and yet can not sustain one charge successfully in court. Since Dairiye and Alamesiagha, I do not think that the EFCC has gotten any conviction of any high profile suspect. The recent drama where The EFCC could not even win a one million Naira money laundry charge against Mr Femi Fani-Kayode does not give much hope that much will be achieved in this renewed campaign. Additionally and importantly, the judiciary must buy into PMB's anti corruption crusade. If it will take four years to prosecute a suspected corruption case, then the impact will be lost. Finally PMB must find a way to reorientate our attorneys and get them to stop using undue delay tactics in frustrating the legal prosecution of the anti corruption cases. I believe that all Nigerians( including the attorneys themselves) will benefit if corrupt Nigerians are brought to book speedily.
  Secondly, PMB has begun to make significant appointments and some trend is emerging. A couple of weeks ago, when some analysts said that the President was leaning more to the North of Nigeria in choosing his appointees, I cautioned that it was too early to see a trend. As at that time, the claim was that out of the eighteen appointments said to have been made only one went to the South West while the rest went to the North. But when PMB sacked the Defense chiefs this week, the case was strengthened about some emerging trends. Out of the Six new Defense chiefs, four came from the North( three from North East alone), two from the south( South West and South South). There was nobody from the South East in any of these appointments so far.  The Igbo are crying foul. They can not understand why no Igbo has been appointed to any position by PMB so far. 
   The trend that is discernible is that PMB is making appointments based on some criteria that are known to him. There has been the suggestion that the President choose the Defense Chiefs based on merit and the President himself seems to have confirmed that through his adviser on Media & Publicity. Of course the Igbo retort that if this were so, does it mean that that No Igbo Defense professional merited any such appointment and yet two Borno  Officers qualified? They are astounded by this possibility. Another related trend is that PMB may not be bothered about the federal character principle in the appointments he made and he will make during his tenure. Because if he had considered the federal character principle, he would not appoint three out of six principal Defense chiefs from one Geo- political zone, while ignoring one whole geopolitical zone in all the appointments he has made in the nearly two months he has been in office.
  For me this is both good and bad. Good, because I am one of the apostles of merit-driven appointment to every office, especially in the public sector. I have always said that Nigeria can never achieve its best until it is led or served by the best. The only challenge is to ensure consistency in the application of this concept. The criteria for choosing the best must be known and must be transparently and consistently applied. The bad side is that the constitution talks of Justice and equity in dealing with all the different peoples and groups in Nigeria. The Federal character law specifies that employments and appointments in the public service should be done in a fair and equitable manner to give every section of Nigeria a feeling of belonging. So far these appointments by PMB fall much below these specifications and expectations and the unhappiness of the people of South East Nigeria can be understood. 
  More so, when it is realized that the Igbo constitute one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria with Men and women that can compete with the best in Nigeria, it is understandable why they are currently apprehensive of being lost in the power space in our Country. The excuse by some people, that this is the fate of the Igbo for voting Jonathan in the last election does not fetch any water. First is that not every Igbo person voted for Jonathan. In every state in the South East, some people voted for PMB. Though majority may have voted for GEJ, some others voted for PMB. If the Igbo are being ignored or 'punished' for voting GEJ, why must those who voted for PMB be also 'punished'. Secondly PMB is president for all Nigerians, not only for those who voted for him and he himself said so at his inauguration and emphasized it with his popular " I belong to nobody, I belong to every body"
  Personally, I am of the firm hope that PMB will receive all these  feedbacks and will make effort to assuage the concerns of the people of the South East and assure them that he has no axe to grind with the Igbo. For example if he announces Dr Ogbonnaya Onu as Secretary to Government(SGF) tomorrow, the pain will begin to ease .
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR 

Monday, 13 July 2015

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: CURBING THE IRRESPONSIBILITY IN MANY STATES
  After the heroic efforts Of President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to get the Paris Club to forgive a large chunk of our Debt, most of which had become delinquent and clogging our credit worthiness, he was determined to do all in his power to see that we never walked that route again. One of the things he did, was to push through the fiscal responsibility act in 2007 before his exit. Among other things,the law specified deficit to GDP ratio for the federal government which should not exceed 3%, the borrowing limits for the Federal Government and the State Governments, what the borrowed funds must be spent on and the need to maintain budget and procurement integrity. Though the act is a federal act, certain aspects apply to all the tiers of government  and it was expected that all the States would adopt or domesticate the laws.
  But the recent revelations that up to 23 Out of 36 States of the Federation are unable to pay workers salary as at and when due, with some owing up to eight months shows poor management of the State resources. If States can not pay salaries, what else can they do?. Recently, it has also been revealed that our states owe about 660 billion Naira to commercial banks, that will need restructuring as many of the states are currently unable to pay. Thus if some of these states were private companies, they should be filling for bankruptcy . And yet we have not included debt to multilateral Agencies like the World Bank and the African Development Bank, nor have we considered unsecured debts to contractors and sundry service providers to state governments. I will like to know what the Balance sheet statements of these states look like.
 Now , the Federal Government has 'conjured'359 Billion Naira (from a hitherto 'empty' treasury) to help itself and the States meet their salary obligations as this was becoming a national security threat. The Central Bank has offered soft and concessionary loans of between 250-300 Billion Naira as bail out to needy States. I bet that the 36 States will bite the bait. Additionally the CBN and the Debt Management office( DMO) have agreed to work with the commercial bank creditors to restructure the 660 billion Naira loan, to grant repayment moratorium and extend the tenure of the loans to fifteen years. This is certainly an excellent relief package for the States and I must congratulate the Federal government for rising up to this challenge. The question therefore that arises is: how long will this last before we return to this square? 
  For sure, this is not the first time we have had to deal with backlogs of unpaid salaries in different states of the federation, the only difference though is that the 'affliction' is more generalized this season. When all the reasons for this are considered, the verdict points to fiscal recklessness, the 'ailment' for which the Fiscal Responsibility act was meant to prevent. Thank God, that many of the States have new governors who can rightly claim that they can not be charged as accused. This is why, I wish to make the following suggestions to help prevent another round of this ailment, at least within the next four years.
 1. ADOPT A SAVINGS CULTURE 
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; which having no guide,overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in summer and gathereth her food in harvest". This is the counsel of the wiseman Solomon.  Another counsel says "While the Earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat and summer and winter and day and night shall not cease" There will always be winter and we need to prepare for it. In Nigeria's fiscal weather, the oil bubble bursts in a fairly regular rhythm. The oil prices rise and rise( sometimes for no known reasons), and suddenly they will begin to go down and down ( sometimes for no really valid reasons), until it bottoms out and the cycle will repeat all over again.That Nigeria is still regularly caught 'pants down'each time the the swing goes down, is a study in profligacy.
 In addition to the fiscal Responsibility act, Obasanjo and Okonjo-Iweala introduced the Excess Crude Account( ECA) to force us to save. The Governor's forum went to court. Were it not for Obasanjo's known "stubbornness", the governors will have cancelled this only saving device that the Nation has and we may not have been able to survive the global economic crisi s of 2008-2009 not to talk of this current Nigerian oil shock. During  President Jonathan's reign, they sustained the pressure and found him more democratic and pliable. So I will like to plead with these new Governors and the hopefully 'repentant' older Governors, like the former comrade in the State of Osun to allow the ECA to remain. Otherwise, there is no other arrangement for savings anywhere in the Federal Government and the States. Since many of them run deficit Budgets, where will savings accrue?except, they refuse to fund the capital budget as the federal government often does(or did?). In this wise, let me add another appeal to the 8th National Assembly to take it easy with pushing up the projected budgeted price of crude oil during the annual budget approval process so that the chance of accruing ECA will be enhanced. 
2. INVOLVE THE PRIVATE SECTOR & NGOs IN SERVICE DELIVERY
 To avoid unduly stretching the limited resources of the State government in the provision of services, it has become imperative that the States must divest certain businesses and services to the private sector or the Non governmental Organizations(NGOs). Not only will this reduce the burden on the government treasury, it will also create better efficiencies. The example of Governor Peter Obi in Anambra State in the Education and Health sectors requires emulation.
3. WORK ON BALANCED BUDGET
As I said in the preceding paragraph, many of the governments at all levels, operate deficit budgets. While this may be economically justified, when the source of loan repayment can be reasonably guaranteed,we have seen in Nigeria especially in many of the States, that there is no such guarantee. Borrowing and hoping to pay on income from crude petroleum has become a dangerous game these days, because of the different pressures and global 'conspiracy' against hydrocarbon as energy source. It has been said that if you must borrow, then invest it on what would return the investment  plus the interest at the due time. There is little evidence that this is being adhered to in many States. One way to improve fiscal responsibility in States is to find ingenious ways to increase internally generated funds without unduly taxing those who are already in the tax net. So my counsel is that as much as possible, state governments must build their budgets on assured income and only take short term facilities when unavoidable to bridge short term shortfalls that must be closed rapidly soon after. Long term loans should only be taken for critical infrastructure and only from concessionary sources.As has been seen in the past, too much borrowing by the public sector
 destabilizes the macroeconomy and often displaces the Private sector.
4. STICK TO THE  BUDGET
One act of fiscal discipline our Governors must imbibe is to be thorough in preparing budgets and then ensuring that they stick to the budget when approved. If the truth must be told,only very few states operate within their budgets. In several states, it is the governor who decides on daily, weekly or monthly basis what is to spent and on what. Their Finance commissioners are merely 'errand' boys who have little or no authority to manage the budget. In the course of this anomaly  spurious items are introduced, while budgeted items or activities are ignored. This 'emperor ' attitude must change if Our people will derive optimum benefit from the state patrimony.
5.THE STATE HOUSES OF ASSEMBLY MUST TAKE BUDGET APPROVAL SERIOUSLY 
 In many States of the federation, the required rigour to review and approve the annual budgets does not exist. There is hardly an understanding of the concept of Profit and loss or Balance sheet statements. Every body is struggling to include their projects in the budget and the focus is mostly on "scratch my back, while I scratch yours". Not much worry on how the Budget will be funded. And even after all the scratching, not much happens, because it is only the Governor who will determine which project will be prosecuted or funded, whether in the budget or not. And what is worse, the oversight function is derelicted as neither the Governor nor his commissioners are held accountable as long as the "oversight logistics" are taken care of. This kind of budget oversight is a major cause of much of the fiscal irresponsibility in many of our States and must change for good. The houses of Assembly must act as true 'watchdogs' on the executive, otherwise much of the money we spend on them will not be justified, if they prefer to become "rubber stamps" instead.
6. DOMESTICATE THE ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR.
Most times, it looks as if corruption must be fought by the Federal government alone. Everybody is expecting President Muhammadu Buhari to wage war against corruption. Is there any law preventing State Governors from launching the anti-corruption war in their States? This is one viable action to achieve fiscal responsibility. From dealing with 'ghost' workers to the issue of 'ghost' projects; from contract padding to outright misappropriation
the State can save a lot of money to create more value for the People of their States. Indeed I am ready to make a bet, that any state that can destroy the corruption demon or hold it in check, will never go broke. 
7. DOMESTICATE THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT.....then enforce it! 
To ensure that we do not pass through this square again, at least not too soon,we must adopt the fiscal responsibility act in all the 36 States of the Federation. It will at least help to guide the state governments on how and how not to borrow and encourage them to do their utmost to live within their means. But as we know too well, adopting the law is only the first part, but the more important but usually very difficult part is to enforce the law. And to me, if we can't enforce the laws we make, we might as well not have laws at all!
 On this matter, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission must wake up to its responsibility. Hearing from one of the senior officers of the commission on a recent NTA programme that the limits on borrowing, supposed to be set for the state governments has not been done by the "federal government" after seven years, left many of the contributors and listeners baffled. Who is the" federal government"?. We have a commission with its full complement of commissioners and their SAs & PAs and perhaps also with their SAs to SAs or PAs to PAs, waiting for the "federal government" to do what the law has empowered the commission to do. That is really part of our problem. Government officials( at various levels and tiers of government) who enjoy the perks of office but can not justify their cost to the National or State treasury. Perhaps we can start from here in dealing with this malady of fiscal irresponsibility at all tiers of government in Nigeria. Let square pegs be placed in square holes!!
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR 

Monday, 6 July 2015

THE PROS AND CONS OF THE CBN BAN

 In my days as Chairman of the Manufacturer's Association of Nigeria, Ikeja, I would jump and applaud the recent ban of importers of 41 Products from accessing foreign exchange market for the importation of the said products into our Country. These products include food items like Rice, vegetable oil, tomato purée, Margarine,sardines, fish,& meat products; tools like wheel barrows, head pans, toothpicks, plastic materials;Cement and luxury items like Furniture & Private Jets. As a manufacturer or significant investor in local manufacturing, I will always want to support any ban or restriction on importation,with the general belief that all bans of importation will naturally result in increased demand for locally produced goods. And this view is fully supported by many of my colleagues who are currently active in MAN or indeed who are involved in some local production activities. Not them alone , many Nigerians believe that we are too import dependent and will want the Nation to do all it can to discourage importation and encourage local production, though many still prefer foreign made goods when they shop.
  But in the Nigerian Economic Summit Group( NESG), I learnt that first, bans do not always result in increased local production. This is because Nigeria has proved chronically incapable of enforcing bans. Most times, bans only create opportunities for smugglers and their custom collaborators. I know many Nigerian Businessmen who are excited anytime a ban is announced by Nigerian authorities. When budget speeches are being read, they keep no damn on the issue of economic indices,  they are not interested in knowing how much the Country wants to spend or which Ministry will spend more than the other, their only interest is to hear which products have been banned or restricted. For them that portends good business. They are sure of having a good year.
  The second thing I learnt is that Bans or import restrictions can precipitate product scarcity. If local productive capacity can not meet demand or can not be ranched up speedily, then prices of locally produced goods rise, fueling inflation, and causing additional hardship on the citizens. This lesson was learnt in 1984-1986 period during which certain products were banned out rightly or whose importation were restricted either through import licensing or through the concept of "NOT VALID FOR FOREIGN EXCHANGE", similar to what the CBN has just done. Those who lived through that period will remember the distress of queuing for certain essential commodities ( Essenco) or the pain of going without some of these products because they had become unaffordable.
  The third lesson, I have learnt is that Bans can promote inefficiencies and subsidies. Because of limited competition, local producers can be "over protected" to adopt inefficient production methods without much care for cost and may not have the motivation to improve quality, thereby short changing consumers who may be compelled to pay higher prices for lower quality . Fourthly, and from a broader economic perspective, Bans can lead to inefficient allocation of resources since the concept of the free working of the laws of demand and supply and free choice are constrained, a concept which the World Trade Organization( WTO)promotes. Fifthly, it has been shown, that what is a finished product for one may be a raw material or intermediate material for another. Already the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry ( LCCI) has raised issues on the impact of the restriction on some of their members.
  As a Nationalist who is scandalized that Nigeria is over dependent on Importation and has become a destination for all kinds of spurious goods, including toothpicks and plastic toys, I should support any move to restrict importation of certain items. I am more supportive of such moves when it is realized that the importation of some of these items are consuming our scarce foreign reserves putting a lot of pressure on the foreign exchange rate. Furthermore, when I realize that unemployment is worsened by higher levels of importation of finished goods, which often displace local alternatives, bringing down local production capacity and causing job losses, I will naturally vote for import restriction by all means, especially for those commonly used products for which we have local capability and capacity.
  But in supporting the policy of restricting importation either out rightly or indirectly as done by CBN, I have a couple of worries. First is, did CBN undertake detailed studies to determine the level of local capacity and capability to avoid creating shortages that will cause citizen discontent and subsequent resistance. This is part of the dilemma the Greek are facing now with the austerity measures which have led to protests & change of Government and may cause further changes. Second is, how will CBN enforce this Ban? It will not be easy with monitoring the commercial Banks, not to talk of export proceeds and the Bureau De change (BDC). Nigerian Business men can easily walk round the restrictions, if the matter is to provide invoices. That is the easiest thing for any cub importer. Third, is how will the CBN manage the rapid depreciation of the Naira at the parallel market? Since the announcement of this policy a few days ago the Naira has gone on free fall going from around 215 to around 235 Naira to I USD. On this score my worry is heightened by the fact that President Buhari promised Nigerians that he would restore the value of Naira to equal the USD. This policy is certainly in contradiction with that aspiration,at least in the short to medium time. 
  But my greatest worry is, how long will this policy last? Under normal circumstances, this ban should spur additional investment in the affected sectors. Those who are already in the various sectors will expand their production, distribution and marketing capabilities and capacities. New investors who see opportunities arising from this ban or restriction may decide to build plants and set up manufacturing facilities. Others will expand their acreage of farms, employ more labour and install additional mechanized capabilities. This will be the normal economic response. Sequel to this, new jobs will be created, local suppliers of raw materials will scale up their businesses and there will be overall increase in economic activities. So, in addition to saving our foreign reserves, we can stimulate increased local productive activities which should be salutary to the economic health of Nigeria, especially at this period of our economic history where income from crude oil is on the decline, devastating our economy.
  My real worry arises from our well known history of policy somersaults, flip-flops and inconsistencies. Severally in the past, we have banned importation of several things- Rice, wheat, Poultry, drugs, furniture, autos etc. This has attracted investors to go and borrow money to set up local production facilities, only for the government to turn around and lift the ban, leaving the investors high and dry. The debacle of the NERFUND era arose largely from this kind of Behaviour. Carcasses of failed industries and the bones of some of the dead bank borrowers bear testimony. Therefore, many People who have lived in Nigeria, long enough, especially those who have had their fingers burnt, do not hurry to make investments any more when such 'pyrrhic' opportunities present. Rather, many will work to subvert the policy or wait for the inevitable reversal. Because nobody is sure that some important people ( Obas, Emirs & Ezes inclusive) or misguided Trade Unions will not make  a courtesy call or a protest March on the President tomorrow to complain of the hardship the ban or restriction is having on them or on their business interests and without bating an eyelid, the President could reverse the policy throwing many eager investors into huge debts,business atrophy and may be to early death.
  Now you can see why I have not jumped up to applaud CBN for taking what you may call a sensible course of action. If the money in your pocket is short, all you can do, is to decide what you must pay for in cash, what you can get on credit( if you are credit worthy )and what you must forgo. But when it comes to managing Nigerian Economy, it is never as simple or straight forward and that is why I have many worries. If the CBN and the Government can take care of these worries, then on the balance our support for this new policy will be justified.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR