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Monday, 25 April 2016

A CASE FOR REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION & DEVELOPMENT

Between 1958-1966, Nigeria's economy was making steady and enviable progress, depending on intense Agricultural production and solid Minerals export to earn foreign exchange which was sufficient to meet its import needs. The North exported mainly Groundnuts, Cotton and Hides & Skin. The West focused largely on Cocoa and Timber. The Mid-West harnessed Rubber. Eastern Nigeria produced and exported mainly Palm Produce (Palm oil & Palm Kernel) and Coal. Within the same period, the seeds for a bludgeoning industrial Base were being laid across the Nation for the production of consumer goods, essentially for the domestic market. Nigeria had no balance of Payment challenges and did not need any loans to meet its budgeted expenditure. Salaries were paid on due dates. All the Schools had teachers and many Students went to School( Home & Abroad) on Scholarships. The Hospitals and Dispensaries had Doctors and Nurses who never went on Strike because of emolument disputes and the out of stock syndrome( O/S), was an unknown phenomenon in our Country.
   It is on record that the Economic growth of Eastern Nigeria was the fastest in Nigeria, and in deed in Africa especially between 1962-1966. The discovery of Crude oil in Oloibiri in present day Bayelsa State in 1958 helped to give Eastern Nigeria an edge. Though oil had not become such prized asset, it nevertheless boosted the Earnings of the Region. At that time, the Regions kept 50% of their export earnings and only remitted 50% to the Federation account for sharing among the Federating units and the Federal Government( in which case the Eastern Region's total share from oil was more than 50%). 
  Thereafter the Military arrived on the Scene in January of 1966 and the descent of Nigeria began. The fragmentation of Nigeria into States( 12-18-21-36) and the centralized control of resources and responsibilities combined with easy money from crude Petrol to halt Nigeria's Development. We walked away from Agriculture and Solid mineral exploitation and became a mono-cultural economy. Though  some brave efforts have been made by successive governments since the end of the Civil War in 1970 to redirect Nigeria to the path of true Economic Diversification and Development, our inverted Federal structure,endemic & systemic corruption and poor incentive system have kept us chronically underperforming. The worsening unemployment, the growing poverty, the increasing violent crimes and a frightening loss of values show ample evidence of the decline. Most Nigerians continue to speak of a better yesterday.
    Given the current difficulties facing Nigeria, it is evident that many States are on the verge of becoming failed States. If they were private companies, some may have been declared bankrupt and put on receivership. Many are having difficulties paying salaries of their workers and so can hardly offer any other reasonable service to the People. Talking of development in such circumstances may be unrealistic. With little to invest in Capital development, retrogression will set in, especially as population continues to ramp up. Again if they were private companies, we may have suggested Mergers and acquisitions. But this seems to be a no-go area. No State wants to merge. Indeed the demand for more states is still high among some Nigerians who are looking for turfs to plunder and territories to enslave.
   Since it is difficult to dissolve the States, or to merge the States, it may be reasonable to recommend Strategic alliances and Economic Integration . Here the States can pull their limited resources to fund projects. They can agree on cross cutting projects that will yield incremental benefits to the constituent states. They can leverage resources to achieve projects and programs that are currently beyond the reach of each State. Working together, they can attract Private Sector investments that would otherwise be out of the reach of individual states or would be unviable in only one State. They can change the Narrative from pervading poverty and increasing criminality to that of economic prosperity, enhanced job opportunities and improvement in the standard of living.
 This is why the Plan of the South East-South South Professionals of Nigeria( SESSPN) to organize a Development Forum in PortHarcourt, Rivers State this week, with the theme:  A NEW ROAD MAP FOR REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUTH EAST & SOUTH SOUTH resonates with me. At this Forum, the Eleven Governors of the States that make up these contiguous Regions with some of their officials, Private Sector leaders and other non governmental Agencies will be reviewing a Strategic Document -DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR THE SOUTH EAST & SOUTH 2035( DASESS 2035), put together by SESSPN. This 20 year strategic plan whose draft will be the major focus at the Forum has been in development in the last 3 years and has had the input of many Stakeholders at previous fora. The Plan is built around Four Pillars- Agriculture, Industrializaton, Oil & Gas, Tourism & Trade and anchored on Five Enablers- Infrastructure, Security, ICT, Education and Health Care. The Oil & Gas plan includes the creation of an Oil & Gas Corridor in the Niger Delta. Additional Focus will be on how to create an operating environment that will drive investment and lead to the aggregation of the resources to achieve the intended Regional Economic integration and Development in the SE-SS. 
 I believe that this kind of effort should be an opportunity to re create the economic 'miracles' of the 60s and should be fully supported by all Well meaning Nigerians and leaders of the regions. Perhaps that's why the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has agreed to be the Special Guest of Honour, with Senators, Representatives and Ministers from the Zone as Guests of Honour at a gathering that will attract the best of Resource Persons from the Region including Prof Pat Utomi, Sen Ken Nnamani, Chief Henry Okolo, OCJ Okocha SAN, Ibim Semenitari,Dr Uche Ogah, E.E. Akpan,Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Uche Orji, Dr. Emi Membere Otaji, Eng.Pedro Egbe, Emeka Ene, Ifie Sekibo, Amb Joe Keshi, Capt Emma Ihenacho,Promise Beke, Emeka Unachukwu ,Giame Bokolo, Prof Denis Balogu, Rev Godfrey Nzamujo, Dagogo Karibi-White, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Nuhu Yakubu, Chike Okoroafor, Soki Graham-Douglas, Ugo Ohuabunwa, Hannibal Uwaifo,Toru Ofili, Ify Bozimo and the President of the group- Emeka Ugwu-Oju. Some investors and industrialists are expected to exhibit their innovations while the Development Agencies active in the region- NNDC, BRACED COMMISSION, SENEC, FMNDA, and other International Agencies will provide support and partnership.
   If the plan is adopted and it succeeds in helping to change the economic fortunes of the SE-SS Regions and bring a change of the narrative- no more militancy, no more vandalization of Pipelines, no more kidnapping and no more election violence, it could become a model for other Regions to adopt and who knows, it could trigger a new paradigm in  Economic resurgence of Nigeria building on our internal strengths and competences while leveraging resources  for the optimization of comparative and competitive advantages. True, I pray that this Forum succeeds even beyond the expectations of the organizers. Nigerians need to hear of,read about and see  new schemes that give hope for a better future. I believe this is one of them.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR 

Monday, 18 April 2016

WELCOME CHINA, BYE BYE AMERICA!

Three news items dominated the air waves last week. China grants Nigeria, 6 Billion Dollars loan, Nigeria agrees a yuan swap with China and Nigeria shuns IMF loan. All happened last week. That story shows how things have changed rapidly. For long, America seemed to have opposed the growing influence of China in Africa. Is the game lost in Nigeria? May be not. 

President Muhammadu Buhari ( PMB) in continuation of his global travels went to China last week and came back with a basketful of goodnews. Perhaps the best in all his travels. The generous loans are exciting especially at this time. Nigeria is in dire need of funds to meet its large deficit in the 2016 budget. This loan will be applied to infrastructural development and the development of other economic sectors like Agriculture and mining. Some of the facilities were offered to a couple of Nigerian Private sector companies including Dangote industries( Cement) the North-South Power Company Ltd( Power), Granite and Marble Nigeria Ltd( Solid Minerals), Mojec International Limited and Microstar company Ltd ( Television broadcast equipment & Pre-paid Meters) and the  Nigeria infrastructure Bank(infrastructure). Other beneficiaries of the loan package include the Lagos Metroline, the Ogun-Guangdong free trade zone and the comprehensive Farm and industrial park in Kogi State. In addition, the Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to support Nigeria in what ever other areas they needed help, most especially in Agriculture. As one paper reported it, PMB was given an 'open Cheque' to fill and cash as he wanted. No other Country has gone this far in support of Nigeria.

But the greatest news from China was the news of the Yuan swap. Nigeria will now keep more of its foreign reserves in the Chinese currency. And Nigerian Businessmen who do business in China, may no longer need the dollar, they can now change the Naira straight to the Yuan and transact their business. With the scarcity of the dollar, this will bring a great relief to many Nigerian businesses. And considering that China has become Nigeria's biggest trading partner since  America stopped buying Nigeria's crude Oil, this development has very far reaching implications.

For me, this is one the most significant developments in the economy since PMB came to power. It is a bold move which has a lot of strategic and diplomatic connotations. China over the last decade has been courting Africa and as I mentioned in the first paragraph, America has not hidden its uneasiness with this. China built a new Conference hall for the African Union in Addis Ababa and many criticized it but that did not stop China from pushing to make inroads into Africa. The greatest tool China has been using is soft loan usually packaged in joint project sponsorships. China embarked on this strategic outreach essentially to provide outlets for its technology , Products and manpower. With 1.2 Billion Mouths to feed and a growing technological base, it needed to create new markets to release the internal pressure. Also, China saw an opportunity to fill a growing gap for funds- aids and commercial in Africa. As Western  aids and loans either declined or became more difficult to access,China with its more liberal conditions stepped in and has continued to push since then. Countries like Kenya,South Africa and Zimbabwe have all jumped on the Chinese band wagon.

With these new MOUs signed or renewed with the different banks and funding institutions in China, the relationship with China has been taken to a new level. When America suddenly stopped buying Nigeria's crude petroleum, China came to the rescue, along with India. Today, China is Nigeria's biggest trading partner. As at end of 2015, Nigeria's trade with China grew from 11.76 Billion Dollars to 14.94 Billion ( +27%) while that with America declined from 9.9 Billion to 4.9 Billion dollars( -50%).And so with these new arrangements, China will officially become Nigeria's main trading partner and the volume will jump higher. 

At some time, the Uk was Nigeria's biggest trading partner, then for many years it lost the position to the USA and now the swing to China signposts a major ideological switch. And this is the crux of the matter. This apparent ideological switch was highlighted by the reported refusal of Nigeria to accept the IMF Loan. Yes, it makes sense for PMB to go and get help where he can easily get it. America and the West have become more stringent in their conditionality for aids and loans and given the urgent need to find money to cover the 2.2 Trillion Naira 2016 Budget deficit, it is reasonable to accept the Chinese embrace-"the man wey wan die, meet the man wey wan kill"

The only caution is that Nigeria must fully understand the consequences of this ideological economic switch, so that we can prepare for them, because as we say in Physics: 'every action, has an equal and opposite reaction'. Will America, France & Britain clap for us? Certainly no. Will it affect our relationships? Certainly Yes. Will it lead to reducing aid and support from the West? May be. In addition to external responses, we must carefully assess the impact on our domestic economy. How many Chinese are coming with these loans and joint funded projects? I know that the Chinese follow their money? What of the Labour relations and work ethic? How do we put safeguards to avoid backlashes from the labour unions and from the communities. Chinese do not have much problem with our operating environment and know how to find their ways. Therefore as we sign off on these agreements, we must be sure we take all these matters into consideration, so that we do not turn around to complain against the Chinese or fight them as the Ugandans did against the Indians during the reign of Idi Amin.

On a final note, we must not make this look like 'Bye Bye America". We must do our utmost to maintain a healthy balance of trading and other economic relationships with America and the West. IMF or World Bank loans come with tough conditionalities, but those conditionalities help us to improve our governance and accountability. Global Technological innovations come mostly from the West and we must have easy access to these innovations. So at the end of the day our the need to run a globally competitive economy that attracts loans and investment from America, the West , Asia and the East will not be compromised by this "Chinese Breakthrough"
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR 

Monday, 11 April 2016

OUR ACTIONS WILL SPEAK FOR US- President Muhammadu Buhari


  There is an advert which has been running on Television over the last couple of weeks, sponsored by the Ministry of Information and Culture, I believe. A couple of elderly Nigerians make comments about the country and the the President. The Minister of Foreign affairs said that PMB is the face of the Nigerian Brand and the President himself concludes with the statement quoted above- Our actions will speak for us. Which means that he will be a man of action, not of words. I quickly agreed with the President that His actions will speak for him and his government. And then I tried to listen in my mind, what his actions were speaking.  But I had some problems as I was hearing two voices speaking at the same time. When I tried to discern what these voices were, I found that one voice was speaking for the president which represented his actions. When I interrogated the other voice it said that it was speaking for the inactions of the President . That helped to resolve my confusion. One voice spoke for the President which were his actions. The other voice spoke against the President which were his inactions.  So to re-paraphrase  what the President said: "Our Actions will speak for us while our inactions will speak against us". Permit me to reveal what the two voices spoke to me.
OUR ACTIONS SPEAKING FOR US
The voice that spoke for the President identified the following actions:
. Increased Activity of the Anti-corruption Agencies- EFCC & ICPC; these agencies that seemed to have lost their voices and abilities, have woken up, arresting and arraigning people who are accused of abusing their offices by converting public funds to private uses. Greatest focus has been on the 2.1 billion dollars alleged to have been distributed by the Office of the National Security Adviser. Many past public officers are said to have returned or refunded some of the money. But up till date, we do not have the names of those who have returned or the amounts returned. Also, nobody has yet been convicted for corruption but the Courts are quite busy. There is a feeling within Nigeria and in the international community that the President is fighting corruption and this has been well received as all have agreed with the President that ' if we do not kill Corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria'.

The transfer of all monies in the different accounts maintained by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) of Government to a single account in the Central Bank called Treasury Single Account( TSA). At the last count, about 3 Trillion Naira was said to be in the TSA.  This move has helped to reduce diversion of Public funds and other leakages and helps the government better manage its cash flow, but on the other hand has stifled several government projects and programs as money meant for some of these are currently sterilized in the TSA with increased government bureaucratic bottlenecks. Government debts to contractors and suppliers have ballooned .

The Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN) has taken actions to reduce outflow of foreign exchange ( Forex)  from the Country in the face of much reduced income from the sale of crude petroleum. It banned 41 products from accessing forex from the CBN. It banned payment and withdrawal of forex from Domiciliary accounts in Banks, but later reversed itself but has continued to restrict access to forex for a number of transactions. It stopped selling forex to Bureau De change(BDC) operators. The result is that the government has slowed down the depletion of Our Foreign reserves . But the consequences are that forex users even for authorized transactions are unable to get enough and some have to go to the parallel market, where increased demand in the face of restricted supply has led to unprecedented depreciation of the Naira, reaching 405 against the USA dollars before receding to about 325.
With this inflation has jumped reaching 11% and climbing higher.

The increased effort to contain insurgency in the North East seems to have improved the security situation in that Region, leading to some internally Displaced Persons( IDPs) returning to their homes. But the suicide bombing of soft targets and occasional forage by the terrorists continue delaying restoration of normalcy in the region. However elsewhere in the Country, the security situation seems to be worsening.

The Frequent travels of the President all over the World may have allowed World leaders to interact with our President and make promises to assist Nigeria fight insurgency, fight corruption and lend money for infrastructure and other needs. But as we write  there is nothing concrete that we can point to. In fact because our President has been more than frank in painting the situation in our Country, when on these trips, some accuse him of de-marketing the Nation and so we may not achieve much from the frequent travels.

The President's lop-sided appointments of his core members of Government from his part of the Country and from among his old acquaintances with almost total Neglect of the South East before the constitutional requirement to appoint Ministers from all the States, was in tandem to his declared intention to reward those regions that voted for him predominantly, preferentially.  This situation seems to have alienated some sections of the Country and have polarized the Country further. Issue of Self determination has begun to enjoy increased currency.

  OUR INACTIONS THAT SPEAK AGAINST US
 The voice that spoke against the President raised the following issues:

. No action on deregulation of the down stream Petroleum sector. No firm decision on subsidy. No action on the Petroleum Industry Bill( PIB). The Result is that Nigeria remains chronically short of refined Petroleum products , especially Petroleum Motor Spirit( PMS) and Aviation Fuel. In the last eight weeks or so, Nigerians have faced the worst fuel scarcity in years and this is speaking against the President and his government . Investment in the upstream sector has continued to decline due to uncertainties with the PIB and the future of the oil industry in Nigeria remains bleak, more so in the face of the global fall in oil prices.

. No action on the need to enthrone a progressive Foreign Exchange Pricing Policy. The result is the formation of two foreign exchange markets that promote round tripping and corrupt practices in the banks. Furthermore, lack of action in this direction is affecting foreign exchange inflows and slowing down investment inflow into the Country. Today Nigeria has been marked down by all the global rating agencies, worsening our credit worthiness. The Nigerian Stock Exchange( NSE) has continued to perform poorly, largely as a result of no action in this area.

. No action on Privatization in the last one year. This is denying Nigeria opportunities for major investment inflows and improving of service efficiencies in our Nation. Our refineries can never be turned around, no matter how much money we throw into them. The Power Sector reform must run its full course with the ultimate Privatization of the Transmission infrastructure. The chronic short supply of Energy in our Country calls for total liberalization and deregulation of the Energy sector. We can not bridge our infrastructure deficit without promoting Private Sector involvement.

. No action on the Agriculture Transformation agenda( ATA) and the Industrial Revolution policy introduced by the last regime which had been seen to produce measurable results. At a time we urgently need to diversify our economy away from oil, the voice is asking why we have destroyed momentum and allowed the economy to drag, blaming the fall on oil prices. Our GDP has continued to decline in the last four quarters and the apparent inaction in this area is hurting the economy. The voice threatens that we may end up in recession.

. No action on the increasing menace of the Fulani Herdsmen. Everyday, we hear of communities being ravaged, farmers being kidnapped and killed. What happened in Agatu in Benue State recently has parallels in other arrears, extending recently to the South West and South East. And no action from the President. This is causing disaffection in the Country and causing more cleavages in the National Fabric.

. No action on the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. There is so much agitating the several ethnic groups that make up Nigeria and causing apprehension in the Polity. That is what those recommendations are meant to help resolve .Nigeria needs Peace to overcome the prevailing economic distress. The voice speaking against the President is that the lack of action in trying to pacify the current agitations and making conscious effort to unite a fractured Nation is not helping the Country. The work has been done and not taking advantage may turn out to be a costly mistake.

. Slow action on Budget 2016. The voice complained against the President, that despite all the delay in approving  the Budget, the President left the Country for China without signing the budget into law, even after the National Assembly remitted the details of the budget to his office. This is April. When will the budget implementation Begin?

  In conclusion, my free advisory is that the President and the government  should consider taking actions on those areas of inaction, so that all actions will speak for the President. That I believe will help the government meet the expectations of the people of Nigeria, even  as he completes one year in office.

  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Monday, 4 April 2016

BRAZIL'S ECONOMIC DESCENT & POLITICAL CRISIS : PARALLELS & LESSONS FOR NIGERIA

Only a few years ago Brazil was taunted as a rapidly emerging Nation. Growing at over 4% annually, the GDP grew decently and put Brazil on the BRICS categorization. President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva and his Workers Party( Partido des Trabalhadores-PT) led the Nation through what was regarded as an impressive growth trajectory to become the toast of Nations, lining it along Russia, India ,China and South Africa as the World's next economic growth frontier. I remember that in Nigeria, we were unhappy that we were not included in this class, prompting us and some of our friends in the West to push for our inclusion and the adjustment of the acronym to read BRINCS- Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria, China and South Africa. After all, Nigeria was growing at a decent 6-7% annually for about a decade.

But in the last two years, things have fallen apart and the centre seems not to be holding. Brazil's hitherto impressive growth stalled in 2014 and contracted by 3.8% in 2015, which is its worst year in over a decade and it is estimated to shrink further by nearly 3% in 2016. It is firmly in recession and Goldman Sachs predicts, Brazil is heading into a depression. Unemployment rose to 9.5% in 2015, wages fell by 2.4% and 1 out of every young Brazilian is currently unemployed. Inflation ended 2015 at nearly 11%. Debt is accumulating, tripling to nearly 1trillion US Dollars in the last couple of years. Today debt is said to represent 67% of Brazil's GDP and is projected to reach 80% by 2017. Budget deficit has reached 10% of GDP. The rising debt and the slowing growth has prompted Credit- rating agencies to cut Brazil's bond status to Junk.

This economic descent has been accentuated by a political crisis which started about two years ago and which is being currently fueled by new revelations in the Operations Carwash ( lava Jato) which uncovered a bribes- for- contracts scheme that funneled some $800 million out of Brazil's former economic crown Jewel, the state-run energy conglomerate- Petrobas(Petroleo Brasileiro S.A). Mrs Dilma Rouseff who is the current Brazilian President who formerly chaired the company managed to win re-election in 2014 but has faced staunch right-wing opposition with attempts to stop her taking office,vote-rigging accusations, massive street demonstrations and finally, the opening of an impeachment procedure, still underway,based on alleged budget manipulation, designed to mask the government's fiscal crisis in the run-up to the elections. In an apparent miscalculated bid to shore up her government, Mrs Rousseff appointed her predecessor and political mentor- Lula Da Silva to be chief of Staff, a move that largely shields him for now,for prosecution in the corruption scandal involving his ties to giant construction companies associated to Petroba

This move has worsened her unpopularity and increased the right wing opposition against President Rousseff. Recently 3 million people including labour unions took to the street in 200 cities across Brazil, mostly in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo supporting her impeachment for corruption and incompetence. There is loss of confidence in her ability to govern and this is followed by massive loss of investor confidence in the once emerging market star, following years of erratic economic policies. The interaction between political crisis and the economic outcomes have become self-reinforcing leading many Brazilians to conclude that "in the last decade, they thought that Brazil was climbing to the top of the hill of Progress and National greatness. They had believed that Brazil could be one of the big powers of the World. But they have only recently realized that they were climbing to the top of the corruption hill"

PARALLELS WITH NIGERIA
The first parallel is that the major cause of Brazil's economic woes is the sharp drop in commodity prices. Brazil and Nigeria depend on commodities, especially crude oil for its National revenue. The fall in oil prices and other agricultural commodities has hurt both countries terribly resulting in the contraction of both economies. Nigeria's GDP descended from 6.5% growth in 2014 to 2.85% in 2015, just as Brazil went from stagnation in 2014 to a 3.85% contraction in 2015. Though Brazil has a bigger industrial base and better diversified economy, both countries remain vulnerable to global commodity price fluctuations.

The second parallel is that corruption is a big issue in Brazil and Nigeria and that the economic crisis is accentuated by official corruption. Both the past and present Presidents of Brazil are accused of corruption and are being investigated. Thirdly is that the government run energy companies in both countries- Petrobas and NNPC are strongholds of corruption. The issue of corruption in NNPC seems to have been with us since the Military till date. Therefore if corruption will be wiped out in both countries, it must start with the Petrobas in Brazil and NNPC in Nigeria. Fourth is that both countries famed rise as emerging economies either in BRINCS or among the top twenty largest economies in the World is still ephemeral, standing only on the performance of commodities. Slight challenge exposed the shallowness of the economic rise or miracle of both Countries. There is a need to build greater growth stability through consistent pro-business policies, transparent and enlightened governance .

LESSONS FOR NIGERIA

Current Brazil's  lowered attractiveness to investors has been caused by the huge deficits which currently exceed 10% of GDP. This is worsened by the growing huge National Debt which is nearly 1trillion Dollars and equivalent to 67% of GDP. Most of the Debt has happened by Government borrowing to stimulate the economy in the past and in the present. It is known that Budget stimulus has left Brazil's public finances over stretched as Brazil seemed to adopt the Asian Model. Nigeria is currently running a 6.06 Trillion Naira Bugdet with a stimulus focus, and an inherent deficit of 2.22 Trillion Naira which is nearly 40% of the budget. We must therefore watch our borrowing and deficit. In the 2016 Budget, Debt servicing is 1.48 Trillion Naira which is nearly 25% of the budget( a quarter of the budget) and compares un favorably with our Capital Budget of 1.59 Trillion Naira( 30% of Budget). In the long run, this can be counter productive as we have seen in Brazil.

Secondly, Corporate Borrowing has risen three fold to around $290 Billion between 2002-2015 in Brazil and many large companies are already in financial distress. Grupo OAS-an engineering firm involved in the corruption scandal has declared Bankruptcy. Steel Maker Usiminas has suspended loan repayments to Banks and as the end of 2015, 54.1 million Brazilians were behind on loans obligations totaling $60 billion . Nigerian lenders and borrowers must be careful because sustained economic crisis in Nigeria may precipitate significant loan defaults at both corporate and consumer levels as we have seen in Brazil.

Thirdly, mass demonstrations against the government because of the worsening economy and accusations of corruption has created additional political problem for the Country. In Brazil, the people are accusing all politicians as being corrupt because politicians from the opposition parties have been implicated in the corruption scandal. In Nigeria, luckily, President Muhammadu Buhari is stoutly fighting corruption but when the chips are down, Nigerians know that corruption is not the preserve of any political party, even if the current investigations seem to give that indication. The lesson for Nigeria now is to take every measure possible to revive the economy fast and reduce the current and growing silently audible grumblings of Nigerians who can not get electricity, have extreme difficulties buying expensive Petrol or diesel to fire their generators, who are losing their jobs and whose savings( if any) and meager earnings are being wiped out by inflation. There is a call for urgency of response if we have learnt any lessons from Brazil.

 Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR