Senior Special Assistant to the President for Media and Publicity Garba Shehu issued a statement last week condemning the stance of the opposition People’s Democratic Party governors on some important national issues.
The statement was in response to the position of the governors after their meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, where they called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to stem the rapid depreciation of the naira and ask the oil company to Nigerian State National Petroleum Corporation to resume payments to the account of the federation.
Other highlights of the Governors’ resolution after their meeting include calling on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), to tame rampaging shepherds, killing people and destroying farms across the country; stop the deterioration of security challenges in the country and ensure economic prosperity.
However, responding to the governors’ statement, Shehu, on behalf of the president, lambasted their position, noting that the governors and their party have contributed to the nation’s woes.
Regarding the governors’ call for revaluation of the local currency, Shehu said such a call could damage exports and impact government revenues.
On the issue of clashes between herders and farmers, the presidential spokesman said the governors had not recommended a viable option and had not supported the government’s efforts to address the challenges.
On the NNPC’s decision to stop paying income to the federation’s account, Shehu blamed it on the inability of the PDP governors to see the reason for the removal of fuel subsidies, which would have helped save billions of naira and stimulate the economy.
Deconstructing the federal government’s position on three key issues raised by the PDP governors shows this. The Buhari regime does not believe in the revaluation of the naira, has more or less supported the devaluation of the local currency.
The federal government supports the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector and the removal of fuel subsidies to increase government revenues.
Buhari’s regime believes in taking over other people’s lands to create RUGA for Fulani herdsmen across the country as a peace appeasement.
The recent ban on pastures opened by the governors of the 17 southern states was not welcomed by the regime, believing it was aimed at the Fulani, the parents of the president.
The reiteration of the president’s decision to dig an obsolete gazette on the cattle grazing road and reserves, and to plan to reclaim the lands of those who encroached on the road.
First, the position of Shehu or the so-called presidency on valuing the naira is strange in the sense that the president himself was once an advocate of a strong naira. In 2015, Buhari advocated for the sustainability of the value of the local currency against the dollar, and it took his absence from the scene due to ill health for then-interim president Yemi Osinbajo to approve the move. deregulation of the foreign exchange market.
Beyond the President’s position on the value of the naira, logically, Nigeria currently exports fewer products due to the lack of an industrial base and the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources and agricultural products.
The economy is currently largely dependent on imports of food, finished petroleum products, raw materials for a few industries, and medical products. This means that with the low value of the naira against foreign currencies, Nigeria pays more to support the economy and does not gain any benefit from a weakened currency.
The country depends on about 90 percent of its foreign exchange inflows on the export of crude oil, which is priced in dollars and we have no control over the value of raw materials. So it stands to reason that the government is now supporting a weak currency, which has translated into higher imported inflation over the past two months.
On the belief in the removal of fuel subsidies, it should be stated that the most viable option available to Nigeria is the complete deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector to eliminate the smuggling of imported fuel into the country and s’ ensure that resources are well allocated to priorities. areas of economics.
However, the bulk of the payment of subsidies on imported petroleum products mainly concerns freight, customs clearance and tariffs, demurrage and equalization financing. The weakening of the naira has also contributed to the rise in the cost of domestic fuel consumption.
The most logical thing is for the government to sell its four refineries to genuine investors who will repair and manage them efficiently to supply both the local market and export to the west coast in order to earn more foreign exchange for the country.
This will reduce the burden of subsidy payment on the economy and eliminate the excessive costs of the imported product.
On the issue of clashes between shepherds and farmers, what has worsened the situation is rather the president’s desire to apply an ancient solution to modern challenges. How are cattle raised in other jurisdictions? Many countries that started with nomadic cattle ranching have since moved on to more efficient and modern methods for greater productivity.
First, cattle ranching is a private enterprise and should be seen as such. Rather, the government should play a minimal role in providing an environment conducive to ranching rather than wanting to plug in and perpetuate the culture of open grazing, which has caused more problems in the country since the advent of this regime than ever before.
Former military regimes have invested much of the country’s resources to build dams throughout the north in an effort to support animal husbandry and agriculture. Unfortunately, these roadblocks have more or less been turned for the private use of some powerful retired military personnel who deploy them for their large-scale farms to the detriment of the poor.
The regime should encourage herders wandering the country to start thinking about a modern way of doing business without causing pain to farmers across the country. They must be prepared to invest in their business by purchasing land; in the same way that farmers buy land to sow their plants.
The plan to create Ruga or cattle grazing reserves would mean diverting resources that belong to all to help a few people develop their businesses and it would be unfair to other businessmen and women who could not benefit from it. ‘such support from the government.
Rather, the government should order the Bank of Agriculture to create a portfolio of loans to help pastoralists and cattle ranchers take advantage of these benefits to expand their businesses through modern methods and save the country from the pain of unjustified massacres currently taking place across the country.
Mayowa is an international business journalist and investment analyst based in Lagos
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