Sanusi warns Buhari to retrace his steps - EazyFeeds

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Thursday 25 August 2016

Sanusi warns Buhari to retrace his steps

.Cautions against ‘unlicensed drivers’ of the economy, Says Govt. creating forex billionaires
.Faults FG’s borrowing to pay salaries

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lami­do Sanusi II, known for saying his mind very frankly on various na­tional issues, has reviewed the economic policies of Pres­ident Buhari and warned that the government was moving in the wrong direction.
He said the Buhari ad­ministration was being run by “voodoo economists” who were leading the running the Nigerian econ­omy were like unlicensed drivers behind the wheels of a brand new car so it would be idiotic to expect that such unqualified drivers would not crash the economy.

Sanusi, a former Gover­nor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), warned of an impending economic doom in the country if President Buhari continues with the current economic policies which he described as anti-investment and detrimental to national development.
Sanusi spoke in Kano on Wednesday during a lecture he delivered at the second day of the 15th Joint Plan­ning Board and the Nation­al Council on Development Planning organised by the Ministry of Budget and Na­tional Planning, in collabo­ration with Kano State Gov­ernment.
His words:
He said: “The first thing I would like to say is that there are many voodoo economists parading around and many of them are not economists, they are demagogues.’’
Sanusi, who delivered a lecture titled: “Nigeria - The Search for a New Growth Model”, declared that while the immediate past admin­istration of Jonathan creat­ed “oil subsidy billionaires”, the Buhari government was churning out “forex billion­aires.”
He said: ‘’If this govern­ment continues to behave the way the last government be­haved, we will end up where Jonathan ended. You may not like it, but that is the truth. Any system that allows you with one telephone call, you make N1 billion without in­vesting one kobo, that sys­tem is wrong. It is unsustain­able, no matter how you think about it positively.
“We created billionaires from oil subsidies in the past. We are making the same mis­take with forex subsidy,” he said in an apparent reference to the dual exchange rates in operation at the CBN.
“As an Emir, I can sit in my garden and make phone calls to access $10 million at N197 per dollar and then sell it off at nothing less than N300,” he said.
After taking an overview of the economic policies of the Federal Government, Sa­nusi concluded that nothing has really changed under the administration of President Buhari – while his govern­ment continues to blame the previous administration of Jonathan for its current woes.
Sanusi lamenting that the incumbent administration had not learnt from the mis­takes of those before it.
Sanusi’s knock on the eco­nomic policies of the gov­ernment came a day after the Manufacturers Associa­tion of Nigeria (MAN) and other members of the Or­ganised Private Sector (OPS) had accused the incumbent administration of grounding the economy.
The OPS operators assert­ed that the economic policies of the government had led to massive job losses, closure of over 272 companies and trap­ping of $10 billion overseas.
Sanusi advised the mem­bers of President Buhari’s eco­nomic team to retrace their steps and formulate policies that can grow the economy, pointing out that the current economic situation is forcing untold hardship on Nigerians.
According to him, the current economic policies and their inconsistency do not favour businesses and in­vestments in the country. He advised the Federal Govern­ment to embrace the Lagos State Government’s model to bail the country out of its cur­rent economic woes.
He lamented the overde­pendence on oil, pointing out that more investments in ag­riculture, power sector, man­ufacturing and infrastructur­al development and attractive incentives to investors will enhance the growth of the nation’s economy.
The eminent monarch and economist accused the government of making the same mistakes as its predeces­sors and refusing to listen to the wise counsel of concerned Nigerians.
He continued: “I just saw that 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 do not know how it hap­pened. That is the truth.
“We made mistakes, many of them deliberate. We ig­nored every single warn­ing. Not building roads, not building power plants and other necessary infrastruc­ture that can boost the econ­omy and the development of the country.
“We are spending 30 to 40 percent of every Naira we earn servicing debts. The new borrowings were simply recy­cled into much higher recur­rent expenditure. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was growing largely due to con­sumer items.
“In 2010 when I was Gov­ernor of the 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 the 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 stated.
Sanusi urged Nigerians to bury ethno-religious sen­timents and put heads togeth­er in salvaging the economy, adding that, ‘’those who are clamouring to break up the country because of oil should desist from that agitation as oil would soon be nothing. The world is already devel­oping alternative sources of power, like solar energy, bio-gas and a host of others.”
Taking up the drivers of the nation’s economy, Sanusi described them as unlicensed drivers who are behind the wheels of a new car.
Sanusi said: ‘’If you take a brand new car and hand it over to a driver who doesn’t have a license to drive it and you are involved in an acci­dent, you can’t say you are sur­prised, unless you are some kind of idiot.”
He urged the government to revisit its borrowing style, as he said: ‘’The funny thing is that you did not stop bor­rowing; all you have to do is borrow the right amount and apply them to the right purposes. It doesn’t matter whether it is consumption spending or investment de­mand. GDP will grow.
‘’We made a choice of what we wanted. Do we want votes and popularity or we want palliatives. So long as people are getting high min­imum wages, they will keep quiet about all the ills in the economy that we have been talking about,” he said.
Sanusi said that those who are advising the government not to devalue the naira were benefitting from it.
According to him, ‘’We are not devaluing because if we do, the poor people will suffer, the people profiting from this are the people telling the gov­ernment that if you devalue people will suffer. Meanwhile, they all bought the dollar at N179 and price their goods at N300.The poor pay the price of a devalued currency, while the rich skim off the profits.’’

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