Nigeria, Must Read Answers to Questions Volume 1 Oct 31st 2015
- Can you expatiate on the prediction that Buhari might not last for two years in office?
The history of Nigeria from 1979 to date must urgently be revisited to prevent the re-occurrence of ugly events of 1979 to 2015, because the escalated destruction of the country happened in those years. For many Nigerians that were unborn then, and yet, forbidden to study history of the country; the year 1979 was when President Shehu Shagari who won the first democratic election shortly after the Nigerian-Biafra three year old war that ended in 1970; the country has so much money and Naira was very strong about N0.54 to $1 then. He came into power with promises to focus the country on sustainable growth paths, but corruption fearlessly attacked, murdered sanity and created unhealthy economy. In December 31st 1983, Major General Muhammadu Buhari came into the leadership arena of Nigeria; he was on track to bring down corruption to a manageable level, but the same forces that are after him now eventually won (who said that money is not the root of all evil?). Nonetheless, Buhari gave Nigerians short-lived hope.
Nigerians went to sleep and his effort to restore sanity in the country was truncated in August 1985; Buhari and his strong man Tunde Idiagbon were kicked out, and ever since 1986 when Ibrahim Babangida found himself in leadership position, Naira has witnessed over 20,000% devaluation to date; I am overly concerned that if Mr. President should not complete his mandate, because of the gathering storms, Naira will witness another round of catastrophic devaluation in the ensuing years. I still maintain that crude oil price will go down to $25 per barrel because the demand destruction in crude oil will take time to be restored, as a result of increasing awareness of global warming. Full details in a book titled “Crude World of Oil” published in 2012
- The focus of this administration is to fight corruption. How ready is Buhari to achieve this when even his close party associates are not free from corruption?
Mr. President, will definitely fight two major battles in his efforts to restore sanity in the country. The first battle of detaching himself from the political powers is ongoing right now and there are signs that he is losing that battle, because he is not making enemies yet; Nigerians must give him enough support before he can win this battle. The outcome of this battle will definitely determine the winner of the second battle, the masses can just stay on the sideline and watch the defeat of Mr. President or join the Mr. President to deal a deadly and decisive defeat to corruption; this is a choice that Nigerians must collectively make today. The masses must be mentally prepared and adequately informed of the impending hardship for Mr. President to conquer the monster of corruption. The country must make some painful sacrifices before Buhari can win the battle, regrettably, further Naira devaluation is unavoidable, because that is the price of over 30 years of looted treasury. Buhari must tell Nigerians the true state of the economy to prepare their minds for the tough times ahead. Let Nigerians enjoy today because the coming years should be terribly worse as the global village will be sliding into recession by 4th quarter of 2016.
- NLC is proposing death sentence for corrupt Nigerians. Do you hold the same view with them and why?
NLC proposition of death sentence for corrupt Nigerians might not be an en forcible idea because there are less-corrupt Nigerians than corrupt ones. The country should not kill innocent Nigerians who are victims of broken system. What is actually needed in the country now is for majority of Nigerians to join the team of few good standing people and restore the system that has been broken since the 1980s. I will support the enforcement of existing laws on corruption of 10 to 20 years of prison sentences with hard labour. The system must be fixed before Nigerians can expect any sustainable upward economic movement in the country, because commendable and well thought-out policies in a poor system will eventually fail to attain the anticipated result. When a mathematician raise 0 to power 2, the answer remains zero, I stand to be corrected on this because I am not a Mathematician.
- The TSA is supposed to check corruption in the system and strengthen the economy. But it has the potential to send Nigerians into the labour market, especially, the banks.
What is your take on this?
TSA (Treasury Single Account ) for the record is not what is sending or would be sending some people to the labour market, rather the responsible factor should be the decades of systematic failure in the country. There are many conduit pipes draining the resources of this great giant of Africa, until those conduit pipes are close, the country will just be going through a vicious cycle. Consolidation of all many accounts that the Federal Government has into one single treasury account should be a commendable milestone for the country because in so doing, one of the major loopholes (conduit pipes) has just been plugged. Just like every fiscal or monetary policy must have some advantages and disadvantages, the short term disadvantage of TSA has already been negated by huge long term gains of the policy. The President is definitely on the right path so far to institute some painful changes that would tower the country into greatness. The masses must be well informed of Mr. President’s efforts of returning the country back to a level where checks and balances should be greatly enforced for meaningful and organic growths to start taking place in the country. Mr. President cannot bring meaningful changes in the country without the overwhelming support of many Nigerians. Nigerians should give him the benefit of doubt, and be patience with him because the journey he is embarking on requires nothing but absolute patience for a successful result.
- JP Morgan has threatened to delist FGN Bonds from its index. What is the implication of this to the economy and prospective investor?
JPMORGAN had already de-listed Nigerian bonds from the list of her emerging markets index funds, we should now be concerned with Morgan Stanley’s possible delisting of the nation’s bonds, because the Nigerian bonds have about 15% of the $1.2 trillion emerging government bond index. Before the end of the year, Morgan Stanley should make that decision available to the world and if they concur with JPMORGAN, then there will be so much pressure on foreign institutional investors to dump Nigerian bonds, forcing bond yields to go up drastically. Nigerians will see cost of borrowing jumping to mind boggling levels. The policy makers must find a way to financially engine the country out of many decades of financial recklessness and inadequate fiscal/monetary policies, because very soon, the exchange value of Naira against other major currencies would be determined by the outside forces. The current monetary policy of building a big castle around Naira must be revisited immediately, because the unintended consequences might result in a probable ugly exchange rate of (N500 Naira) to ($1 American dollar)by December of 2016. Further details in a book titled “Nigerian Promising Era” published June 2015.
- In this course of our discussion, you said that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele should not go now. Why did you say so?
Yes! His resignation from the apex bank definitely would bring another level of uncertainty to an environment that is trying to position for a sustainable growth path. Investors want to take calculated risks, so if the rumor of his resignation start going through the news media, investors might panic and start another wave of equity selling that might further depress Nigerian Stock Exchange and negatively impact investors’ sentiments. He should remain there until an Economist who is comfortable with his monetary policy is willing to accept the offer to put on his shoes. I think he is barely 2 years there, the government might need to give him enough time for people like us to say, “His policies were very successful or failed policies” Frankly speaking, I really do not think it will be fair for this administration to let him go now. The country should also remember that he inherited and embraced a systematic setup that has already been infested with corrupt practices; nonetheless, both foreign and Nigerian investors are very optimistic that he might engineer the country into a soft landing from the huge financial divergences. Let him stay there for now and probably revisit his monetary policy of simply saving Naira, because the country has nonperforming assets worth over trillions of American dollars that requires urgent monetization.
- In spite of the efforts of the Federal Government to stabilize the foreign exchange sector, you still predicted a free fall of the naira next year. How did you arrive at this?
Historical facts, factors and my training as an Investment Advisor, please permit me to draw your attention on the ugly past of this country that nobody is yet talking about today. From the 1985 Naira exchange rate of (N0.89 to N1.70) against $1 US dollar to current rate of (N198 to N223) in 2015, please do the math, it is about 22,250% devaluation in a span of 30 years. You can also pick up a copy of my book titled “Nigerian Promising Era” published in June 2015 for more details on the future of the country. My history is telling me that if President Buhari should vacate the leadership mantle of this country before the expiration of his tenor, the exchange rate of Naira against dollar in the next 30 years should be about N22,250 to $1 (US dollar). Small and medium scale industries must be motivated and financially induced to increase their productions for more export activities. Nigeria, just like many other African countries are not productive, and once the productivity of this country start going up, Naira outwardly would definitely start appreciating against other major currencies. Secondly, the monetization of those hidden nonperforming assets must be given urgent attention than just wasting billions of dollars trying to save Naira, and eventually Naira will free-fall against other major currencies.
Market forces will eventually determine the true value of Naira to Dollar, but until then, Nigerians must support the President since he has been on the forefront of anti corruption war. His antecedents on the issue of corruption definitely speaks volume, let it be on record that the country will go through some traumatic financial and economic pains, but after four years ,the country must definitely be on the path to greatness. Productivity and economic growth are some of the things that add values to a nation currency, if those two are not visible, sorry! The exchange value of a nation’s currency will continue to depreciate against other major currencies until productivity and efficient governance comes into play. There is currently no quick fix to the monster that is holding this great country down, let Nigerians be properly educated, informed, and craftily be enlisted on the long process of rebuilding the country, because the process of bring back sanity into the country will be to the interest of all Nigerians regardless of ethnic orientation. Nigeria was collectively destroyed by all Nigerians and any rebuilding efforts without overwhelming support of the masses might not come to friction. For those that are agitating for sovereignty from Nigeria, the impending global economic and financial disaster can never sustain such groups if even granted such opportunity, Nigerian corrupt politicians that are afraid of Mr. President should be very careful before plugging the country into an irreversible catastrophic end. Should Nigerians say “Goodbye or Welcome to New Nigeria” unity might definitely serve the country better at this time that it is at crossroad.
Christopher Okoli (Nigerian-American Investment Advisor) Oct 31st 2015
Facebook; chris ogbo okoli