My Expectations for 2014: Nigeria

I’ve wanted to do this since the first few days of the new year but one thing or the other kept getting in the way…until now.

This is a list of some of my expectations, mostly concerning Nigeria.

Paramount on many minds are the recent power sector reforms. In a landmark arrangement, ownership was transferred into private hands. A bunch of companies and people say that they expect to see positive changes from now. Their optimism is refreshing but I believe it is misplaced. These companies are only finding their feet, testing the ropes, servicing faulty equipment, taking stock of what they have purchased, and how they want to operate in the future. They will want to be plugging the massive holes in electricity bill collection and face  diverse other initial challenges.I do not expect to witness improvements in power generation this year. It’s even possible that there is a slight reduction overall. This problem was built up over decades; it will not likely dissipate overnight. I recommend patience. 2015 is a more realistic timeline in my opinion, to start witnessing some sorts of improvements. It might also be too early, though.

Next,it’s no secret that the political climate is tense, and hasn’t been this charged since perhaps the dawn of democracy in 1999.
The ruling party is in a fight for it’s life or at least it’s continued dominance with the emergence of the strongest opposition coalition ever in Nigeria’s recent history. Competition is generally a good thing, especially in politics. I think that the opposition is yet to fully consolidate, and merge the many opposing viewpoints and mutually exclusive ambitions that it now contains. If you’re not a praying person, I’d say now’s an excellent time to learn. I don’t know what will be by 2015, but I am betting on Nigeria. I mean that I’m making my plans with the expectation that the status quo will be maintained and Nigeria will be at least the same country as it currently is.

Thankfully, the recent ASUU strike is over, and the FG made some concessions. I hope the FG honors the promises and concessions it made this time. However, our education sector remains an area of great national concern as it indirectly affects unemployment, and security and in the future, our economy’s growth. Some weeks back I read an interesting study conducted by reputable researchers estimating the relative importance of natural resources, and human capital to a number of countries including Nigeria. It turns out that due to the underdevelopment i.e restricted opportunities for education, of Nigeria’s labour force, our natural resources are a greater contributor to GDP than the population. For a country like Japan on the other hand, the reverse was the case. I can’t locate the study right now…but I’ll post a link to it once I find it.

Moving forward, despite some of his ill-advised, seemingly counter-intuitive and maybe contradictory policies, Sanusi Lamido’s retirement in June is of prime interest. I do not remember a more controversial CBN governor in recent time, or a more politically powerful one for that matter. But look away from the colourful intrigues of Prince Sanusi, and you will find a completely different tale.In the last years, he has been ranked or regarded by prominent voices in global finance as…wait for it, one of the BEST central bankers in the world. Are you stunned? I was too.

Apparently, his policies, not the one about printing the lower denomination notes in non-durable polythene, of course! But the other ones – the ones you’ve heard little about except you maintain a strong interest in macroeconomics – have been largely effectual. What this means, is that the choice of his successor is a delicate one since said successor needs to to be able to build on and continue the reforms he’s carried out, and be at least as skilled at charting Nigeria’s path through the storms in global finance. I hope that merit, rather than politics influences this selection process.

As the world goes, there are quite a bunch of interesting scenarios playing out at the moment especially in Asia involving China, Japan, the US in the economic and political spheres. But you…don’t really want to hear about any of that, do you?

And that’s all I can think of right now…if anything striking occurs to me later, I’ll add it too.

P.S

All of this is strictly my opinion. I’ve made attempts to ensure balance and accuracy but I offer no guarantee.If you have access to superior facts or information, I’d like nothing more than to hear your point of view. I merely have an interest in these matters, I make no unfounded claims of expertise, or experience. 

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Tolu O

intends to learn to write someday, is inquisitive, maverick, and a playful lover- of music and words.

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