by Roqeebah Olaoniye
When Christine Lagarde of the IMF warned us in January to gear up for economic hardship, we didn’t take her seriously. We were busy in our bubbles, making unrealistic resolutions. Now that the dollar is NGN 400, maybe it’s time we go back to the drawing board and check ourselves.
Here are five reasons why the forex crisis is our fault;
- VAT evasion
Value added tax evasion. We are all guilty one way or the other. It’s bad enough that our VAT rate is among the lowest in the world but we’d still try and raise hell every time we check a receipt and see how much of our bill goes toward value added taxes.
- Overseas schooling
I understand that it’s hard and probably unheard of in many families that their star kids with all the potential in the world will attend the Obafemi Awolowo University and maybe some butter kids have never even heard of MAULAG (jokes!) but really Nigerian Universities aren’t so bad. Also, maybe your parents won’t have to desperately buy foreign currencies of the black market to fund your education abroad.
- We think that buying home made goods is only a hashtag
Seriously, #BuyNigerianGrowTheNaira is not just a hashtag. It’s simple really, the more locally made products we purchase the more money we put in the economy and the less products we have to import relying on favourable exchange rates.
- Our general lack of understanding of economic principles
Save for a very few minority, many of us Nigerians do not have a good grasp of financial and economic matters. We know tomatoes are costly, and dollar is expensive and times are hard and the government is to blame. Heck, I only just found out the implications of having a parallel market last month. I think if we were to properly equip ourselves with a proper understanding of economic issues (NO not from Twitter or the newspapers for that matter), we’d at least know what is actually going on and be able to offer constructive criticisms on the current administration’s economic policies, whatever they really are.
That word again. In this case though, I am speaking to retailers and market people who arbitrarily raise prices the moment they hear anything has happened in the forex market. It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to but shea butter wrapped in black nylon, the seller will tell you it’s xxxx Naira because “dollar don go up”. So yeah Karma happens, dollar might just continue to go up if you keep trying to cheat me off my money