Opinion: It’s all about the economy, stupid!

by Nasiru Suwaid


Nigeria-oil-protest…apart from the general relief in averting the doomsday scenario, when the President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat, what further galvanized positive hope is the promise of a much accountable government…

Normally and all things being equal, it could easily be said nothing has tangible, as to warrant a change of ‘perception’, except within the premises of hope and expectation, that indeed things would be different from the way they were. This week heralded the announcement of the Nigerian presidential elections result, which as projected though unexpectedly, handed victory to the main opposition party in the country, the All Progressive Congress. After that, everywhere you look is a sea of satisfaction, an avalanche of euphoria and a rekindling of hope that at the very least, things might be a little bit better for the economy. It is because of this groundswell of opinion and understanding, which infected and impacted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, sending shares trading to sky rocket into positive territory, when it created a little bit of history of a single day buy, in a boosted atmosphere of regaining trust on the market as well as the general economy at large.

As for the Nigerian naira, it has been regaining its strength against other global convertible currencies, since the conclusion of the presidential electoral contest and celebratory feeling that change shall be the fate of the country. It is what led to the reality that by the middle of this week, the national currency is settling at N197 to a United States dollar at the parallel market, a price even lower than the official Interbank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) price of N198 to $1 US dollar, which is the standard market in effect at the apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria. But, the impression being created here is that something has changed economic policy wise, as to have caused a positive shift from a negative feeling of crisis to a positive perception of a rekindled hope, when in actual fact, the newly elected government of General Muhammadu Buhari is yet to be formed, talk less of assuming power, as to implement a different set of policies, which could cause a different set of ‘perceptive’ view of things.

However, if we are look much deeper for the causation of the emerging of infectious hope, which is releasing a positive vibe on the Nigerian financial market, it is not just about intangible expectations, which has caused the longest rally in the Nigerian stock market for two and a half years, with a ten days straight rally adding 1.8 trillion to All Share index (ALSi), which is a 15% rise in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) capitalization. The simple truth is that apart from the general relief in averting the doomsday scenario, when the President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat, what further galvanized positive hope is the promise of a much accountable government, substituting a highly unaccountable one, which is very good for business, coupled with the fact that those politicians hording international convertible currencies and even demanding more dollars and pounds sterling, have just realized that having such loot is a burden, in an emerging window of a transfer of power from one administration to the other.

It is instructive to note that immediately after polls or if I am to be most precise, on Friday the 3rd of April 2015, the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in an article titled: State of the Nigerian Economy, forcefully argued that even before the elections, that apart from a general downturn in the price of crude oil, which fell by 50%, thus majorly affecting Nigeria’s source of income and foreign currency supply, all the fundamentals of the economy are sound, perfect and strategically placed. Obviously, the minister was angry that it is opposition politics that is creating panic, which has caused the general citizenry to buy into the ‘unreality, thus making everybody to lose confidence on the Nigerian economy. The question to ask here is whether an economy that could not balance its books is not setting itself to be viewed as an ineffective government.

Because, as the new president-elect had stated earlier this week in Imo State, what the ascension into power of the opposition party is bringing is ‘effective’ leadership, a value oriented governance that leads by example, exudes trust and projects accountability, which easily impacts on the public as well as the private sector. Indeed, since the beginning of the election season, the opposition has campaigned on corruption and waste as the key to the progressing devaluation of the naira, unfortunately for the economy but fortunately for the new ruling party, it seems the regaining of value by naira, purely due to the evolving perception that an administration, which does not tolerate corruption has emerged, confirms the fact that economics is a sensible projection on the economy, rather than mere convoluted deception of expert speculators, who gain on the confusion of others.


– Nasiru Suwaid tweets from @neeswaid

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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