Muhammadu-Sanusi-II-Emir-of-Kano-Photo

So Haba Baba, what has changed? And what happened to Bola Tinubu’s suggestion to Jonathan in November 2014, that we should exercise the sovereignty of the Naira, and print to spend on reflating the local economy – especially provision of jobs for the youth – as a way out of this constant obsession with the value of Naira to the Dollar? Did Sanusi not support this government in its ascension to power? What did we do to our big men that they always plan the worst for us?

It wasn’t much of a surprise when I eventually saw the video. It was an award, and Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II is no stranger to awards. There was a white man behind him this time though, almost breathing down his neck. I thought, ‘perhaps that is what is responsible for Sanusi’s sudden economic transmogrification’.

Emir Sanusi had recently urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to devalue the Naira further, and on the Federal Government to remove subsidies on petroleum products. He had towed the lines of some people who now see themselves as ‘better educated’; who see deregulation as the most urgent step Nigeria can take now, and a silver bullet to end our woes (or perhaps put us out of our misery i.e. kill us), despite all evidence pointing to the futility and toxicity of this kind of strategy for now, and also despite there not being any apparatus on ground for Nigeria to take advantage of whatever the textbooks they read promised about devaluation.

The IMF and World Bank people are onto African countries like white on rice, asking, cajoling, even threatening many countries to devalue. Why? On the surface the explanation is ‘commodity prices are down’. But then one rues the fate of African countries in particular. Will there ever be a day when our economies will be resilient enough; when we will produce anything of substance that will warrant revaluing our currency and maintaining currencies that carry some respect? Or are we created into this world to be football for others to kick? For it seems like African economies, and their currencies, are on a one-way track to doom and worthlessness.

It would have made sound economic sense if indeed in the past when we devalued, any of our exports grew. It could have made sense if the world will suddenly open up to us because our products will now be cheap. But the reality is different. IMF and World Bank, Financial Portfolio investors and their local acolytes like the respected Emir, are trying to push Nigeria especially on the slippery slope to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe devalued its currency and could never recover.

So I felt Sanusi was speaking for BlackStone and BlackRhino, some asset management company (or Hedge Fund?) based out of USA, which appointed him chairman for their African operations. I wondered why he accepted the appointment a few months ago, because I think such appointments is below the estate of the Emir. Why not get appointed on the board of humanitarian agencies? These ‘fund managers’ are smart Alecs, known for ripping the souls out of organisations and people they deal with. Only Caucasians ever increase their wealth with those organisations. And that is the truth. Evidence abound of how they constantly cheat countries like ours, and how most of them have bad money-mongering cultures, oftentimes verging on racism. They have liquidated pensions of the unwary, and famously lost 98 percent of the funds ($1billion) that Libya had with one of their best – Goldman Sachs.

I had written on this page some weeks back that perhaps the reason Buhari is reluctant is because no one is sure of NNPC/PPPRA figures. I quoted extensively from Ministry of Finance claims on their website to the effect that 80 percent of the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) was made up from the price of crude, and why after the price of crude has dropped 60 percent, we should have had commensurate drop in pump price. I also questioned Nigeria’s daily consumption as put out by NNPC.

It could have even been overlooked – Sanusi’s position – if he hadn’t defended the Naira even more than Emefiele is doing today, while he was CBN Governor. Hear what he had to say in September 2013,

…as far as the Naira is concerned, the CBN has always said that we are committed to its stability. I know there are some people who don’t share that view. But I have not personally heard any economically valid argument as to the benefits of devaluating the Naira up to this point in time… It will not improve our export nor reduce our imports into the country. It will not improve our fortunes as long as our structural reforms have not been implemented… My view and the view of the CBN is that if we will have to use some of our reserves to support the currency, we will. No central bank governor will say that he will not support the currency but we want to be very clear in our minds and to the public that there is no country in the world that will allow its currency to be determined by the market… we are committed to the stability of the exchange rate and we will not, unless we are forced, to allow the Naira to weaken.

This was when Nigeria had foreign reserve of $41.7billion.

So Haba Baba, what has changed? And what happened to Bola Tinubu’s suggestion to Jonathan in November 2014, that we should exercise the sovereignty of the Naira, and print to spend on reflating the local economy – especially provision of jobs for the youth – as a way out of this constant obsession with the value of Naira to the Dollar? Did Sanusi not support this government in its ascension to power? What did we do to our big men that they always plan the worst for us?

Then there is the issue of deregulation of the petroleum sector and removal of subsidies. I had written on this page some weeks back that perhaps the reason Buhari is reluctant is because no one is sure of NNPC/PPPRA figures. I quoted extensively from Ministry of Finance claims on their website to the effect that 80 percent of the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) was made up from the price of crude, and why after the price of crude has dropped 60 percent, we should have had commensurate drop in pump price. I also questioned Nigeria’s daily consumption as put out by NNPC.

But a gang of over-educated, Ivy league know-it-alls in Nigeria keep repeating themselves like broken records, asking for ‘removal of subsidies’ (I excuse the Emir at this point, out of respect). Do you remove what does not exist? Well, government should have investigated and laid this to rest since.

Dr Ibe Kachikwu, GMD of NNPC echoed my claims when he said during his senate grilling that,

…First, we are doing an analysis in terms of subsidy in what number. Do we consume 40 million litres like the data says or do we consume 25 million litres? We have those bloated numbers. My six weeks there (in NNPC) is showing that I am closer to 30 million litres than I am to 40 million in terms of the actual million litres of fuel consumed locally. And so, to that extent, that is already 25 percent drop in the subsidy number”.

But a gang of over-educated, Ivy league know-it-alls in Nigeria keep repeating themselves like broken records, asking for ‘removal of subsidies’ (I excuse the Emir at this point, out of respect). Do you remove what does not exist? Well, government should have investigated and laid this to rest since.

What is more? These westernised advisers of ours even ask that the Federal Government cause interest rate levels to rise in Nigeria. Some foreign portfolio ‘investors’, purveyors of ‘hot-money’ are asking for a double whammy – higher interest rates and devalued currency – as the conditions precedent before ‘they return to Nigeria’. It is an insult to this country that they would ask for such. Imagine the effect of a quadruple whammy; higher interest rates, ‘subsidy’ removal and higher PMS prices, devaluation, increase in VAT and a 40 percent rise in electricity tariff, all being parroted in this regime, on the people and businesses? What is more? These guys are so powerful, they will succeed. Will Nigerians be whipped with scorpions for supporting change?

But first, Great Emir, what changed?

‘Tope Fasua, an economist and consultant, is CEO of Global Analytics Consulting.