Incoming govt. must break away from past mistakes, choose best armour to boost economy – Rewane

For the incoming government to bring in desirable economic outcomes, they must first break free from past mistakes, choose the best armour bearers and commit to making the tough but necessary decisions (reforms) to defibrillate the economy, Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited has said.
According to him. “it will be hard, especially with the trust deficit of Nigerians and the international community. But there could be light at the end of the tunnel if only we start the journey. It might hopeful thinking, but then again, aren’t we all clinging to hope?”.
He agrees with the popular author Matt Fox who said, “poor decision-making will almost always lead to less than desirable outcomes.”
Rewane who made this known in the FDC monthly publication said, in a few days, a new administration takes on the weighty and burdened Nigeria—tepid growth of three per cent, ballooning inflation of 22.04 per cent, and elevated debt level (N70 trillion).
He frowned at the recent conversation of the huge loan the government hot through Ways and means and converted to about 40 years bond.
Rewane mocked, “playing with mirrors: Are we free from debt’s wrecking ball?
‘No! it’s only a bookkeeping exercise that took place when the National Assembly approved the transformation of Ways & Means advances (N22 trillion) to a 40-year bond at a nine per centinterest rate. 
“In truth, this was nothing but a home-grown definition of securitization, looking more like warehousing than an orthodox financing model. This is because the instrument lies in the balance sheet of the CBN and is not for sale to the public, which is the way typical securitization processes work (sell your debt, buy time to generate revenue, and when it’s time, pay the debt)”.
He continued,”still, the FG’s public debt is “matter”—it has weight (now N70 trillion: 31 per cent of GDP) and occupies space in the minds of investors, business owners, analysts and the common man, who all wonder how this debt will reduce amid the revenue shortfall.
“As Lincoln once said, “You can fool all people some of the time and some people all the time. But you can never fool all people all the time””.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures” is a popular saying attributed to the Greek physician and philosopher, Hippocrates, and it is equally applicable in today’s Nigeria, He said.
He warned that Nigerian policymakers who determine the direction of the economy, boldly influencing the quality of life of the citizens, need to be cautious about the level of desperation in reaction to the depth of the problem.
“It is important because Nigeria is already on edge; one misstep, and the economy erupts”, be said.
Rewane advised that, a good starting point for them is understanding and solving the underlying structural problems that make the economy weak and stunt its growth prospects. What the past three years has shown is that Nigeria’s economy is fragile and highly vulnerable to external shocks, and there’s a huge need for fiscal and monetary policy coordination to boost market confidence.
“The economic indicators are mostly negative at this point in time. GDP is sluggish (3.2 per cent in 2022) when it should be in double-digits, inflation is astronomical (22 per cent) when prices are falling globally, the external debt to export ratio is 64.9 per cent, signaling an impending debt service crunch, and there are too many uncertainties and worsening volatility in the oil markets.
“In terms of solving the underlying economic defects, how fast and far policymakers can go is constrained because of low revenues. More so, there’s only so much fiscal policy authorities can do in sensitive times such as we have today. What this means is that for the government to do its job of keeping the pulse of Nigeria strong, it will have to woo investors. And this begins with monetary and fiscal policy harmonization” he said.
‘For God’s sake, stop doing dumb things The goal is to ensure that they send the right signals to investors through pro-business, pro-investment, and pro-growth policies. The time for erratic policy pronouncements and dissonance with public policy is over. If the government can get this right, investors, popular for taking risks, will begin to move the needle, bridging our infrastructure gap of $2.3 trillion in no time. As echoed by Fareed Zakaria, of CNN, we must “first stop doing the dumb things and then start doing the smart things before doing the modern things””, concluded Rewane.

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