Nigerian Economy Loses Over N1trn to Election Postponement – Analysts

Election postponement from February 14 to March 28 and its attendant consequences may have cost the Nigerian economy nothing less than N1.0 trillion. This, according to analysts is outside the social dislocation it may have caused people who are not certain of the direction of the country as a whole after the elections.
Okechukwu Unegbu, former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) told National Daily that Nigeria would have lost about N1.0 trillion to the postponement of elections.
He noted that for a country that about 75 per cent of the people depend on daily survival, it is a big blow to its citizenry.
Others believe that the said N1trillion may be an understatement.
The acting managing director of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, Nobert Bielderman has said that the postponement of the 2015 general elections for six weeks by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will have an adverse impact on the Nigerian economy to the tune of $2 billion (N400 billion).
This loss, he said, is mainly as a result of diversion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to other countries, and not even as a result of slowdown in productivity.
He particularly said that, “there have been travel bans from many European countries and this has negatively impacted the aviation sector”.
In a statement by Tom Griffin, managing director, West Africa, Control Risk, “the postponement of Nigeria’s elections has unnerved some investors and made others delay their final investment decisions. The economic impact of that has been shown by the drop in the naira. The genuinely competitive elections are a critical juncture on Nigeria’s path towards becoming a mature democracy, but closely contested polls are uncharted territory for the country’s political system. Nonetheless, Nigeria has an impressive capacity for weathering impending crises and we believe that the upcoming elections will be no different.”
“Regardless of the outcome of the polls, the incoming administration will have to contend with multiple challenges: resurrecting the oil sector reform agenda, managing a likely cash-flow crisis in government, dealing with the threat from Islamist militant group Boko Haram and maintaining stability in the restive Niger delta.”
Unegbu said, even politicians, with the postponement of the elections slowed down drastically on spending.
According to him, advert placements on televisions, radios, newspapers and even the social media were withdrawn.
John Ogode, an economist in Lagos wondered that if the politicians could suspend spending with the postponement of the elections, how did you expect investors or other business men and women to react.
Unegbu said that the capital appears to be the worst hit so far. For him, if that was not the case, how could one explain the fact that Nigeria’s economy is the biggest, yet its capital market is not the most capitalized in the continent?
He explained that the capital market is supposed to be the barometer or mirror of the economy, but as it were the postponement of the elections has made investors sit on the fence and in fact, they are already beginning to look elsewhere.
Perhaps, the most touching aspect of the bizarre situation is that because of the impact falling crude oil prices are also having on the naira, some companies are beginning to lay off staff.
It was reported last week that the construction companies are set to lay off a good number of staff very soon as the cost of importation of raw materials has ballooned.
This is expected to add to the growing army of the unemployed in the country. Increasing crime and other social vices have been attributed to unemployment.
Not even those that are employed are spared the impact of elections and its postponement. A good number of states are said to owe their staff arrears of salaries.
Osun state workers are said to have embarked on strike over unpaid six months salaries.

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