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ECONOMIC YABBIS

POACHERS IN OUR ECONOMY.


A Nigerian government official recent said that investors should
come and invest in our country boasting clearly that no other
country in the world promises the kind of return on investment
(ROI) that is available in Nigeria. He was speaking lavishly with
all sides of his mouth open at an international forum in Egypt. It
was at the least irritating that he spoke with such glee as if his
educated audience would not be informed that serious investors
were leaving Nigeria for other African countries because of a total
collapse of necessary infrastructure. He made no reference even
if a feigned explanation that Nigeria’s electricity supply remains a
sore point in the life of the nation.

He had no clue about the deeper issues an international investor


would face ranging from hostilities with immigration, the tax man,
a thieving workforce, very bad roads and lastly personal security
issues. Both the immigration, customs and tax man show hostility
mainly because of what personal gains they can squeeze out of
the foreigner – not in national interest.

It therefore means that the only surviving presence of foreign


investors in Nigeria are those who are desperate to remain and
continue to benefit from these extreme hardships. Those are the
ones who attest to the fact that there is no other economy in the
world where you can make huge, relatively un-taxed profits like
Nigeria. That is because the moment you get a grasp of how
Nigeria’s economy runs basically on the principles of graft,
corruption and “chop I chop” syndrome, you can get away with
anything you conceive from tax evasion to avoidance from under-
invoicing imports to committing murder. No serious country in
the world is run this way or else it would ruin in a matter of years
but unfortunately this is how Nigeria is run.

Nigeria is therefore presented with an odd situation that reveals


the picture of Poachers who have found their way into a games
reserve and are killing elephants just because they want to
harvest their tusks! Why kill such a huge precious animal just to
be able to steal a small body part for personal gain and leave the
rest to rot? Most of those actively running the Nigerian economy
are strange bed fellows consisting of corrupt government officials,
economic saboteurs and foreigners who are here to grab as much
resources as they can take out.

GOVERNORS, THEIR CRONIES AND BRIEFCASE


CONTRACTORS

The system of government that arrogates so much power to each


of the 36 state governors we have in Nigeria where each one can
do whatever he likes within his domain is one of Nigeria’s worst
problems! The governor calls the shots and can do whatever he
likes while in power – nobody in the civil services or legislature
can counter any perceived wrong and each governor therefore
emerges a multi-billionaire in his own rights after a few years in
office. To accomplish this, the governor builds around himself
people who would do his bidding and keep secrets. The case of
James Ibori (former Delta State Governor) shows that these
cronies are the ones who will act as couriers to launder money
and do all necessary to help siphon state funds. Unfortunately,
these cronies and emergency briefcase contractors are not the
best hands the country offers but mere opportunists who do not
even possess decent moral or ethical qualities. They are at best
mediocre and charlatans who use the opportunity of closeness to
the “lucky” politicians who becomes governor. These people and
the governors are No. 1 Poachers in Nigeria’s economy.

A REGIME OF INFLATED CONTRACTS

An unwritten code and culture that has evolved in Nigeria over


the years and decades is the attitude towards public spending.
The major way government officials have mastered the art of
embezzlement is through inflated contracts. A task that requires
N1 million to do is contracted out at N20 million. Our 50th
independence celebration that will most likely not go beyond
eagle square in Abuja and a few media promotion is costing a
whooping N10 billion where actual spending may not exceed
N250 million. The rest of the money ends up in private pockets of
government officials and their cronies. As long as there is no
index for determining the price for contracts in Nigeria, inflation
of contracts will keep giving room to poachers. This is the No. 2
poacher in Nigeria.

ASIAN BUSINESSMEN (China, India, Lebanon, Dubai and


the rest of the world).

Either by direct initiation from Nigerian citizens who need


collaborators or sheer smartness of international players in the
business world, a few nationals of the above listed world/global
citizens also come to take advantage of the looseness presented
in Nigeria to make money. The Standards Organization of Nigeria
has NEVER set any standards. Chinese businessmen therefore
bring to us the worst goods the world can imagine. Goods they
can never take near English or American borders (as they will be
seized and destroyed), they flood our markets with and sell for
serious sums. Our people (a population of 140 million) provide a
veritable source of funds – they “settle” customs, “settle”
immigration, “settle the tax-man and cart the profits to China to
further build their own factories for more serious business
elsewhere in the world. The same situation for India and Dubai.

When it is contracts, Billions of dollars are spent to contract


foreign companies to build or supply equipment for Nigeria’s use
at such costs that one-quarter of the funds in other parts of the
world would do the same thing. What is worse is that the funds
often go to waste as disagreement creeps into the deal often and
the job doesn’t get completed enough for Nigerians to benefit
from. Individuals have collected their money but Nigeria is left
empty! Case in point – Chinese/Nigeria Railway contract, the
satellite (SAT 3) meant for Nigeria, and a long list of untold
wasteful spending with these foreigners as collaborators.

IN THE END

Eventually, Nigeria will complete its oil cycle and end up with
NOTHING. No more oil, no more market for oil because
alternatives will exist and no savings or sovereign wealth from oil
proceeds. Why? Because the money is all being squandered
upon receipt. This prediction will take place within the next 20
years. The future will now be determined by the development of
other resources such as agriculture, solid minerals and a few
basic industries. In the meantime, the result of these poaching
games will remain short burst cycles of good times and bad times
based on so-called annual budgets that are based on inflated
spending depending on who wants what money (for instance if
the federal legislators succeed in their clamour for N42 million
allocation per quarter the budget goes up!) and a consistently
reducing GDP (Gross Domestic Product) since we produce
virtually nothing except oil.

God Bless Nigeria!