Dear friends, Good morning! Welcome to our Thinking Corner! A citizenship center for reflecting on socio political development in our neighborhoods.
Just recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria alerted Nigerians that our economy is in recession.
Indeed by CBN forecast, the economy will turn the corner, that is depression, by October 2016.
For every keen observer of the economic tides in the International and local markets, it is abundantly clear that the prizes of crude oil has fallen and mono-economic rooted countries like Nigeria is suffering their naivety of non-diversification.
It is such a nightmare that Mr President Muhammad Buhari has sought for an Emergency Power from the Legislatures in order to steer our economy back to stability.
Whether the law will be changed for him is still a huge dilemma as the legislature prepares a return from their recess.
At the state level, many state governments have been living and conducting their policies as if the federal economic experience and crisis does not concern nor affects their citizenry.
The economic advisers of these governments will need to critically rethink their approach otherwise they will permanently eradicate existing cushions in the recession which is local industries and medium scale businesses.
The case of Anambra State is essentially x-rayed to make a specimen critique.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has changed the narrative in economic stability and growth from local to foreign oriented since the inception of his administration.
Everywhere in the world, especially in developing economies like Singapore, Thailand, Hon Kong, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Taiwan and India, all third world cum developing countries like Anambra State, local productions and industrialization is key to economic growth.
The key target is:
1. To sustain, grow and stabilize existing local businesses thereby avoiding capital flights
2. To feed the nation without outright reliance on foreign imports.
Today, even as we strike the keypads, Anambra State, an economic boiling point, third in entire 36 states of the Federation is vigorously in pursuit of foreign investors to attract to the state.
The government has signed over 60 Memorandum of Understanding MOU with “Foreign Investors ” while none have practically kickstarted.
Ironically, this same government in pursuit of foreign investors has slowly and systematically killed local investors in Anambra State.
The Irony further is that the government with her tax regime has crippled over 100 businesses within Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka metropolitan cities.
What are the economic justifications of overtaxing local industry and businesses while in daily media in pursuit of foreign investors?
Take special notice: these foreign investors certainly will require free tax zone and other benefits away from security that will encourage them to invest.
In CNN adverts, I usually see “Invest in Macedonia” and other of such adverts but the critical factor which must not be overlooked is that these countries or states lack the entrepreneurial resilience gifted to the “Igbo man” of Anambra cultural origins.
While they seek foreign investors into their arid lands baring few natural resources, here in Nigeria and Anambra precisely, we have an economy that is driven by the small and medium scale entrepreneurs.
Our egalitarianism and hard work does not depend on crude oil nor does it depend on mineral resources excavation.
This is a state aside few others where urban migration into it is on the rise yearly, all in search of business opportunities and expansion.
Why does our state government look abroad instead of at home to resuscitate the economy?
Why all these hypes in visiting China, India and some foreign lands in search of phantom foreign investors who are already aware of the macrocosmic Nigerian problem to come down and invest in a micro state like Anambra?
These men arrive, eat our food, drink our wine and sign our white papers without any serious economic interests while we trample down our own local investors sending them away with over 100% taxation.
What an Irony in the theory of Investment?
Furthermore, Anambra State and her indigenes are until now unable to comfortably feed her population through her agricultural proceeds.
While the diversification into Agriculture has become necessary at the face of oil doom in Nigeria, in Anambra State, through government activities, many Anambrarians have taken the initiatives into agriculture and there is hope.
Ironically again, the state government has placed huge emphasis on “exportation of these agro products” instead of primarily making it available in the local markets.
From the media escapades of the government, the triple Agro inroads, no matter how hyped, has been:
The local productions of these Agro foods, judging by the official government information should by now be flooded in Anambra markets of ochanja, Ose Okwodu, Eke Awka, Nkwo Nnewi, Eke Ekwulobia, Relief Market and Menas markets across the state.
But these are nowhere to be found especially as more people make reports on non-availability of rice.
ANAMBRA RICE IN THE LOCAL MARKET
The question is: Which Markets does Anambra Agro products sale?
The proximate answer to this question can be viewed in the recent “five million dollars ugu exportation”.
Why exportation when your local customers are not yet satisfied?
Exportation is sensible when local demands are satisfied.
Anambra rice is currently a panacea to the high cost of foreign rice today but we hear media reports of “Rice Exportation”?
What is the Economic justification?
Do we want to gradually kill Stine industry?
This is a question the owner of Stine industries must ask and be sure of the sustainability of his partnership with state government.
The local market ought to be his first target and not foreign Exportation even if it is to Lagos or Ghana.
I keep asking…. Benue state is the basket food of the nation!
Is Anambra State the food basket of Europe?
Lets think Home!!!
Am Unshackled! Are you?
By Dr Nwankwo Justin