Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Nigeria: The Blessings And The Curse

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, but it imports refined petroleum...

That is the biggest shame. Nevertheless, it could also be a wise economic decision - to not own a refinery - if it was financially profitably so. But it is not. You know, if you live in places like London; and are single, not owning a car may be financially profitable.

In the case of Nigeria, due to the corruption of its leaders since independence, every economic decision made has been deliberately wrong, hence costly. Corrupt officials make these decisions because they benefit their own personal purses through it.

The IMF insists that Nigeria has to remove its oil subsidy, but it never insists Nigeria has to care for its citizens. With the IMF believe, it clearly is not asking for the later.

Although oil price in Nigeria is literally cheaper in comparison to most developed countries, in reality, it is more expensive compared to the same. In Nigeria, after filling the tank of your car, you need to fill the tank of your electricity generator too. That said, you'd also pay for the non-supplied electricity. This is just one of the complexities.

For a State that rank amongst the top 10 oil producers in the world, isnt it shocking that social mobility is crippled. There is no existent social welfare hence the high rate of crime, violence, ethnic clashes, constant labour strike, bribery, low life-span, etc. Fuel subsidy therefore, is the only benefit Nigerians get from the self-cursed State we have. How much more can a people live accursed?

If the Nigerian government has been interested in improving its society, it would think of the welfare of the people first. Thus to remove the subsidy, the government would have made sure it has done tangible work in improving infrastructures and social mobility. That way, the inflationary repercussions of removing the subsidy would be minimized as well as the violence and exploitations that would follow.

Had the government improved electricity supply for instance, by at least 75%, Nigerians would have been too happy to think about protests. Had the government improved education by at least 50%, Nigerians would have been too enlightened and not engage in violence. And had the government improved road, security, public service, accountability, etc; removing the subsidy would have made sense because living standard would have improved.

With all the above missing and no assured signs of them being advanced, it is clear that the government of Nigeria doesnt seem to be making the best plans and officials are still seeking their personal benefits with economic plans.

The blessings of natural and human resources has surely been a curse for Nigeria. Is there really hope for change?

Image taken from BBCNews

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