Opposition party warns government to act now as high poverty and unemployment rates have become a time bomb.
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has challenged the Federal Government to be honest with Nigerians on the state of the nation’s economy, saying all indications are that things are not as rosy as they are being painted by the government.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said coming clean on the state of the economy will enable the government to carry the people along in whatever measures it may take to avoid the collapse of the economy.
The ACN recalled that it issued a statement last February in which it alerted Nigerians that the country’s economy may collapse unless government cuts its running cost and diversifies the economy.
The opposition party noted that though government denied it, there are indications that government lied about its response, the clearest indication of which, ACN said, are contradictory statements credited to the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in recent times.
”According to a published report, on June 10th in Abuja, the minister said at a ministerial briefing that the fundamentals of the economy were strong and that the economy was buoyant beyond danger. However, a day later, the same minister was quoted as saying, at a closed-door session of the Federal Government Economic Implementation Team, that the Nigerian economy is shaky despite the official fundamentals and that drastic steps are needed to save it from collapse,” the party said.
The opposition party said while it had no reason to doubt that the reality of the gloomy situation facing the country’s economy has now dawned on the government, it is still worried that those in authority are speaking from both sides of their mouths, publicly giving the impression that all is well while privately preparing to unleash belt tightening measures on the same hapless citizens who have borne the brunt of their poor governance.
“When the falling crude oil production and massive oil theft are placed side-by-side with the impact of the rising Shale oil production in the US (which we also warned against in our earlier statement), the regular declaration of Force Majeure by oil firms, the fact that oil firms are divesting instead of investing in the sector and the freewheeling spending by a profligate government, one needs not be a Harvard-trained economist to know that the dark clouds are gathering over the economy,” it said.
“Since it is a truism that everything revolves around the economy, a government that cannot get it right with the economy cannot get it right with anything else. This is why we are again raising the alarm, with the belief that the government will level with Nigerians and shun the same ‘political’ reactions that it is used to.
”It is urgent to act now. As many concerned citizens have said, the highfalutin economic growth figures have not translated to development. Poverty has remained high while unemployment has become a time bomb. Therefore, against the background of a tottering economy, delay could be calamitous,” the ACN added.