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How The Nigerian Economy Can Overtake America’s Economy

I can just imagine what must be running through the minds of those who are reading this extremely catchy title. I can almost envisage some ...

I can just imagine what must be running through the minds of those who are reading this extremely catchy title. I can almost envisage some remarks like ‘Pastor Sunday has come again’, while others will be thinking, “what a fantasy if not fallacy.”

I don’t claim to hold the key of knowledge, I do however, as a student of current affairs, wish to argue my case. I hope my efforts would give hope to Nigerians and Africans everywhere. It is also my hope that the newly elected Nigerian government will hear the voice of reason, study my hypothesis and work hard to actualize them.

Let me start by saying that the key to Nigeria’s economy overtaking America’s economy, is in CURBING CORRUPTION. I will examine this hypothesis more closely in this article.

“Corruption is Africa’s greatest problem. Not poverty. Not lack of riches. Not racism.” – Dennis Prager Corruption, that monster that has crippled nations, economies and peoples is our biggest shame and inhibition. If Nigeria could successfully fight corruption on all levels with all our natural and human resource endowments, Nigeria’s economy is poised to overtake America’s economy in the near future.

To start with, we are going to be looking at corruption in terms of political corruption which is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gains. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption when the act is directly related to their official duties. It is mainly done under guise of law and involves trading in influence.

I don’t think I need to waste your precious time my dear readers to try to convince you that our beloved nation Nigeria has broad based corruption. All through the length and breadth of our country, we see corruption everywhere. In the government offices, police check-points, schools, universities, military, Nollywood, media, entertainment industry etc. Friends, no doubt about it, it’s either we exterminate corruption or it annihilates us as a nation.

Let me tell you a short story that relates to each one of us Nigerians and our Ghanaian brethren.
One of the greatest news that has been heard on the African continent in the last decade, is the news of Ghana joining the league of oil producing nations.

That singular discovery added so much to the Ghanaian economy that it catapulted Ghana’s economy into one of the fastest growing in the world. It is believed that Ghana currently produces about 400,000 barrels of oil per day, which is equal to 40 million USD per day, based on the 2014 price of $100 per barrel.

Now, listen closely friends. The same amount of money that has hugely enhanced the economy of Ghana, creating many opportunities and bringing joy to the lives and families of millions of Ghanaians, is the very same amount of crude oil value unaccounted for daily in Nigeria.

In the words of Coordinating Minister and the Minister of finance Ngozi okonjo-Iweala while addressing the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Appropriation/Finance in Abuja in 2013 said, “We are losing revenue; 400,000 barrels of crude oil are lost on a daily basis due to illegal bunkering, vandalism and production shut-in.”

That is the government official’s way of saying that 400,000 barrels of oil is stolen daily in Nigeria. As of the year 2003 when oil was selling for way above $100, that could be anything between 40-50 million USD per day. Furthermore, if we count 5 working days, it makes 295 working days a year, which equals to 118 million barrels per year, which means 40 billion USD a year. This is only for the year 2013.

Please note, I don’t want anyone to think I am attacking President Jonathan or his administration. Whenever I mention any name in this article, it is for clarification not condemnation. The election has been won and lost. Let bygones be bygones. I am simply referring to his government as a matter of fact or reference not for accusation. My appeal to Nigerians is, let us move forward.

If we are going to count how much was lost, only during the government of President Jonathan, then it becomes easy to believe the calculations done by the former Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria Prof. Chukwuma Soludo. He alleged that 30 trillion Naira (the equivalent of 200 billion USD in 2013) was lost to corruption in Nigeria. This is only in 6 years of President Jonathan’s government, from the year 2009 – 2015.

To put that in perspective, the amount of money Nigeria lost in 6 years is bigger than the whole economy of the Ukraine $177 billion, Kuwait $175 billion, Libya $74 billion, Hungary $133 billion, Morocco $114 billion, Romania $189 billion, Belarus $71 billion, Syria $71 billion, Angola $124 billion and Vietnam $171 billion etc. according to the 2013 World Bank statistics for nominal GDP of countries.

Remember we are only talking about the amount Nigeria lost in the oil sector. Let me even make it clearer. According to the 2013 World Bank reports, that amount of $200 billion we lost in 6 years is 4 times the whole economy of Ghana $48 billion, 4 times that of Ethiopia $47 billion, 4 times that of Tunisia $46 billion and Kenya $55 billion.

It gets more interesting, let me bring it closer to home and compare this amount to the GDP of some countries where Nigerians now run to as economic refugees. The lost $200 billion USD equivalent as at 2013 we are talking about is 6 times the budget of Cameroon $30 billion, 10 times the size of the economy of Zambia $20 billion, 10 times the economy of Uganda $19 billion, 10 times the economy of Gabon $19 billion, 14 times the economy of Senegal $14 billion, Botswana $14 billion, Jamaica $14 billion, republic of Congo $13 billion, equatorial Guinean $14 billion and Mozambique $14 billion according to World Bank GDP report of countries by 2013.

The amount we lost in 6 years is half of the whole economy (GDP) of South Africa, Denmark, Venezuela, Colombia, Thailand, Austria, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia. Oh my God!!! What a country we would have built if not for the monster of corruption!

“Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste.” Prov. 13:23 I am sure by now, some of you are already getting agitated. When am I going to talk about how we are going to overtake America’s economy? Where are the proofs that we can overtake it? Well I am taking my time. I first started with information you could easily believe, before I make my case for the title of this article.

There are even more daunting statistics of how corruption has eaten into the fabric of the Nigerian economy. According to Mr. Obinna Akukwe a UNN trained Financial, IT and Project Mgt. Consultant and Adams Oshiomhole, former Labor Leader for close to a decade, Governor of Edo state, $27 billion that should be in excess crude account has been stolen.

Oshiomhole opined that “Nigeria’s budgets for the past three years have been based on the average of $77 and $79, while the average price of the country’s crude has been $108 per barrel, which gives an average surplus of $30 per barrel.

“Ideally, we ought to be saving $36 per barrel on the 2.3 million barrel a day over the past three years and if you look at these numbers you will find that what we have in our excess crude oil account should be over $30 billion but as we speak, we have barely $3 billion in our excess crude account.”

Though the NNPC had agreed that under their watch, $11 billion was stolen in 2013 alone, we shall still use the conservative figure of $5 billion annually to calculate the oil theft. The use of least average in cost computations is applied. The use of 60 months below is the amount of months President Jonathan’s government was in charge of the purse of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

1. $20 billion missing in 18 months = $1.1 billion monthly x 60 months = $66 billion

2. $30 per barrel above budget benchmark of $79 not accounted for, meant for excess crude account = $27 billion

3. $5 billion lost annually to oil thieves = $0.41 billion monthly x 60 months= $25 billion

4. $1.5 billion (N263 billion Naira) lost to suspicious waiver on petroleum products in 9 months= $0.16 billion monthly x 60 months = $9.6 billion

5. Subsidy Scam of 2011= $6.8 billion

6. Swiss-NNPC Oil Scam of 2013= $6.8 billion

7.Malabu Oil Scam of 2011= $1 billion

Total probable missing/stolen or un-remitted oil funds in 60 months = $142.2 billion, in the most conservative estimation.

Remember that this is the amount that could be logically traced according the people mentioned above. In all, the total still comes to an average of $200 billion according to Prof. Soludo’s account for the last 6 years of President Jonathan’s administration.

“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”John 6:12. - african leadership magazine

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