‘’If oil prices remain below 60 dollars, I see very difficult months ahead, with possible heady collisions with labour, civil society, and indeed the citizenry’’. That was the submission of former Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) governor, Prof. Charles Soludo as Nigeria approaches a major election and battles with the drop in its revenue caused by falling oil prices at the international market.
Soludo said he drew attention to some of the problems now facing the country as far back as September 2010, when he wrote a piece titled: “2011 Elections: Let the Real Debate Begin’’. He said: ‘’our main thesis was that the macro economy was dangerously adrift, with little self-insurance mechanisms (and a prediction that if oil prices fell below $40, many state governments would not be able to pay salaries). I gave a subtle hint at easy money and exchange rate depreciations because I did not want to panic the market with a strong statement. Sadly, on the eve of the next elections, literally everything we hinted at has happened’’.
On the presidential election that is around the corner, Soludo had this to say on the campaigns of President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari, ‘’ The tragedy of the current electioneering campaigns is that both parties (APC and PDP) are missing the golden opportunity to sensitize the citizenry about the enormous challenges ahead and hence mobilize them for the inevitable sacrifices they would be called upon to make soon. Each is promising an El-Dorado. None of them will be able to deliver on the fantastic promises being made on the economy.
‘’The two main parties talk around the major development challenges—corruption, insecurity, economy (unemployment/poverty, power, infrastructure, etc) health, education, etc. However, it is my considered view that none of them has any credible agenda to deal with the issues, especially within the context of the evolving global economy and Nigeria’s broken public finance. The UK Conservative Party’s manifesto for the last election proudly announced that all its programmes were fully costed and were therefore implementable. Neither APC nor PDP can make a similar claim.
‘’A plan without the dollar or Naira signs to it is nothing but a wish-list. They are not telling us how much each of their promises will cost and where they will get the money. None talks about the broken or near bankrupt public finance and the strategy to fix it,’’ Soludo said.