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Monday, January 16, 2012

INTERESTING TIMES

Was that in the script? Ninety seven naira per liter or did something happen in Aso Rock?




Did we bargain for this sell-out ? Do you support the terms of the resolution? You mean we just barked and shut up!

These are interesting times in Nigeria!

Friday, January 13, 2012

NO MAGIC WAND!



Nigeria’s future is the subject of current sabre-rattling by the government and the people on two sides of the divide.  With much tough-talking and misinformation on both sides, the real mission to secure Nigeria’s future and better our today is being relegated to the  background. Gradually, more people are getting fixated on the price of petrol as the crux of the campaign. People are chanting “on 65 naira we stand”. The battle is not for the price of petroleum products. It is a battle for the rudder of the Nigerian ship, a wake-up call to the  government, buckle up lest we sink!

Every casual supporter of the current people’s action against the government is likely to think this   mass action is directed at Jonathan Goodluck’s government. Far from it, this pent-up anger is directed at the perennial recklessness of government and the impunity of asking the people of Nigeria to suffer more while a few opportunists in power  acquire  more  booties of rulership. Because government is a continuum, an ongoing entity that inherits both assets and liabilities of its predecessors, Jonathan Goodluck must face the good luck of being the president of Nigeria at a time like this and facing the challenge. He must also think about it creatively, almost paternalistic in carving out solutions. He must see this not as an affront to his authority but as direct feedback from his constituents. He must harness this people power to undertake earth-shaking reforms he promised in the polity. He must enlist the people of Nigeria in fashioning out solutions to our collective challenges. The solutions must be owned by the people, signed off in a comprehensive charter and monitored by an independent body.
The solutions to Nigeria’s problems are multi-dimensional and require an eclectic mix  ingenious solutions woven together into an integrated strategy to wean Nigeria off oil dependency, create an infrastructure paradise, diversify the economy, create employment and attack poverty. It is called the P.I.E.S strategy.
The P.I.E.S strategy stands for the four areas of implementation which will drive initiatives and tangible results  to the people of Nigeria:
·     Political
·     Infrastructure
·     Economic
·     Social
This plan is based on a phased withdrawal of the fuel subsidy over a twenty for month period during which the government must take pre-planned steps in the four areas of strategic importance. The plan starts by moving the price of petrol to eighty five naira immediately, one hundred naira in another six months, one hundred and twenty naira in eighteen months and one hundred and forty naira in the twenty-fourth month. This plan addresses the deficit balance of trust which the Nigerian government currently enjoys by allowing the people to see and evaluate the steps taken by the government before moving to the next level. It also allows the government to plan its revenue and phase its promises, rather than promise everything to everyone at the same time.
Why should we increase the price of petroleum products? It is clear to everyone that any form of subsidy compromises both both economic and fiscal success especially in a nation where corruption and inadequate monitoring allows a privileged few to corner the gains and enrich themselves. It is also clear that the economics of subsidy is not sustainable on the long run as it encourages inefficiencies and creates abracadabra econometrics. It allows people to feel at ease with our comatose refineries and import petroleum products for West Africa while Nigeria pays. The policy it too juicy to be transparent and has several points of failure and compromise.
It is also clear that the global economics of oil, the vicissitudes of the global financial system and the turbulence of the oil prices dictate that we must achieve internal price parity  on the long run while ensuring that Nigerians get value for the volume of  trade in this commodity. To achieve this, Jonathan Goodluck’s government must galvanise action in the following areas:


Political
Nigeria’s political structure as it stands now is big, bogus and financially unsustainable. But it has constitutional backing! The constitution supports several duplicated functions and bodies. The government needs to consult widely and take action on the  drain pipes of waste. The following  questions are poignant:
·     Do we really need a government this big ?
·     Do we need really need a minimum of 36 Ministers ? Some of these portfolios are so narrow, they do not need a minister and some of them have two ministers.  Water resources could be merged with Agriculture.
·     Do we actually need 36 states? It is a touchy issue but I think we should explore the matter. Nigeria is just as big as one big state in America!
·     Do we need all the ministries and parastatals ? We need to prune down the number of agencies. We have Nigeria Boundary Commission and a Nigeria Border Community Development Agency.
·     Prune down the Budget! More than half of the 4.2 Trillion naira in the 2012 budget is pork, meant for needless, phantom expenses. I have looked at the budget provisions and it is appalling that  we are spending close to two billion for food in the presidency. We are also buying furniture for the Vice President with over 300 Million naira. If we continue to budget like that, we will soon be bankrupt, even if we paid 500 naira for a liter of petrol. There is too much financial laxity in our budget and it cuts across every Ministry, Department and Agency.
·     Reduce the perks of political office holders. It is an absurdity that our senators earn more than the American president. Let every political office holder take a 70 percent pay cut. Just to remind us, we are a borrower nation!
·     We must limit the size of government cabinet at all levels.
·     We must stop all frivolous foreign trips no matter the guise. We do not need to travel to  get medical attention if we fixed our own hospitals.
·     Create a fast-track court to try corruption cases and impose very stiff penalties combining jail time and forfeitures of illicit wealth.
·     Can we have local government chair persons serve as members of the house(s) of assembly in each state, sitting on Mondays alone, without all the frills and thrills of the current theatre ?
·     Create a special purpose account for the revenue accruing from the proceeds of the petroleum products and inaugurate an independent mix of technocrats, labour unions and international consulting firms.
·     Implement the KPMG report on the NNPC. Privatise the NNPC through a joint venture agreement. Make the organization a lean and professional organization, able to compete with the oil majors.
The government must  send  a  graduated constitutional amendment to the National Assembly and ensure that all of this in six months after the initial increase.

Infrastructure
The sore point of Nigeria’s nationhood is her underdeveloped infrastructure base. The government must come up with a twenty four month infrastructure development plan that will change the current level of infrastructural decay. The government must prioritise the following projects into short term, medium term and long term  objectives:
·     Category One Roads Repairs: Federal Roads must get immediate attention. Six months from the implementation of the first phase of subsidy renewal, all category one roads must be repaired in their current state while we plan on expanding or building new ones within 24 months. The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Sagamu-Benin Expressway, the Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway are in this category
·     Our Airports and Seaports require urgent attention. They should be given to international firms to build, operate and transfer. We should have port capacity to serve the entire West African sub-region and make our airports aviation hubs in West Africa.
·     We must expand our transportation options beyond roads. We must invest heavily in the rail sector and include safe marine travel in our transportation model.  Each state should come up with a unique transportation model and draw funds from the “subsidy fund” to  implement under supervision.
·     Our petroleum jetties, stations and pipeline require urgent attention. They should be phased for attention. Some of them require expansion (Atlas Cove Jetty) while some of them require outright redevelopment (Mosimi Depot)
·     Health and Emergency Services must be shored up immediately. Just like the PTF interventions, we must highlight primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions for immediate assistance. We must identify some specialist institutions for special capacity building and equipment support to become areas of competence in healthcare, capable of competing with renowned institutions in the world. Once this is achieved within twelve months, political office holder will not be allowed to travel out of Nigeria, even for health reasons. We must institute and implement a robust emergency management agency, capable of responding to minor road accidents and major natural disasters.
·     Power projects must be prioritized and pursued for completion with vigour. The government will publish a list of power projects to be commissioned within a cycle of subsidy withdrawal. These will include all gas-powered turbines, dams and coal-powered power plants. As government has started deregulating the sector, a strong monitoring mechanism should be put in place to ensure that Nigeria and her citizens get the best value from investors in terms of investment and service quality.
·     Education is an area of critical need. The government must create a comprehensive development plan for  Nigerian universities with the aim of making at least six Nigerian universities to be the best in Africa in the next ten years. This requires a roadmap which must be properly articulated and implemented.

Economy
It is clear that the economy needs to be  diversified to move away from the mono-economic lame duck that  we currently have. The government needs to implement the following:
·     Make it easier to start a company in Nigeria. We are currently one of the worst places to  start a business.
·     We must provide a mix of incentives for SME’s  by providing low-interest loans for this sector
·     We must provide adequate incentives for the agricultural sector with an understanding of the potential of the sector to become a very important mainstay of the economy.
·     We must revisit the role of export promotion agencies and banks, providing access to loans for exporters and monitoring for actual implementation.
·     We must create hubs for technological advancement, innovation and entrepreneurship.



SOCIAL CHANGE
The withdrawal of the subsidy will not be complete until the government targets specific programmes at the vulnerable poor and aim to alleviate the pains. The government must do the following:

·     Provide fuel vouchers for indigent people who register with their state government.
·     Provide transport vouchers for  minors and senior citizen who are above 60 years of age
·     Run campaigns for Nigerians to share transportation and use less fuel.
·     Run campaigns to encourage Nigerians to use public transportation.

This plans takes into the Nigerian refineries into consideration as the government has signed agreements for their Turn Around Maintenance.  When they come up and start refining again, it still possible that the price of petroleum products will fall due to the forces of demand and supply.
Just a plan to consider, because there is no magic wand!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SOLUTIONS TO NIGERIA'S PROBLEMS

HOW ABOUT SOME SOLUTIONS ?


LET US START SOLUTION-SEEKING!

SEND ME YOUR OWN SOLUTIONS TO NIGERIA'S CURRENT PROBLEMS!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

HOW TO LOOT FROM THE TOP:2012 BUDGET PROVISIONS




I cannot lay claim to being an accountant. I however have over fifteen years of corporate experience which has exposed me to budgeting and budget analysis as required of every modern–day manager. I have spent countless days in my career looking at several budgets in order to fillet the import for the operations and profitability of my organization(s). Budgeting is critical to the life of every organization. It signals the intention of the budget creator in terms of priorities, fiscal and structural discipline and overall direction of the corporate entity or nation. The budget of a nation tells you where the leader’s vision is focused, his perception of the challenges facing the  nation and the solutions he proffers  to the myriad of problems that face his constituency. Whoever presents a budget  must think it through as he is ultimately responsible for the content of the budget and the realistic achievement of the budget. So let it be with Goodluck Ebere Jonathan.


In the later part of 2011, I had looked at the 2012 budget without in depth analysis when it was first presented to the National Assembly. I saw the headlines and sectoral allocations as highlighted in the president’s speech. I did not look for the details in the allocations. I totally forgot that “the devil is in the details”.
The announcement of the deregulation of the downstream sector by the government was my wake-up call. The subsidy removal is a policy that jolted me just like all Nigerians. I wondered what the government wanted to achieve by stoking am already volatile polity. More importantly, I wanted to know  if the same government that was asking Nigerians to  make more sacrifices had  cut down its own excesses and imbibed the same spirit of sacrifice. Has that happened? Please read on.

I had wanted to compare the 2011 and 2012 budget but the sheer size of the challenge was prohibitive concerning the expediency of the current face-off between the impoverished people of Nigeria and the profligate government of Goodluck Ebere Jonathan.  This is not to say this current government stands alone in financial and economic recklessness. It is a battle trying to waddle through Nigeria’s accident scene of sleaze, corruption and ineptitude that has characterized budgeting and its implementation in Nigeria. There was no adrenalin spike in comparing the budget drawn up by Musa Yaradua to Goodluck’s budget. Jonathan apologists would quickly cry foul. It is only fair to judge Jonathan’s intentions by a budget he drew up and presented to the national assembly of Nigeria: the 2012 budget! It is impossible to look through the entire budget, it is instructive to see the major parts of the budget, starting from the office of the budget-creator. Let us therefore start  this journey by examining the budget provisions of the Office of The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Total allocation for The Presidency is N43, 595, 512,439 Billion naira. This includes the budgetary allocation for the following agencies domiciled under the Presidency:
  •  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC): N10, 978, 037, 521 Billion.
  • National Boundary Commission: N767,255 273 Million
  •  Border Community Development Agency: N646,748,662 Million
  • National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS): N1, 548,213,476 Billion
  • Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE): N3,863,431,314 Billion
  • National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA): N1,463, 138, 127 Billion
  • Bureau of Public Procurement: N1,193, 545, 830 Billion
  • Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC): N1,068, 142, 196 Billion
  • Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI): N1,174, 212,080 Billion
  • OSSAP MDG: N200,000 Billion
  •  National Atomic Agency Commission: N2,348, 354, 790 Billion
  • State House :N18,344, 524, 169 Billion
Let us proceed to itemize some shocking entries that are part of the budgetary allocation for the State House. I am going to start with the Office of the Vice President. Please read on.

LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
  •  Local Travel and Transport (Training and Others): N723,783,408 Million
  • International Travel and Transport (Training and Others):N951,028,384 Million
Total budgetary allocation for the Vice President’s travels is N1,674,811,792 Billion.

UTILITIES
  •   Electricity Charges: N85, 209, 564 Million
  • Water Rates: N42,941,329 Million
  •  Telephone Charges: N56,483,025 Million
  •  Leased Lines: N80, 487,953 Million
Total allocation for the Vice President’s utilities is N263,663, 567 Million.

MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
  • Office stationery and Computer Consumables: N343,299,190 Million
  • Books: N12, 273,286 Million
  • Newspapers: N43, 081,323 Million
  • Magazines and Periodicals: N8,703,937 Million
  • Printing of Non-security Materials: N121,248,260 Million
  • Drugs and Medical Supplies: N314,323,463 Million
  • Teaching Aids and Instructional Materials: N10,741,419
  • Foodstuff and Catering Materials Supply:N476,966, 327 Million
Total allocation for Materials and Supplies in the Vice President’s office is N1,332,637,365 Billion


OTHER ISOLATED ITEMS
  • Maintenance of Office Furniture: N53,387,659 Million
  • Maintenance of Office Building and Residential Quarters: N1,736,208,393 Billion
  •  Maintenance of Office and IT Equipment: N137,827,777 Million
  •  Maintenance of Plants and Generators: N15,215,500 Million
  • Other Maintenance Services: N113,682,232 Million
  • International Training: N183,208,461
  • Financial Consulting: N82,500, 152 Million.
  • Fuel and Lubricants: N168,722,871 Million (Remember electricity bills)
  • Refreshment and Meals: N293,695,515 Million (Remember Foodstuff earlier on)

SUNDRY CAPITAL BUDGET PROVISIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA


  • Office Furniture and Fittings: N135,053,350 Million
  • Purchase of Computers: N265,111,472 Million 
  • Purchase of Photocopying Machines: N23,566,100 Million
  • Purchase of Scanners: N150,783,304 Million
  • Purchase of Canteen and Kitchen Equipment: N45, 427,848 Million
  • Purchase of Residential Furniture: N295,322,579 Million (Remember Furniture for office and maintenance earlier on?)
  • Purchase of Health and Medical Equipment: N93,776,918 Million
  •  Purchase of Library Books and Equipment: N44,166,229 Million (Books again?)
  •  Provision of Office Buildings: N3,353,561, 982 Billion
  • Provision of Residential Buildings: N300, 341,085 Million
  • Provision of Electricity: N204,878,658 Million (Remember, Fuel and Lubricants and Electricity earlier, right?)
  • Provision of Water Facilities:N15,361,852 Million
  • Construction of Hospital and Health Centre : N268,444,076 Million
  • Provision of Agricultural Facilities: N29,261,612 Million
  • Provision of Infrastructure: N324,827,187 Million
  • Provision of Recreational Facilities: N141,358,532 Million
And yet more of these capital projects………


  • Rehabilitation and Repairs of the Residential Building: N694,893,729 Million (Which building.. the new or the existing?)
  • Rehabilitation of Hospitals and Health Centres: N122,921,332 Million
  • Rehabilitation and Repair of Roads: N21,511,233
  • Rehabilitation and Repair of Office Buildings: Look out for this figure : N 419,960,802 Million! 
  • What a very ominous and instructive figure. I could not help but repeat it: N419, 960,802 Million ! Please note the first three digits!
If you read this far, you must be wondering why this overbloated, unrealistic allocations were submitted right under the nose of Goodluck Ebere Jonathan. Why did he submit this to the National Assembly?
The answer is simple: Goodluck Ebere Jonathan is used to  watching when others loot. What did he do when his former boss Diepriye Alamesiegha was robbing Bayelsa blind? Alams has resumed in Abuja as de facto presidential adviser, right? He is doing the same thing to this few Nigerians who have been robbing us blind through the subsidyy. Instead of tackling  them, he wants to  further impoversh ordinary Nigerians. Why do we have such funny allocations in the office of the Vice President?

The answer is profound: people design budgets to loot, from the top. Looting starts from budgeting and it starts from the top. Everyone knows how Jonathan has planned to spend close to a billion to feast in 2012.   I will examine his budgetary allocations tomorrow but his Vice President’s proposed allocations is indicative  and tells us that Jonathan does not have the moral fecundity to ask Nigerians to make more sacrifice when the state house is feasting. Like Nero, they want to feast while Nigeria burns.

Do you know of better use of the monies allocated to the Vice President’s office? I see a lot of monies destined for misappropriation and outright stealing, while people die of hunger, disease, bad roads and empty pharmacies in dodgy hospitals.
Why should you remove the subsidy without addressing these leakages in the system.  We need to fix our conduit pipes; it leaks from the top!

When Jonathan does that, then he earns the moral temerity to ask us to tighten our belts.




NIGERIA'S 2012 BUDGET OF PANIC !!!

In about three hours, I will share with you specific line items from Nigeria's 2012 budget. Some are laughable, others are ridiculous while some bother on  a very rabid form of executive madness and chronic kleptomania of gargantuan proportions. No apologies to Patrick Obahiagbon !

Just a teaser: The Vice President's office is to buy newspapers worth 45 Million Naira in 2012 and  is to pay out  80 Million naira for "financial consulting"! Please do not ask me what financial consultant is !!!! PULEEEEEASE!


Don't miss it. I am poring over the document and will let you see the pork in three hours!

May you live (and read) in interesting times!


SUBSIDY: NIGERIA AND IRAN COMPARISON!

Fuel subsidies are the crack cocaine of global economic development: easy to get hooked on, hard to give up. And as every addict knows, there are good and bad ways to try to kick the habit.
Consider Nigeria and Iran. In Nigeria, the government’s recent decision to remove fuel subsidies and more than double the price of gasoline has led to riots and now a nationwide strike. Two years ago in Iran, an initiative to cut subsidies and almost quadruple the price of gas (as well as boost the price of food and water) provoked little unrest, lowered oil consumption and bolstered the economy and the government.
The differences between the two efforts offer valuable lessons about the best ways to eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies - - a staggering global misallocation of resources that does little to help the poor, distorts markets and pumps more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
In 2010, the value of all fossil-fuel subsidies, for both production and consumption, was roughly $500 billion. On the consumption side, 37 countries spent $409 billion underwriting their citizens’ fuel purchases, according to the International Energy Agency. Venezuelans, for example, enjoy the world’s cheapest gasoline: You can fill up a 32-gallon Hummer for about $3. In pre-reform Iran, the price of gasoline was 40 cents a gallon; in Nigeria, it was about $1.50.
Support Skews Development
There’s not much good to say about fuel-consumption subsidies. For starters, they encourage waste -- Venezuela has the dubious honor of having Latin America’s highest per-capita energy consumption. They also skew economic development because investment decisions are made on the basis of false market signals. And because consumption subsidies reward high-energy users, they help the middle class and the rich over the poor, who rely heavily on dung or wood and aren’t connected to the power grid.
The IEA, an independent body formed after the oil shocks of the 1970s, estimates that only 8 percent of that $409 billion went to the bottom-income quintile. Moreover, such government funding sucks up money that could be used to help the poor in other ways: Venezuela devotes at least 6 percent of its gross domestic product to fuel subsidies, about double its education budget; in Indonesia that amount is around 4 percent; the $6 billion that Nigeria has been spending to keep fuel prices low is three times its health budget.
In addition to freeing up hundreds of billions of dollars for more productive uses, unwinding all consumption subsidies by 2020 would reduce demand for energy by 4.1 percent and carbon- dioxide emissions by 4.7 percent, according to the IEA.
Here’s where Iran comes in. Whatever the conduct of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government in other realms, its fuel-subsidy reforms in late 2010 make it something of a role model. Legislative debate began almost two years before the changes went into effect; officials, academics and community leaders led an extensive public-awareness campaign that included sending households mock bills showing the true cost of their electricity. More important, the reforms included a clear benefit to Iranians: direct cash payments to more than 80 percent of the population, paid out before the changes took effect. In the case of the poorest of the poor, the sums amounted to more than half their monthly cash income, which helped to insulate the program from political criticism.
The administration of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan took a different path. It released its proposal a mere two months before it was to go into effect. Cash payments are to be directed only to small subsets of the poor (mainly pregnant women). Others will receive menial jobs, with pay low enough to “ensure the self-selection of only the poor.” The government says the cost savings will be recycled to the poor through building roads, railways, and irrigation projects. That doesn’t seem likely in one of the world’s most corrupt countries. No wonder Nigerians have taken to the streets.
Spurring Wasteful Consumption
The problem is hardly limited to the developing world. In 2009, the Group of 20, whose members encompass big oil exporters and importers, pledged to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.” One way to ensure that this goal is met -- and not largely at the expense of the poor -- would be for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to team up with the United Nations Development Program to compile best practices from Iran and other countries, as well as from the work being done by an alphabet soup of other groups (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the IEA, the World Bank and its regional cousins).
The OECD has already pulled together a 350-page inventory of more than 250 ways in which 24 of its member countries subsidize the production and consumption of gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels. But this transparency exercise looks only at budgetary support and tax breaks; it has yet to tackle the harder-to-estimate subsidies provided through things like loan guarantees. In order to speed up the process, how about turning the database into a public wiki, enabling the hive mind to exert its collective powers?
One benefit of this approach would be to highlight the contradictions indulged in by even relatively green countries, such as Norway and New Zealand, which tax fuel consumption heavily while still supporting their fossil-fuel production industries. The G-20 has so far deferred defining “inefficient” subsidies and “wasteful consumption.” We put forth a candidate: the tens of billions of dollars a year in forgone fuel taxes associated with diesel for agriculture, fisheries and other “off-road” uses, mostly as a result of exempting them from excise levies. Farmers and fishing fleets would have more reason to be energy-efficient, and we would have cleaner air and water in the bargain.
This article is culled  from Bloomberg View.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WE SHALL OVERCOME !

It has been a very interesting day. Curfews declared in Kaduna, Benin and Oyo this evening. The police behaved better  today with  lower casualty figures.  We pushed forward today! It is time to rest and prepare for tomorrow. Please rest, assured that we have started an irreversible process of change in Nigeria.  Do not be deterred. We will win this!

Have  a restful evening. See you hale, hearty and spritely tomorrow!

UNEASY CALM

Today has been largely successful, peaceful and purposeful in mass action! A few skirmishes were noticed in Benin and Kaduna as some  misguided miscreants wanted to hijack the struggle for their own selfish needs. Benin and  Kaduna protest will be indoor for now. 

Everywhere else in Nigeria, people  demonstrated without violence. Lagos led as usual with Fela music blaring at Gani Fawehinmi gardens in Ojota.  People occupied Falomo roundabout. Corporate executives, youth, students, artisans, market-women. Pat Utomi was there amongst other people. The atmosphere was almost festival-like! Ibadan was calm. Akure was peaceful.


Abuja and Port Harcourt were calm in protest. Where were you?

We  are still resolute and  determined to push out corruption and waste from Nigeria. If  we start that process today, we can be sure of a future assured! Do not be afraid or tired. We must make this count.

If you are not protesting, then you should be doing this:

Let us see how well your prayers will be answered!

Remember to bookmark and follow this blog for more updates on the current Nigerian situation and beyond!

WE WON'T TASTE THESE BITTERS UNTIL YOU DRINK IT !

How many days of  "I don't want" does this president require from us before he understands that Nigerians  will drink  this bitter only after all political office holders have taken a cup each!
What is the hope for these people in Nigeria? How would the deregulation affect these vulnerable people ? Do you think deregulation will improve their lives?

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD ?

I just came back from monitoring. Ibadan is calm and  compliant. I could not locate the mass rally but I am making phone calls and will meet them up!









I had walked three kilometers to get to this road and it is calm, no one is misbehaving. Police are under the shade resting. What is happening in your area? Leave a comment here!

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS NOW ?

Let  us remind ourselves this morning of the  reason for this showdown. It is not about subsidy, I keep repeating this fact. It is about the following indices that make our govenrment big, wasteful  and ineffective:

  • Big and overblown   governments at all levels
  • 70 Ministers
  • Over twenty Special advisers (on what?)
  • Every minister is entitled to 4 Special Assistants
  • Senate President earns 88 Million Naira monthly
  • His Deputy Earns 55 Million Naira monthly
  • Senators take home 14 Million naira monthly
  • It takes 1.4 Trillion (NOT Billion) naira to mantain the NASS annually (Rememeber what Sanusi said about  25% of our GDP is used to feed people who only sit Tuesday - Thursday)
  • Our Governors  exhibit such level of opulence  shunned by the richest nations in the world
  • Our 2012 budget has a deficit component to it. We are supposed to borrow about 1.6 TRILLION NAIRA.
  • NASS will be paid from that!
  • Aso Rock will use  1 Billion of it to eat!
  • Aso Rock will use another 1 Billion to fuel generators.
  • The Vice President will use 58 Million Naira to buy newspapers
  • The office of  Patience Jonathan will use 500 Million to speak bad english to you.
  • We will spend close to 500 Billion on International Travels
  • In 2012, some state governors will collect 100 as security votes MONTHLY
  • They will continue to enjoy immunity clause!
  • Your hospitals will have no drugs
  • Your schools will still have no quality to train a world class scholar
  •  Your roads will still be death traps
  • You will still be a local government unto yourself, providing water, security, power and  social security!
  • You will still pay more for petroleum products.
  • You will pay toll in 2012 on federal interstate roads.
If you will like this to continue in 2012, then stay at home and enjoy power as provided by PHCN!






Monday, January 9, 2012

Nigeria I believe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2hhOqIHRFQ&feature=youtu.beNigeria I believe!
Please watch this Youtube video on Nigeria! So apt for what we are going through now!

WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED BY MASS ACTION TODAY ?






Today's mass action in Nigeria has sent a strong message to the government of Nigeria. It has showed the government that we have risen to the gauntlet thrown by the clueless government of Goodluck Ebere Jonathan. 

Why should wasteful government ask its populace to make  deep-cutting sacrifices when its hands are soiled with booty from the commonwealth?

As goaty-headed as GEJ seems, several things have been achieved with today's mass action. These includes the following:

  • Today's  mass action has  shown clearly that more Nigerians are convinced that the removal of the fuel subsidy, without corresponding cuts in government spending and wastefulness is sheer wickedness and  is not acceptable to the Nigerian people.
  • Goodluck Ebere Jonathan's understanding and prioritisation of the  country's problems does not reflect the street level reality.
  • The government has brought out issues and details which ordinarily would not be in the public domain. We have been exposed to a heavy load of information, facts and figures in the past three days than have never been put out there before.  We know the names of the benefactors of the subsidy now. There is so much misinformation too. Yet people are not confused!
  • People's demonstration today reinforced the desire of the people to move beyond rhetorics  and dwell on  the structural problems facing Nigeria. We want change beyond the surface!
  • We can demonstrate peacefully with  minimal violence.
  • The gap between the middle class and the poor is closing up. Goodluck has become a common enemy for all  people of Nigeria, except the people of Otuoke!
  • Nigerians  are tired of being fooled into this  cycle of increases without corresponding  prudence on the part of the government.
On a sad note, at  least two  people lost their lives during the protest.  May their souls rest in peace.Shot by trigger-happy policemen, we need to ensure that they do not die in vain. We must forge ahead. We must be vigilant to avoid fifth columnists, infilterating the movement.  I am sure large amounts of monies are in bags, waiting for distribution to leaders in the struggle who  are ready to sell their souls to the devil. Remember that there is no spoon long enough to dine with the devil.

Lastly, please be safe  and careful as we continue this struggle tomorrow. It is not about subsidy. It is about the sould of Nigeria. It is about cutting wastage in government. It is about making government responsible. It is about bringing every arm back to reality: we are a borrower nation! We cannot afford to pay huge salaries to  our "elected officials" for "serving us". We are broke, everyone should pitch in, not the poor people only!

STEP BY STEP




I just came back home  in the last one hour. I witnessed a very orderly protest in Ibadan, led by students, teenagers and  artisans. They were focused, did not destroy anything and were generally well-behaved. I have heard the same stories from all over Nigeria. We have matured in the practice of civil disobedience and mass action. Can same be said for our police force?

Reports from other places (Lagos and Kano) have implicated the Nigerian Police Force have let down the same people whose taxes were used to arm and  clothe them in uniforms. They have turned their guns at the same people they swore to protect and serve. The Police in Nigeria is a 'FORCE' not a service.

As the process of uncovering the the True Lies of the Jonathan administration, it is clear we still have a long ways to go to educate our police 'force'. As we continue to battle for the soul of Nigeria which has been seized by the corrupt cabal, please be mindful of the following "aluta tips"!


  • Wear comfortable but presentable clothing. Do not dress like a tout or tart.
  • Wear smart footwear. Your footwear might decide whether you get out of arm's way or not.
  • Generally blend into the body of protesters. Don't stand out or make daring, individual displays
  • Do not taunt or abuse police or military personnel. Some of them suffer from deep-seated inferiority complex, curable only through the crack of a gun.
  • Do not throw stones, bottles or anything that might incite or threaten the armed personnel. They have nothing to throw and do not have the right attitude, training  or exposure to respond with "threat of use of force". 
  • Look out for each other. Caution other protesters who do not do it right.
  • Treat all road users and passersby with utmost respect. Remember they have a right to personal freedom whether or not to join the protest.
  • Carry a towel or handkerchief to wipe your face or protect against tear gas.
  • Carry a small flask for water or some fluid. Dehydration is real when you walk from Surulere to Ojota.
  • Offer armed personnel fluid or water if provided. They must be won over, afterall we are in this together.
  • Look ahead at all times. Do not be caught unawares by the presence of armed personnel.
  • Put your phone in radio mode. Keep abreast of happenings elsewhere as a group or rampaging policemen might be inching close to you.
  • Do not wander so far away from home without any plan for transportation. After the rally, fatigue sets in.
  • Should you hear gunfire, determine the direction and run briskly in the opposite direction. Do not exhibit foolish bravery.
  • Find a safe location, protected by a wall, a house of any other strong barrier. Do not engage in a fight with an armed man. It is the height of stupidity!
    Later today, I will review the  events as they have unfolded in the past twenty four hours!

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Songs for Nigeria !

    Two songs come to my mind when I think about Nigeria!

    Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,
    Where there is hatred, let your love increase
    Lord, make us instruments of your peace,
    Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease
    When we are your instruments of peace.


    Where there is hatred, we will show his love
    Where there is injury, we will never judge
    Where there is striving, we will speak his peace
    To the millions crying for release,
    We will be his instruments of peace

    Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,
    Where there is hatred, let your love increase
    Lord, make us instruments of your peace,
    Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease
    When we are your instruments of peace.

    Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight
    where there is darkness, we will shine his light
    Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief
    To the millions crying for relief,
    We will be your instruments of peace.

    Second is.......

    Say to those who are fearful hearted
    Do not be afraid
    The Lord your God will come
    And with His mighty arm
    When you call on His Name
    He will come and save you

    Chorus:
    He will come and save you
    He will come and save you
    Say to the weary one
    Your God will surely come
    He will come and save you
    He will come and save you
    Lift up your eyes to Him
    You will arise again
    He will come and save you

    Say those who are broken hearted
    Do not lose your faith
    The Lord your God will come
    And with His loving hand
    When you call on His Name
    He will come and save you

    (Chorus)

    Bridge:
    He is our refuge in the day of trouble
    He is our shelter in the time of storm
    He is our tower in the day of sorrow
    Our fortress in the time of war


    http://www.slideshare.net/adeadewusi/an-oily-affair

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    The Oily Affairs of a Profligate Nation




    I have read and watched several arguments pervading the public domain since the announcement of the removal of the fuel subsidy. I have been very circumspect in pitching my tent during these turbulent times.  

    However, it is clear that all Nigerians are justifiably angry. By Nigerians I refer to the majority of people who have their own hands in their own pockets! 

    Despite the fervent uproar that heralded this unpopular  government policy,  some things have been achieved. What amazes me is the speed at which these two things have been achieved:

    First, the truth is coming out concerning the mono-trade that props-up our nation. Veiled behind contrasting facts, figures and extrapolations is the truth. More people have come out with their own versions of the  real reason why Nigeria needs to stop a subsidy that  should not have existed in the first instance.

    Second is that Nigerians have become more perceptive at seeing the big lie that has been sold to them for the past fifty years. 

    The government has been a big lie, its policies a poignant reminder of the wickedness of man to man and its appetite for waste compares only to Usain Bolt’s abilities to break his own world records over and over again. Subsequent Nigerian governments have elevated corruption and wasteful spending to a new art form. No stable nation competes with us in this genre, we are record breakers!

    Let us briefly examine the origins of the fuel subsidy, and the carnage of catastrophy that has followed. We discovered oil in the southern part of Nigeria and sited refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna. In typical Nigerian style, our refineries were left to deteriorate while Turn Around Maintenance contracts were constantly awarded to incompetent firms. 

    Miraculously too, our leaders also forgot to build additional refineries to cater for the burgeoning population. Our three refineries were built when Nigeria’s population was about eighty million people. While we doubled in size, our leaders were more focused on lining their own pockets than planning for a growing population.

    As far back as the Babangida years, Nigeria had been experiencing shortfalls between internally refined petroleum products and actual demand for petroleum products.  Professor Tam David West managed the challenge by exchanging crude oil for finished products. He devised a system where countries were paid in crude oil for refining petroleum products, ensuring that nobody made money from the situation.

    This problem of lack of internal capacity to refine crude oil is perennial, just that the politicians took over and devised a clever way of making money from their own incompetence.

    The politicians created a class of super rich Nigerians who became cohorts in funding elections and perpetuating corrupt people in government. How else can you explain the fact that everyone who has donated two hundred million naira to the presidential campaign fund in the past two elections are all major players in the oil sector? How would they be paid back? SUBSIDY! 

    People like Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and Wale Tinubu all became purse keepers and financiers for the politicians, empowered and capable to provide cash for political conquest. Some of them barely existed ten years ago! The politicians neglected the refineries, did not build new ones and created the elaborate scheme of phantom subsidy in order to solve their own problems, not ours!

    Like all businessmen, the “oil marketers” were quick to sense opportunity. Several of them set up accounts with banks to harness the business opportunity of subsidy, not petroleum products marketing. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi provides insight into these fraudulent dealings in his write up. This is a transcribed copy (in part) of his submission at the Town Hall meeting on deregulation of  refined petroleum products which was held on the twenty-second of December 2011:

    “You establish an LC for importing 20,000MT of PMS and the PPPRA says this is at a landed cost of N145 for example per litre. So you know that for every litre in that vessel you will get at least N85 as subsidy. Now you have a number of "possiblities": 

    1. You can off load 5,000 MT and bribe customs and other officials to sign papers confirming you offloaded 20k MT. Then do the same across the chain with a paper trail showing you delivered 20k MT to a tank farm, and maybe even that you transported it to Maiduguri entitling you to a share of the price equalization fund. Maybe for N20-N30 per litre youbribe all those who sign the papers. The 15k MT you take to Benin or Ghana or Cameroun and sell at market price thus makin an additional "profit" of N55/ltr on 15,000MT! 

    2 you can just forge documents and have them stamped without bringing in anything and collect the subsidy-PPPRA pays based on DOCUMENTS. 

    3 you can bring in the fuel, load on tankers, sell some at N65N some at 80 some at 100 some across the land borders. 

    You can do all this and no one can catch it or prove it because somebody was paid to sign off on documentss. And with a high enough margin there is too much temptation to be resisted and firepower for bribing officials. 

    When I spoke to the house of reps I told them why I was suspecting fraud. It starts from PPPRA "allocations" based on "capacity". You will find a company like Mobil with capacity for say 60,000 MT and a relatively unknown name with a capacity of say 90k MT. Red alert number 1. 

    Although PPPRA is supposed to give license only to marketers with a national distribution network you see names of companies where you have never seen a filling station in their name.
    I was a chief risk officer in UBA and in FBN for many years approving loans so I know the name of every big player in every industry that nigerian banks lend to as these are among the biggest banks in the country. I see names on the list I don't recognise either from portfolios. I looked at or industry studies over the years. Red alert number 2. 

    I studied the papers presented to PPPRA in a short period in 2010 (I won't tell you how I got them!). And I was surprised that on some days over 10 vessels are said to have discharged cargo in lagos on the same day-clearly the same officers stamping and "verifying" that the vessels were SEEN. Is it really realistic that on the same day 13-15 vessels can discharge in Lagos? Red alert number 3. “

    According to the same write up, Femi Otedola’s Zenon and AP owe the Nigerian banking system about 220 billion naira in bad loans that have been taken over by AMCON, yet he did not have stock of petroleum products worth a fraction of that amount. You can bet he also did not have the cash in his corporate accounts. More importantly, he could still afford to give the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization 200 million naira during the election season.

    I have taken time to quote the Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank in order to show you, my reader, the sleaze that makes for an arresting Hollywood thriller. On all sides, you see subterfuge, greed and corruption. You see institutionalized  kleptomania across the value chain, oil marketers, port officials, PPPRA, DPR and bankers who knew the truth and never said it until now!

    It is clear to me that the subsidy scheme was created and executed by the government to enrich their friends and themselves. It means the nation budgeted huge amounts of money which we knew was going to be pocketed by a few people.

    Why is the Goodluck government removing the subsidy? Profligacy is not sustainable on the long run! They now want us to pay for their incompetence. It is clear that no official wants to let the truth out of its hiding place. We are broke! Our external reserve is down to 27 billion dollars from 80 billion when Obasanjo handed over. 

    Our internal debt is 5 trillion naira. External debt is back to 35 billion dollars.  Excess crude oil account is down to zero. We are broke yet the only rich people in Nigeria are politicians and some pastors. Politicians who earn more than every other earthly government and pastors who collect earthly money, lay hands on and promise heavenly bliss to men of shady character. Some of these super rich pastors are not saying anything now. Some of them are speaking as a matter of expediency. Some of them have private jets with which to fly out of Nigeria. They share that same luxury with the  dirty politicians they bless and celebrate with front row seats in their churches.

    We need to ask our government what they are getting paid for. Is it the national pride that we currently enjoy or our infrastructure that is out of this world? We still have polio in Nigeria in 2012. We have hospitals that are not fit to treat animals. No government primary school competes with a public school in South Africa. Our universities provide better criminals than scholars. We do not have roads. in the place of roads we have long stretches of death traps designed to keep the population in check through untimely death. We do not have electricity. We have lost our factories to Ghana. Just a few grumbling manufacturers remain, who are yet to get land in Ghana.

    We have lost everything we met on the land. Cocoa, palm oil, groundnuts, cotton, cashew and rubber have been forgotten and are better produced by nations who came to learn from us. We have lost our moral compass, our society is fractured, our statehood is threatened. Our citizens are in all prisons around the world. Some of them prefer foreign prisons to Nigeria. Our passport is treated with disdain everywhere you present it. Why should our Senate Leader earn 600 million naira per annum? Why should our senators earn 30 million naira per month? Why should our National Assembly gulp 1.2 trillion naira per annum while we try to save 1.4 trillion from subsidy removal ? Why should our government be this big with special advisers on cassava and beans affairs? Do we need 52 ministers and 36 states? Do we need a Minister for Water Resources when 95 percent of Nigeria cannot recognize a water faucet? Why would our president spend close to a billion on food while close to eighty percent live on less than a dollar a day?  Why should he budget a billion for generators and diesel when he is urging us to believe in his power sector reform? Why does our President need  9 private jets? Why do our governors move around with twenty-vehicle convoys while David Cameron has just two vehicles and one outrider? 

    Why should our politicians keep their salaries when Obama slashed his? Why should we continue to be wasteful when the handwriting on the wall says “danger”? Why should we believe this government when it says the subsidy gain will be properly reinvested? Despite my utmost respect for Christopher Kolade, I have this ominous feeling that he is being set up to be rubbished. Same for Alfa Belgore!

    Labaran Maku must be suffering from foot and mouth disease if he really used that cavity to announce 1,600 buses as palliative measure for 170 million people. Lagbus has 500 buses. What impact will that make? You mean the government of Nigeria needs to subject her citizens to hardship in order to buy 1,600 buses. On the strength of the initial information on how the  savings will be invested, given by Labaran Maku and the minister for Labour,  the government is bereft of both ideas and dictionaries! 

    To move Nigeria forward, we must do the following:
    ·    Demand more transparency from the government especially in oil dealings and allocations. Remember the way Okonjo Iweala was publishing the allocations to all tiers of government.
    ·   Demand immediate reduction of the size of this government and its wasteful ways.
    ·      Demand specific prioritized projects which should be tied to the subsidy savings (if we negotiate a reduction instead of outright reversal).
    ·      We need to demand same from our state governments, prune down the waste.
    ·      We need to ensure our protest is peaceful and organized to avoid loss of life.
    ·      We need to resist provocation and divisionist tendencies.





    ·    We need to pray for Nigeria. I still believe God can use this moment to make a change in Nigeria.  Pray that anyone who steals from Nigeria’s commonwealth will experience pain and sorrow. Pray for God to help us in the same way he intervened Abacha-wise.
    ·      Share additional information online, do not stop the flow of information. The more we know, the better we become.

    Just an addendum, later today, I shall be publishing specific line  items from Nigeria's 2012 budget to expose the  financial recklessness of this administration that is asking Nigerians to sacrifice. Make sure you check in!

    I have posted a new  entry on how our money is stolen through overblown and unrealistic budgets. I picked out line items from the budgetary allocations of the office of the Vice President in the 2012 budget. Please read that post. It makes interesting reading.