Just when Nigerians thought they have seen it all having experienced the worst form of post-independence democracy, then came a troubling news that the most populous country in Africa has slipped into a second economic recession in five years and, also its worst economic decline in four decades.
For the records, recession is a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activities are reduced, generally identified by a fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in two successive quarters.
Recession, no doubt, portends danger for our nascent democracy and economy, and it is something that no country can wish for, especially in this post covid-19 era, having battled the pandemic that have resulted to the deaths of millions of people across the globe and crippling of economic activities in many nations of the world.
According to analysts, Nigeria’s GDP in real terms declined by -3.62% (year-on-year) in Q3 2020, thereby marking a full-blown recession and second consecutive contraction from -6.10% recorded in the previous quarter (Q2 2020).
This means that the country has slipped into recession, though some charitable critics described it as depression, attributing their reasons to the hike in price of premium motor sprit, irregular power supply etc.
But the UK Trade Envoy Ms Helen Grant was quoted to have said recently that Nigeria remains the fastest growing economy in Africa despite the recession.
Ms Grant had at a two-day Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) organised by Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), in collaboration with Nigeria Diaspora Summit Initiative (NDSI), said that the UK government was ready to educate, and also learn from Nigeria by enhancing the bilateral trade between both countries.
While we welcome this cheering news with excitement, even amid another telling recession, it is our considered opinion that the President Muhammed Buhari-led federal government begin work with immediacy of time to ensure the country exits this second recession that triggered hike in the prices of food items, services and other commodities sold in the market.
The president should also not relent in his avowed promise to make the country a better place for all through affordable cost of living, provision of basic amenities, good road network, quality education and sound health care delivery among others.
The worsening security situation wherein farmers are slaughtered in their hundreds goes further to explain that the worse form of recession in our country is actually underway and our depleting GDP will continue to shrink. Agricultural sector holds a lot of hope for Nigeria but with farmers now afar from their farms due to Bokoharam’s unchallenged heinous and mindless act of killings in the North, there appears to be no form of bailout from the agro sub sector.
Thus far, President Muhammadu Buhari and his Service Chiefs appear to be floundering in the wilderness of confusion as per confronting these dare devil beasts of no nation or they have a clue of what to do but chose to look elsewhere because of their indirect complicity and compromise in the whole conspiracy.
We call for concerted effort by Buhari economic team aimed at fashioning out ways to get our helpless citizens out of these present economic mess. Inflation and artificial scarcity of products are currently rearing their ugly heads against the poor and the average in Nigeria. The consequential implication of all these economic challenges is that crime must be on the increase while diseases and deaths will continue to pummel most Nigerians as a result of lack of access to Medicare which is basically unaffordable. The Service Chiefs must be eased out and fresh blood injected into our security system by Buhari as have been suggested by most Nigerians and recently validated by the Senate. There’s no time better to act than now.