STATE OF THE NATION REPORT at the 49th Board Meeting Held on 06th of May 2023
A press Statement
- The 2023 general Elections issues
Though the 2023 general elections have come and gone, it is important to audit the entire process. Nigerians are requesting a national debate to address all the critical challenges that still confront our electoral process to ensure more transparency and help to build peoples’ confidence in the democratic process.
This is because despite the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), the electoral processes were still marked with violence, rigging, and other forms of malpractices. These debased the expectations of voters, who anticipated free-and-fair elections which is critical to building trust in the democratic process, promoting stability and national unity. Other issues recommended for public scrutiny include the procurement process, logistics management, and abuse of the electoral process by INEC and security officials.
2. Unending fuel scarcity
Fuel scarcity in Nigeria is a recurrent, avoidable problem that has plagued the country for several years. The main cause of the problem is the country's dependence on imported refined petroleum products, despite being a major oil-producing nation. Nigeria continues to lack the refining capacity to meet its domestic demand for fuel, and the government relies on importation to bridge the supply gap.
On the 3rd of May, the senate approved the conversion of N23.7 trillion Federal Government's unappropriated expenditure taken from the CBN through the controversial Ways and Means window into a 40-year bond. Against this backdrop of an economy that is almost on its knees, the government announced plans to increase federal workers’ salaries by 40% when clearly it cannot afford to do so. Whilst we recognize that fuel subsidy removal has been suspended, the 800 million dollars loan taken by the Federal Government from the World Bank to be distributed to about 50 million poor people across the country as palliative needs to be re-examined. What happens to the remaining Nigerians who will also suffer the impact of the subsidy removal? The removal of the fuel subsidy, as we understand, will eventually bring the cost of PMS to between NGN580 and N750 per litre.
3. Nigeria’s Population & Housing Census Exercise
The success of Nigeria's census, whenever it happens, will depend on the incoming administration’s commitment to ensuring a transparent and credible process with adequate funding, preparation, and public education to foster citizens’ participation. This also includes conducting pilot tests, training census officials, and ensuring the proper enumeration of hard-to-reach communities, particularly communities experiencing one form of insecurity or the other. This must incorporate stringent measures of accessing communities with security challenges and ensure the neutrality and independence of the census process and address concerns about political interference.
Additionally, it is important to be strategic in creating impactful public awareness, sensitization, and campaigns to ensure that Nigerians understand the importance of the census and participate fully in the process. For effective governance, accurate census data is crucial for policy making, planning, and resource allocation. A successful census is critical to Nigeria's development.
4. Naira Re-design Economic Crisis
In the last few months, the redesign of the naira has triggered avoidable economic disruptions and difficulties, especially for women, people with disability, and rural dwellers who do not have the luxury of enjoying banking services. Currently, more transactions are being initiated through transfers, especially at the macro and micro levels. Meanwhile, at the business-to-consumer level, the economy still largely requires a cash-based approach because of the low level of digital literacy and inadequate telecommunication infrastructure, especially in rural communities.
Ahead of the December 31st, 2023, deadline for the validity of the old notes as declared by the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, should focus on not just reducing the naira notes in circulation to control inflation, it must also make the currency difficult to counterfeit.
The currency redesign has also imposed huge costs on the economy, considering that N3.3 trillion new notes would be printed. The logistics of such printing when the country is borrowing to fund her budget deficits also calls for concern.
5. Flood Early Warnings
For 2023, the relevant agencies have continued to issue flood advisories and warnings based on data being collected. The grim prospects projected by the anticipated flooding in 2023 will further drive food insecurity to an all-time high as the destruction of farmlands, crops, livestock, and property would disrupt food availability. Thus, food security is likely to be threatened in the weeks and months ahead, given the fact that fertilizer prices have gone up. This poses a very serious threat to wet season farming. As of the last count, a 50 kg bag of fertilizer is estimated to be selling now for about NGN32,000 and this may worsen the already high food inflation, which now stands at about 24%, much higher than the 21.9% inflationary rate in the country today.
6. Untamed Insecurity
Nigeria over the years has been facing a range of security challenges, including insurgency in the Northeast region, banditry, and kidnapping in other parts of the country as well as communal violence.
The emerging reports now indicate that in the last three months, about 308 persons have been killed through banditry in Kaduna state alone, and 746 persons, including students have been kidnapped in the same Kaduna state within the period of three months. Altogether, in the last 15 months, there have been about 1,266 killings by bandits and 4,973 kidnappings in Kaduna state alone. Though, some of them have been released by the bandits, it is sad that in the twilight of this administration, Nigerians are still being abducted for ransom by criminal elements almost unhindered.
According to the 2022 Global Terrorism Index, Nigeria ranks third in the list of countries most impacted by terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa and the sixth most impacted country in the world. The incoming administration must therefore strive to rid Nigeria of these ugly and reprehensible statistics.
Situation Room advocates independent inquiry into 2023 general elections (blueprint.ng)
2023 population census will be digital, says NPC | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News — Nigeria — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
Explainer: How Naira’s redesign will affect Nigerians - Daily Trust
Actions should be taken early' — NEMA warns of massive flooding in 2023 | TheCable
The Economics of Insecurity: Nigeria’s Rough Patch - Nigeria’s First Credit Rating Company (agusto.com)