• Says economic data is spurious
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the data released by the federal government on the rebasing of the Nigerian economy as an orchestrated distraction and a mindless public relations gimmick, which the “masterminds said has seen the country emerge as the largest economy in Africa”.
In a statement issued Thursday by its interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said coming after the damning World Bank report which declared Nigeria as one of the countries harbouring the largest population of extremely poor people in the world, there is no doubt that the rebasing noise is the government's response to the classification by the Bretton Woods' institution.
“However, the federal government has only succeeded in opening itself to ridicule. This is because if ever there was a clear play at oxymoron, this is it: The largest economy with the largest population of the poor, the largest economy with the largest population of the unemployed, the largest economy with the largest population of citizens living in darkness, and the largest economy with the worst infrastructure.
“Simply put, there is too much poverty in the midst of plenty, and the so-called economic growth which the federal government has been trumpeting with its dubious statistics is not a result of any deliberate government policies.
“Policies of government are expected to result in reduction in unemployment, increase in capacity utilisation by manufacturers, increased access to basic needs of life (food, water, electricity, health care, education, healthy environment, etc), increase in transparency and accountability, etc. On the contrary, the country continues to slip down the ladder on all of these fronts,” it said.
APC said the federal government carried its joke too far by even giving the impression that the so-called emergence of the Nigerian economy as the largest in Africa was a function of the economic policies under President Goodluck Jonathan, rather than a rejigging of figures calibrated to fool an unsuspecting public.
The party said fortunately, no one had been fooled by the government, even though it had succeeded, at least temporarily, in diverting attention from the pervasive and worsening insecurity in the land.
According to the party, “The move was also to cover up the hopeless power situation that has seen Nigerians publicly protesting being thrown into perpetual darkness, the ticking time bomb of rising unemployment, especially among our youth, the unprecedented massive frittering away and looting of the commonwealth and the total absence of governance.
“The reactions of the economic experts and the business community within Nigeria as well as at the World Bank level to the rebasing hubbub have taken the wind out of the government’s sail and dampened its undue ecstasy over what is nothing but window dressing.
“For example, the business community has noted that while Nigeria, with the rebased GDP, is now ranked number 26th in the world with regard to the size of the economy in 2013, it is ranked 147th in its ease of Doing Business report of the World Bank, out of the 189 countries profiled. Even Sierra Leone and Liberia had better ranking.
“In the same vein, our ranking in the UNDP Human Development Index is 153, out of 210 countries. There is no better illustration of the disconnect between growth and development; between growth and quality of investment climate.
“Also, the World Bank, in a subtle but clear thumbs down, made it clear that the living standards of the citizenry and the productivity that generates those living standards are the key issues here, and that investors in London, New York, Beijing or Tokyo are not necessarily looking at the GDP statistics but how profitable their investments will be in a country.
“Therefore, President Jonathan and his shadow-chasing economic team should therefore quit wallowing in unnecessary chest-beating over the rejigging of figures and the play on statistics and put their shoulders to the wheel to push our nation forward. If they cannot, they should get out of the way and allow those who are capable to do so. Enough of this choreographed distraction.”