DWINDLING revenue sources, fatalistic dependence on oil revenues, huge debt profile, collapsing state economies are part of the concerns of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo as he bemoans the economic crisis facing Nigeria.
His worst fear is that things would worsen if alternative revenue sources are not explored to replace crude oil soon.
In Enugu, Thursday, at the 32nd anniversary celebration and homecoming of the Alumni of the Faculty of Management Sciences of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Nwodo bemoaned the dependence of the Federal Government on borrowing to fund capital projects, while state governors bank on bailouts to pay salaries of workers.
According to Nwodo, who spoke extempore at the event, where distinguished alumni of ESUTH, including the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Tony Ojobo, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Edward Ubosi were honoured, “this calls for serious concerns especially with world countries looking beyond Nigeria’s oil.”
Continued Nwodo: “Current trends indicated that Nigeria was in serious crisis.
“Those who have been following the trend in the last two years will see that the external debts have continued to increase. Presently, only seven states out of the 36 states can pay workers’ salaries from their internally generated revenues, without borrowing; State governments now rely on bailout funds to pay salaries. Is this not a crisis?”
The Ohanaeze chieftain noted that in the face of dwindling revenues, it is worrisome that, “by 2024, some of the machines using oil will no longer be there. Today, USA does not import oil from Nigeria and possibly seven years from now, our oil revenue will fall drastically.
“What this means is that recurrent expenditure of states will fall and certain institutions will no longer carry the amount of load they are carrying at the moment. We must seek alternative means to survive.”
Reminiscing, he recalled that the practice of regionalism introduced competitive spirit among the federating units. The institutions contributed to the growth and enhanced revenue sources. Decades later, those establishments had gone moribund.
Said Nwodo: “When we had the regional government, production was the key. We produced oil, we built Emene Iron and steel company, the first iron and steel company. It is a ghost of itself presently. Same goes for the Nkalagu Cement factory.
“We built the second largest brewery in Nigeria – the Golden Guinea Brewery, it is a ghost of itself today; we built the cotton industry, which exported
cotton to the whole world, it is gone. We built oil mills in every
outlet in Igboland.
Called on institutions like ESUT to head the drive to
rediscover the nation’s economy and invest in homegrown research in the interest of the people, Nwodo noted that
“we built the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, it was the first indigenous university. I remember that my mother used to send me to buy day old chicks at the University. They had green farms and I used to go and buy eggs, lettuce, Cabbage, Carrots.
“But today, they are all gone. Something has gone wrong with our system. Even in our private homes, all of us have made the mistakes. We go to the village and raise a building that we do not occupy for one day. It is huge waste of capital. We are facing a crisis. ”