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Tough Economic Decisions Await Nigerians, Next President In 2023 – Sanusi

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said Nigerians and the President to be elected in 2023 will have to make tough economic decisions to reset the country.

He made the comment on Saturday while delivering a keynote speech at the seventh edition of KadInvest, an annual event organised by the Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency.

The former Emir of Kano said electricity tariffs and fuel prices will have to be reviewed at great cost to the ordinary citizens.

He however noted that the government must first display a great sense of accountability before such decisions are made.

Sanusi said subsidy payments must be probed to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for.

He bemoaned the nation’s revenue to debt service ratio and urged leaders to address the economic issues or risk an eternal curse from the younger generation.

What Sanusi said
“We have not even started retracing our steps, closing this gap in exchange rates, closing the gap in these inflated subsidies, reducing the subsidy payments. While we are spending 108 percent of our revenues on debt service. Countries cry when they are spending 30 percent of their revenues on debt service. We are spending a 100 percent, we are all laughing. We are having parties. “If we don’t fix this, we are going to have our children curse us till eternity.

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“So what do we do?

“First, it is to recognise that NNPC is not a cash cow. It’s a money pit. Just unbundle it, disband it, and continue to implement the PIB properly. And when I say implement, it is not just to set up companies and leave the same people and processes and systems but with a different name. It means properly implement that act, and let them pay royalties and taxes.

“We can see our challenges on the fiscal and monetary sides, and the decisions that are going to be taken to correct them are going to be very painful decisions.

“So let me request that our politicians prepare the mind of Nigerians for difficult decisions. Anybody who tells you that it is going to be easy, please don’t vote for him, because it is either he is lying to you or he does not know what job he is going to get.

“You cannot, with this level of debt service, this level of collapse in revenues, this level of poverty . . . you have to take corrective decisions. Tarrifs in the electricity sector have to be corrected, tariffs in the oil sector have to be corrected.

“But before we correct that, we have to deal with the opportunities for rent seeking. We have to close up the inflated numbers, the false numbers. And I hope that whoever becomes President in 2023, the first thing they should do is ask NNPC to document and bring evidence for every dollar they took as subsidy; they must give the ships that came; and we can verify from Insurance companies if those ships were in Nigeria on that date. You must bring evidence, because that’s what the law says – there must be proof that you brought it in – at the price you said you brought it in.

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“Because until you bring credibility and transparency to the management of public finance, no government has the moral right to impose hardship on Nigerians; they’ve suffered enough. But if we deal with the rent seeking, if we close the gaps, then we can ask Nigerians to make the sacrifice, and they have to make the sacrifice. We have made sacrifices but we have to make a sacrifice to reset this country.”

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