Nigeria’s recession may last till 2020 if… —Agbakoba

•Says country not broke

FORMER president, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olisa Agbakoba, has said recovery from current economic problem is possible by second quarter of 2017 with vigorous implementation of a new economic model, adding that otherwise, recession cycle might last till end of 2020.

This was as he countered that the country is rich and that President Muhammadu Buhari needed to bring on board people with expertise who know how to create money through application of necessary fiscal policy.

“Recovery path is possible by Q2 2017 with vigorous implementation of a new economic model, otherwise recession cycle may extend up to Q4 2020,” he said

Agbakoba said this on Tuesday, at an interactive session with journalists in his Lagos residence, even as he lamented that the Federal Government was totally disconnected from the rest of Nigerians, as it appeared not to feel the pains the masses were going through under the ongoing economic crunch.

“But we have to have the confidence that those who are making us go through pains are also going through pain. It’s got to be reciprocal. But if we are going through pains, I don’t know why they smile at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings. I don’t know why they smile, it is a wrong impression.

“We are looking at them on TVs, in the papers, they need to get real, they need to come down to earth and feel the pains that we are feeling, because it is only we are feeling the pains.

“If they feel the pain like most of us are feeling it, they would get real. But a lot of them don’t know what the pain the masses are going through because they are served free food,” Agbakoba lamented.

According to Agbakoba, who is also former chairman, Campaign for Democracy (CD), the problem the government was having now was borne out of the fact that they were looking at the mere liquid cash available to the country, whereas “Nigeria is blessed with a lot of natural resources buried beneath the surface of the earth.

“So do you know the amount of bitumen lying under Ondo? Do you know we are standing on money, but the money we have is not in liquid? That is the problem, they are thinking of liquid cash,” he said.

According to the former NBA boss, “fundibility and securitisation” is about selling upfront the country’s assets to get money to do whatever what intended to do, expressing confidence that China, being one of the largest consumers of crude, would be ready to buy the product upfront from Nigeria.

“The Chinese are gulping crude oil like mad. You can say to them, give me $50 billion and I will sell oil to you, that makes it. Do you know the amount of experts we have in this country. We are under-utilising this country, the country is a giant,” he added.

Speaking on the cost of governance which the Buhari-led government promised to reduce, Agbakoba said such promise was yet to be fulfilled.