Talking Grammar in the face of economic recession

Whenever someone says something that gets a people somewhat confused, the common man out there simply says he is talking grammar. That appears more like what the two major political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are doing in the face of the griming economic outlook painted by the report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last week.

It looks amazing how the two main parties, which should be at the forefront of the search for solutions at this time, have chosen to dance naked in the market square, even in the face of fire outbreak.

Last week, the NBS released figures which confirmed Nigeria had slipped into recession fully. In Q2, the country was romancing the danger and the Minister of Finance; Mrs. Kemi Adeosun described it as “technical recession,” declaring that a favourable economic outlook would be in place from September. But Q3 was bad, very bad. The troubles are hitting the ceiling fan. At least fourteen airlines have left Nigeria for neighbouring countries, Ghana being a major beneficiary. But the report that Aero Airlines, First Nation Airways and Innoson Motors are suspending operations brought home the dangerous picture. Economy has hit the all-time low. The worst in some 30 years.

A number of reasons are being adduced for the emerging scenario including the ludicrous idea of blaming the looting of the nation’s commonwealth in the past but I admire the submission of industrialist, Sam Ohunabuwa in a television programme last week, when he said you can blame anything and anyone for your situation but the critical thing is to produce results. He is an actor in the business world and he does know that excuses do not boil an egg.

Rather than follow the practical steps being taken by organizations like the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Organised Private Sector (OPS), which are daily proffering solutions and options that could see the nation out of the woods, our political actors are speaking grammar in the face of a devastating inferno.

The PDP kicked off the grammatical excursion last week when it asked the President to resign his position for plunging the economy into recession. You may excuse a political party in the opposition for saying whatever it likes of the government in power but you cannot excuse any recourse to criticism without charting a way forward. That the statement by the PDP did not contain any possible options out of the woods is hurtful to the decaying scenario.

The party’s Director of New Media, Deji Adeyanju in a statement in Abuja said: “Nothing better showcases the absolute ineptitude and incompetence of the Muhammadu Buhari administration than the GDP, inflation and unemployment figures released by Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.

“These figures reveal what we have repeatedly said over the last 15 months – the Nigerian president is destroying the Nigeria economy.

“For the avoidance of doubt, some of these figures include GDP contracted by -2.06% in Q2 2016. In contrast, the economy grew by 2.35% in Q2 2015. Q2 was worse than the -0.36% shrinking of the economy in Q1 2016; headline Inflation for July 2016 stands at 17.1%. It was from 16.5% in June 2016; food inflation was 15.58% for July 2016 from 15.3% in June 2016; portfolio investment declined to an estimated $245.3m in Q2 2016. This represents a 9.5% from $271.0m in Q1 2016 is a far cry from $2.81 bn in Q2 2015 and FDI declined from $211.1m in Q2 2015 and $174.4m in Q1 2016 to an estimated $133.0m in Q2 2016.”

He further declared that “Nigeria is in its worst economic state in 29 years – dating back to 1987 when the nation had to take harsh steps to recover from President Buhari’s policies of 1984-85.

“As with 1984-85, companies are fleeing our shores in droves. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) recently stated that 272 companies have shut down in the past one year.”

The APC, in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Hon. Mai Mala Buni expanded the adversarial mode when it accused the PDP of plunging the nation into the current mess.

Rather than sympathize with Nigerians who are at the receiving end of the troubling economic situation, the APC scribe came around to excuse the ruling party from the woes. He also did not tell Nigerians any new thing that could elicit hope. If all the stories the Secretary wanted to tell are already out there, why issue a statement at all?

After restating that the APC led government was “solidly committed to resuscitating the economy in the quickest possible time and in the best interest of the people,” the party’s scribe said: “For the umpteenth time, the PDP lacks the moral basis and credibility to comment or condemn the government on the economy after the mess it left behind. Instead, the PDP must apologize to Nigerians.

“The warning signs were glaring to the immediate-past administration but it chose the path of economic sabotage by looking the other way and squandering the country’s commonwealth – a reckless decision that has brought the country to its knees.”

He went on to narrate the often repeated story of Treasury Single Account (TSA), the frequent foreign trips and the 2016 budget  which he said is targeted at diversifying the economy. By failing to give a fresh perspective, but merely repeating the nearly two year old refrains, the APC did its government no good.

Like Ohuanbuwa submitted during his television appearance, results are all that matter now, talking grammar won’t get us anywhere.