FDC lists impacts of #EndSARS protest on financial inflows

IN the aftermath of  #EndSARS protests that rocked almost every city in Nigeria, a team of experts led by Mr Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited have revealed that investors will be very cautious about putting money into the country, and will likely put a hold on their decisions to invest, thereby limiting foreign exchange (forex) inflows.

In a detailed note to clients made available to Nigerian Tribune, the FDC think tank stated that foreign portfolio and direct investments would continue their declining trend.

Economists estimate losses from the protests at about N1.5 trillion as shopping malls, stores, banks were robbed and destroyed, including BRT buses and terminals.

According to the firm, capital importation into Lagos and Abuja could also decline, as the states are the hotspot for the protests and killings, even as economic costs of the looting  will deepen the economic downturn and delay economic recovery.

“Domestic commodities prices will likely remain high as the supply chain challenges persist. Business operations would be tough and unemployment levels are likely to spike. This is because individuals working in the burnt down shops, banks and malls have lost their jobs and sources of their income.

“Cost of living would increase, and in turn, lower aggregate demand and consumption levels. State governments are now saddled with the responsibility of rebuilding and supporting individuals who lost their businesses to the looting. This could mean that funds set aside for other government obligations will now be diverted to this course,” the FDC experts observed.

The organic growth of the protests seems to have left a lasting impact on the minds of young Nigerians and looks to have given them respite for a better country. The youths it stated, now know the power that they have and the 2023 elections might be very different for the ruling parties.

However, the government, particularly in Lagos, which has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, may reduce health expenditure to begin the rebuilding process. Furthermore, these events and the outcomes put the country in a very sensitive position in the eyes of international organizations like the United Nations, World Bank and the IMF.

The Nigerian youths account for over 50 per cent of the population (over 200 million). They took to the streets for two weeks from October 6, clamoring for an end to the Nigerian Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS). There have been several claims of the special force brutalizing, extorting and killing young Nigerians just for owning iPhones, having dreadlocks or simply looking good. In four years, #EndSARS has trended on Twitter several times leading to the disbandment of the squad four times since 2016. However, they keep coming back and each year the situation gets worse with no serious consequences for alleged killings and extortions.

The peaceful protests which quickly spread across states in the country including Lagos, Abuja, Jos and Enugu gained international recognition. Nigerian diaspora communities in the US, Europe and Canada supported and joined the protests.

In addition, global icons like Hillary Clinton, Beyonce and Lewis Hamilton lent their voices. The IGP disbanded the squad and formed a new agency called Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). But the protests continued and youths maintained their demands.

However, it quickly turned bloody on October 20, 2020 at the Lekki toll gate where the youth’s protesters were massacred. The lights and cameras were turned off, it was dark, they were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem before live bullets were sprayed in their midst. While some say it was a ploy by government officials to silence the protesters, others are completely numb to the event and are looking for means to migrate out of the country. With the track record of the Nigerian government in terms of accountability and corruption, most Nigerians are living on the hope for a better country.

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