As crude oil paralysis rattles Nigeria, the government has gone to review the 2020 budget. After the review, many components will go including some federal jobs, National Assembly constituency projects and capex: “As Nigeria faces a fiscal crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it, the Buhari administration has conducted a review of the 2020 budget, which, if carried out, may be the first step required along governance reforms to cut waste and direct revenues for development”.
“All Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) will be required to cut their capital expenditure and overhead budgets by 25%, even where their budgets have already been approved by the National Assembly,” the memo further stated.
Covid-19 is evil – there is no debate about it. But like I have noted, it would offer opportunities for the U.S. to revamp its healthcare systems and push Europe into a new model of economic prosperity by investing in infrastructure and critical systems. For Nigeria, the only right-of-the-number-line outcome we can get from this demon of disease is reform of our insanely crazy bureaucracy and processes. Of course, if the oil spikes above $50 per barrel, the national masquerades will return from Osogbo, Kano, and Umuahia with recklessness of waste and no directions. But while that happens, the cuts happen because like masquerades, it is all a makeup show which comes and then disappears!
Because of Covid-19, America will revamp its healthcare system, Western Europe will push for new vistas on human welfare and Japan will strengthen how its industries work. Yes, Covid-19 will possibly give the U.S. a ticket to rebuild its infrastructure, as it looks for ways to quickly jump start and re-grow its economy. Indeed, the world will not miss this moment, which even though extremely unfortunate, has come!
Who could have believed that rich men can stay home to use local hospitals? An abomination a few months ago, but we have had governors who were touched and treated by “local” doctors, and they are well! Who could have imagined that all the politicians with fraud related legal problems are suddenly healthy, and none of their lawyers have asked the courts to grant them permissions for medicals in Europe or the U.S.?
People, there is an opportunity here – to rebuild our healthcare, schools, etc, and engineer a restoration in Africa. We must not miss the moment, no matter how the push is coming!
There are already reforms on the fuel subsidy and the IMF has pushed for electricity pricing reform to provide a recent emergency loan. These things are coming as a result of Covid-19.
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