RESTRUCTURING: Minus Oil
The base of my premise is not new. Oil revenues is warehoused in Norway which discovered oil in the North Sea in the 1960s and decided to provide for future generations of Norwegians. The oil fund or sovereign wealth fund is invested in stocks, bonds and real estate locally and globally. Today the funds has topped a world breaking $1 trillion. That means some $200,000 for each of the country's five million citizens.
What do we here in Nigeria? We share practically all oil funds and it is stolen and recycled to foreign banks, leaving a humongous hole in social and economic development.
Another consequence of this stupid constitutional requirement of sharing all is that it is easy money that attracts the henchmen of the fringe of society: brutal criminals, political cutthroats, often empty of ideas and vision into corridors of power. The more revenues are shared to them, the more these lazy hay heads with military power, guns and thugs steal and get more powerful at the detriment of the country. They operate by force and have absolute disregard for values. They impoverish the country and corrupt the value system. They always talk about oil ownership or sharing, nothing else. Their life focus is oil. It is reason why a president will opt also to be oil minister. They think and breathe oil revenues. Epic political battles and religious and tribal battles are about the easy unearned rent from oil so that the other great resources of the country are neglected and unexploited from brains to fertile soil.
So what to do? Seven things.
First: dump the federation account and its monthly allocation. It is a horrible legal cesspool of corruption. It feeds corruption and laziness.
Second: warehouse all oil funds maybe save derivation funds for the ecologically devastated Niger Delta and invest same like Norway.
Three: This fund which will grow over time must only be accessed by all levels of government, federal, state and local and the private sector as repayable long term loans for viable projects.
Four: The funds will boost liquidity, firm up Naira exchange rate, boost foreign investors confidence in the country, provide as said before, long term funds unlike the hot money banks deal with today, provide for future generations of Nigerians and drastically cut corruption particularly the odious security votes.
Five: The heads of the federation, states and local governments and rogue contractors will then be forced to think, to use other resources to survive, flourish or die. Those without capacity to think, to produce, to have vision cannot then aspire to high office. The rogues and criminals will die out naturally. I have been asked if the current high number of unviable states will not die? I say they are dead already with workers unpaid, productivity zero, revenues stolen and developments in subzero. But it is not the states that will die, it is their empty headed, lazy and greedy governors that will die out of office. And men who can think funds sourcing, investments, productivity, jobs and effective tax revenues will take over.
Six: This therefore should be the foundation for restructuring. Every state or region or zone as the case may be, should be largely independent, generate its resources and keep it, save for 20 or 25% contribution to the federal to maintain the army and other limited federal responsibilities. Each federating unit should prosper or die according to the capacity of the leaders they elect. The current unitary system and structure masquerading as true federalism must be dumped into the rubbish bin of history. It is killing us.
Seven: For those in the Niger Delta who equate restructuring to owning all oil revenues, as some of its dubious rogue leaders are canvassing, I say boo. It won't work for the Nigeria state has invested and oil exploitation will continue to require sovereign support. So oil will remain a national asset. Yes, the Niger Delta has right to even higher derivation funds but it ought be targeted at dealing with its ecological disaster. Save this, all oil revenues must be warehoused and invested. The Niger Delta has huge resources from fertile lands, waters, forests and superb human brains to be prosperous without oil. So too all other states and zones of Nigeria. We are a rich country.
The current freewheeling and free looting and crass laziness in a system and structure that has produced 100 million citizens under poverty line, zero growth in power, health, jobs, industry, agriculture, education, ideas, vision and development in five decades must be discarded. Enough is enough.