140th Inaugural: Why Nigeria Relapsed Into Economic Recession

Why the Nigerian economy was plunged into biting recession and how to get the nation back on its feet formed the main thrust of the 140th Inaugural Lecture delivered by Professor Barisua Nwinee of the Department of Finance and Banking in the Faculty of Management Sciences. 
The over-subscribed lecture held at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Guests filled the lecture venue to the rafter quite ahead of time, while the lecture booklet sold out to the delight of the Academic Office. 
Speaking on the topic: “Economic Recession in Nigeria: Esau's Syndrome and Irrational Legislative Exuberance,” Professor Nwinee, who is Dean of the Faculty declared: “To solve Nigeria's economic recession starts with repealing those laws, going cashless with foreign exchange, and closing all domiciliary accounts in the country.” 
Professor Nwinee who held his audience spell-bound, stressed the need for the Central Bank to wake up to its regulatory responsibilities by using naira accounts in all international transactions so that Nigerians would have no need for domiciliary accounts that distort the country's economic indicators.    
The Inaugural Lecturer noted that “the current problems of the country have accumulated over a long period and recession offered policy makers an opportunity to reflect and act on solving Nigeria's economic problems. Oil is not a factor holding the country back; our economy is suffering from certain underlying weakness that the current low-oil price environment has only exacerbated.” 
Describing syndrome as a group of symptoms characteristic of a specific problem, Professor Nwinee said: “As a country, we adopted the Esau Syndrome, because we want instant gratification in everything we desire to have. We just have to have it, and we lose our perspective. The Esau Syndrome is the syndrome of now. Whatever we want, we want it now. 
“Many of Esau's decisions were based on his impulsive desire for whatever looked good to him at the time. In Nigeria today, Esau's attitude is very common. The citizenry is crying out to the leaders to give it what it wants and it wants it now,” he explained. Professor Nwinee listed wrong priorities in conduct, values and religion as some of the ways in which Nigerians were responsible for the current economic recession.
 “In finance, the term “irrational exuberance” is used to refer to a situation in which investors are very confident that the price of a financial asset will continue to go up and they lose sight of the fundamental underlying value,” the Inaugural Lecturer explained. He decried the plethora of wrong policies that have militated against the growth of the national economy for so long. 
“Everybody talks about economic diversification for Nigeria, but as a country, we have failed to link our sectoral policies like education to agriculture, health and the industry. The coherence of plans will, for instance, ensure that our corn and tubers provide the pharmaceutical and textile grade starch to propel local drug manufacturing and value addition in the textile industry,” he pointed out, calling for the development of a fiscal framework for the promotion of diversification of the economy to benefit the citizens. 
The Professor of Finance and Banking emphasised the need for citizens to be fully involved in a wide range of policy-making activities, including the determination of levels of service, budget priorities and acceptability of physical construction projects in order to tailor government programmes towards community needs and ownership. 
He also recommended an aggressively renewed and sustained effort to develop the country's natural endowments in the agriculture and mining sectors to deepen their diversification through value addition. The Inaugural Lecturer also advocated the establishment of modular refineries in the coastal states of the Niger Delta where bunkering was currently on-going with dire implications for the environment.
Professor Nwinee recommended strong legislation to compel successive governments to continue and complete programmes and projects initiated by their predecessors, including a change in the nation's electoral laws, campaign contributions and reduction of the cost of running political parties and governance, amongst others to free scarce resources for national development.  
In her closing remarks, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, who spoke on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, expressed delight that the Inaugural Lecturer did justice to the topic to the best of his ability.
 “I am happy that Professor Nwinee explained to us why and how we got into deep recession and how we can come out of it. I am also happy that he gave us a true picture of the economic situation in Nigeria today. Crucially too, he gave us hope of recovering from the present economic challenges facing the country,” she enthused.


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