Nigeria

Print More Naira Notes To Save Economy – Tinubu Tells FG

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has called on the Federal Government to print more naira notes so as to help save the dwindling economy.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu's message to Nigerians on his birthday

The National Leader who turned 68 on March 29 lamented that the price of oil has fallen which would lead to dollar shortfall.

Already, the price of oil has fallen to less than 30 dollars a barrel. This will bring a dollar shortfall. This does not, however, necessitate a corresponding shortfall in public sector naira expenditures.

“The US controls dollar issuance. We control naira issuance as is our sovereign right. Just as America has used its sovereign right to issue its currency to stave economic disaster, so too may Nigeria issue naira for the same purpose.”

He said: Today is my birthday. I thank God for giving me the life and time on earth he has provided me. He has blessed me beyond the ability of words to describe; I am more than cognizant of His great mercies toward me.

I have much to be thankful for. However, this is not the moment for exuberant celebration or light talk on my part.

At this moment, it is better that we confer in prudence and wisdom, one to another, so that we can better deal with that which seems eager to severely deal with us.

We have entered a sobering period. We face a challenge we cannot see but one that can find us all too easily. As individuals, this puts every one of us at a startling disadvantage.

Each is rendered vulnerable by the reckless act of his neighbour. Each is made safer by the enlightened conduct of a stranger. The very nature of this assailant calls us toward greater unity and kindness.

In the normal push of our daily affairs, we tend to focus on what divides us. We are either APC, PDP or another political affiliation. One person is rich. Another is poor.

There is the labourer then there is the boss. One person is of the north, another of the south, with both often acting as if the boundary between the two cannot be traversed. We are of different ethnic groups; these identities mean so much to us that we behave as if the affiliations are the very source of our humanity.

In this, we tend to forget God. Even when we worship God, we divide ourselves in ways that too often bring violence to a way of life meant to bring peace and compassion.

But, the coronavirus is now here. If we carry forth in our usual ways, we may well carry ourselves into national disaster. Normal practices will not suffice.

We all must do better lest we all fail and suffer the grave consequences of collective failure. We pray that this terrible cloud will pass from us. However, we must prepare for the possibility that it may linger to rain hard upon us.

For the past 11 years, a colloquium was held on my birthday. Each year, the colloquium gathered some of our best minds in both the public and private sectors.

They would dissect and explore the weighty issues of the day in order to find solutions to the social, political and economic difficulties that confront our nation.

However, the threat of the coronavirus obligated colloquium organizers to postpone the event; we did not want a large number of people gathered in a relatively compact physical space. This was a decision well taken.

It has been a custom at the colloquium that I offer a few comments pertaining to the issue at hand.

In the spirit of the colloquium, I offer these remarks today. In that coronavirus put a brake on the colloquium, I thought it proper to return the favour. I therefore tender these humble comments in hope they contribute to halting the spread and ill consequences of this dreadful sickness.

The foremost imperative is that we recognize that corona is here. We must cast aside the myths that we have comforted ourselves with these past weeks. We told ourselves this was not a black man’s disease.

We took false comfort in this self-deception. Well, black people have contracted the ailment; black people have also died from it. We hoped that our hot climate would bake and destroy the virus.

That wish now appears too optimistic. We even said our history in dealing with malaria and other tropical diseases granted us some type of immunity.

Well, I doubt that immunity exists as there is no scientific evidence supporting this claim. If such an immunity exists, it is at most incomplete and so unreliable as to be of no avail to large segments of our population.

The rich cannot bargain with the disease or pay it off. It neither reads bank account statements nor is it intimidated by them.

The poor, likewise, are subject to it for it has no mercy nor cares about one’s prior or present hardships. Neither does it seem to study geography. Northerner and Southerner are equally its prey.

It will attack those who pray at the altar in church as well as those who face the Qiblah when praying in the mosque. To corona, we are all the same.

Thus, to fight corona, we must treat each other the same, as brothers and sisters in one national family under one Heaven. For we are of one blood; this crisis is a stark warning that we must begin to act in consonance with that common humanity.

It is true that we and other African countries are among the nations thus far least affected. However, we must not think this means geography and climate have erected a protective shield on our behalf. At best, these things constitute a partial barrier that may have slowed but will not prevent the growing threat.

China and other Asian nations took drastic, wholesale action to thwart the viral spread. North America and Europe initially took small steps against the virus. Those did not work. Now they are fast implementing lockdowns of whole cities and closures of key segments of their economies.

We must be prepared to do the same, though it is alien to our communal culture and way of life. Let us be frank. The public health care systems of developed nations have been overwhelmed by this virus.

They are running out of equipment and healthy doctors. Our public health care system is much smaller and less equipped than those in Europe and North America. We cannot afford to put undue pressure on our system because it cannot bear the great weight of a pandemic.

Thus, it is incumbent on us to thoroughly implement and obey social safety and distancing techniques so that we halt the spread of the disease and keep hospitalization to the barest possible minimum.

Second, limit your social contacts. Unless for necessary matters, one should not venture out. To purchase food is essential. To redo one’s hair or go to a bar for a drink are not.

Places like banks offer needed services such as cash withdrawals. But they should limit the number of customers in the bank at any given time. Supermarkets and grocers should do the same.

We should continue to postpone sporting events, weddings, and other large gatherings. Funerals, if they must take place, should be attended only by small numbers of family members.

While we put aside the large events for now, we must do better looking after our fellow man. Please check on a neighbour. Make sure the elderly near you are well and have food and water.

Use this moment to teach your children about compassion and the traditional values of care and concern that often get diluted in our rush toward modernity and growth.

Not only is the coronavirus a health and medical problem, it will bring heavy economic costs. China and the West face severe economic contractions. Cities are shuttered. Multiple industries have closed.

Millions have suddenly been rendered jobless. Supply chains have busted. Economic activity is a fraction of what it was just a month ago. Deep recessions are forecasted.

Some experts fear depression now tracks the world down. Governments worldwide are responding by embarking on unprecedented stimulus packages to keep their economies afloat.

The Chinese are pumping untold trillions into their financial markets and productive economy. The most austere large nation, Germany, casts aside its constitutional prohibition on deficit spending to enact a historic, unprecedented fiscal stimulus package.

The free-market Tory government of Boris Johnson has abjured his conservative upbringing if but for this harsh moment. His government is launching a fiscal stimulus unseen in the UK for decades.

Adelowo Adegboyega
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