Insecurity: Nigeria loses billions
By Uche Usim, Molly Kilete (Abuja), Bimbo Oyesola, Merit Ibe and Obinna Odogwu (awka)
In 2022, Nigeria has lost billions of naira due to the growing insecurity plaguing the country, according to officials from the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Manufacturers Association (MAN) and of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mining and Agriculture. (NACCIMA).
Findings by Sunday from Saturday show that the frightening level of insecurity has put the country’s economy in freefall. The effect is such that it is now heading for total collapse if nothing is done urgently to stem the rising tide of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and ritualism that is ravaging the landscape from North to South.
Indeed, insecurity has affected virtually every sector – agriculture, education, transport, mining and manufacturing. Some multinationals, we have learned, are currently considering leaving Nigeria to go to safer African countries. It is alleged that their workers, especially expatriates, are now the target of kidnappers.
In addition, terrorists killed many farmers, ravaged many farms and forced many members of agrarian communities to seek refuge in overcrowded IDP camps. They also planted improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on land earmarked for crops, worsening the food crisis, the newspaper said.
Worrying statistics showing what Nigeria is losing and its continued crippling effect give no cause for celebration. Nigeria’s sovereign debt is now around N41.6 trillion. The productive sector for exports has collapsed. The number of debt repayments continued to eclipse revenue generation. Inflation reached a record high of 19.64%. Investors are now fleeing Nigeria because they believe terrorism and kidnapping have become the only successful business in the country.
The Central Bank report shows that many farmers under the Anchor Borrower Program (ABP) have not been able to repay their loans. As of March 2021, they owed N463 billion. The report showed that 615.4 billion naira had been disbursed to 3,038,899 beneficiaries. But of this amount, only N152.3 billion has been recovered. Sources said the debt has reached over 500 billion naira due to banditry and kidnappings. Overall, the reports of several bodily issues sound frightening. For industrialists and other players in the Organized Private Sector (OPS), the horror is still just as haunting.
The Chief Executive of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Wale-Smatt Oyerinde, described the financial implications of the past eight months as frightening. He said it would be impossible to put a precise figure on the amount of ransom money paid to the kidnappers. He said billions of naira had been paid to criminals over the years. These, he said, were not reported for security reasons.
Insecurity has also affected investments and the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). For example, data from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) in the first quarter of 2022 showed that the country’s investment in the first three months of 2022 was $8.41 billion. This, it is said, is 69% or $2.58 billion lower than it was in the first quarter of 2021. GDP, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) showed that 8 % or $132.59 billion (N50. 38 trillion naira at 380 naira/$1) is affected economically by the growing violence. Oyerinde expressed concern about the pace of deindustrialization in the north of the country, describing it as unprecedented.
The chairman of the Apapa branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Onyebu, added that large tracts of arable land are now fallow. He said: “The mines have closed. Existing investments disappear. Even the Chinese, who are known risk takers, are leaving the country. I would say that the Nigerian economy has lost nothing less than 10 trillion naira over the past five years.
The President of the Nigeria Chambers of Commerce Association (NACCIMA), John Udeagbala, lamented that many manufacturers have retreated due to lack of raw materials to work with, while farmers have stopped going to farms for fear of to be kidnapped or killed. Many traders have also stopped traveling to the hinterland to buy goods for the same reason.
In southeast Nigeria, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) sit-in strike following the imprisonment of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has crippled the economy. Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra State, estimated the loss at N19.6 billion every Monday. This is so because, as he noted, a significant part of the state economy is powered by craftsmen, keke drivers, vulcanizers, hairdressers, cart pushers, petty traders , masons, women who fry akara and all those who depend on daily works and sweats. to feed their families. A senior police officer who asked that his name remain anonymous estimated that the ransom paid so far by the families and relatives of those kidnapped was over 700 million naira.