jump to navigation

AMERICA: NOVEMBER 8 & THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE November 9, 2016

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, ECONOMICS, MORALITY, POLITICS.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

On November 9, many across the world woke up to a new reality: President-elect Donald Trump. As a Nigerian, I am glad I will not have to say that in any capacity.

Commentaries have since kicked in. Even though it is less than 24 hours, it is interesting to notice that everyone now is an expert on the outcome of the US election: offering similar sentiments and scientific evidence on why Hillary lost. The same election that has dumbfounded historians, media, reputable pollsters, and economists the world over.

It is now clear that projected voters who failed to turn out for Hillary led to her loss; but the impact of this loss (to her and believers around the world in a glass-shattering dream) will linger for a while to come.

Going forward.
Trump’s mandate reflects on populist nationalism accompanied as usual with less specifics: economic growth rhetoric (even if many low pay jobs are done by immigrants), anti-immigration: close borders, build walls; and shockingly, offer sweeping crude and proven failed security tactics to challenges confounding our world.

Trump rhetoric won over a disgruntled, angry and frustrated middle class who blamed job losses to stifling business environment and trade deals that has shortsighted America (job losses to China and Mexico).

This despite America’s economic growth (jobs) which steadied from the recession 8 years ago (Obama has brought about 11 million jobs since the 2008 redefining – a 73 month consecutive job growth).

With platitudes, he intends to restore job growth with little or no specificity, no concrete economic paths out for his “winning big” economically.

He has promised to “replace and repeal Obamacare” and render about 26million people without a competent replacement health policy.

The implications of a Trump presidency reemphasizes the everlasting axiom: all politics are local. Here is an unusual person who went against a system and stood viciously against it; offering sound bites, and playing to the sentiments of an angry demography, indeed populist ideas to the wide majority of angry and frustrated voters.

With Trump, scandals rather energized – than deter – this core angry base especially against an equally untrusted, though more experienced, alternative in Clinton. This is a man who delights and feeds on shocking declarations bordering on the incomprehensible to the unbelievable: from murdering people in New York to groping women.

When America nominated Trump, I expected a win. I did this because I have been involved in elections in my home country Nigeria, and at one point, a performing incumbent was replaced by a man of similar behavior as Trump. Once Ekiti State happened, I knew America could (even if the anthropology differed)

Although there is more to this narrative, the clear verdict so far is that the world is rallying against globalization; from Britain’s outcome to America’s.

However, Trump’s win (even if a judgement of American voters) is still not a win for me. I could never and will never, in good conscience, vote for a man of Trump’s caliber: economically ignorant, intolerant, bombastic, arrogant misogynist, and above all a racist who’s promoted (accentuated) the divisions in America to heights unseen.

I am ashamed that someone with perverse ideas (protectionist, right winged, etc) and ideals (accused rapist, woman grabber, sexual assaulter) just became the president of the free world. America, we hail thee.

Away with 2016 and its woes.

2017 cannot come soon enough.

November 5, 2016

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, ECONOMICS, EDUCATION, POLITICS.
add a comment

GIVE THIS SOCIAL INTERVENTION A BEFITTING FACE!

Aliyu (not his real name) has just settled in Abuja. He is one of Nigeria’s poor, he barely spends $2 a day on feeding. $2 daily post-inflation is N940, that is N28,200 monthly. How can an intervention scheme at N30,000 involving jobs suffice if you add transport fare of N8,000 (N400 daily) to his feeding cost! This besides other personal and family issues (clothing, and health challenges)

When exulting the policies and programs of government, numbers are important. The Federal Government of Nigeria this week announced the provision of 200,000 jobs in which N30,000 will be paid as monthly allowance.

Launched under the Social Investments Programmes (SIP), the program aims to “effectively and efficiently touch the lives of Nigerians especially the poor and unemployed.” This is intended to run for a period of two (2) years. The impact of this on the budget will amount to a sum of N144 billion. This is a massive 28.8% given the whole SIP is N500 billion, one which the President already asked for N180bn intervention.

The impact of economic stimulus injection in the economy in the United States of America is most salient as the November 8 elections draw to a close. The Labour Department of the United States announced an added 161,000 jobs for the month of October, a 73-months of consecutive job gains contrasted with October 2008 where 603,000 people increased the number of unemployed to 10.1million people.

In a country with sparse economic data on jobs provision or real unemployment rates (considering that not all unemployable are captured within the National Bureau of Statistic’s unemployment claims), there is a need to accurately turn the page and offer new narratives on the provision of jobs and especially, the impact of such jobs on the economy. N144 billion is a lot of stimuli if well utilized, especially in an economic downturn. Thus, while the jobs provision scheme is laudable, questions arise:

  • How did the government arrive at or derive the N30,000 for the unemployed and poor since the criteria for programme intervention draws on “effectiveness and efficiency?” What analysis is being provided to reach this monetary conclusion?
  • What is the selection criteria for the poverty alleviation policy program: efficiency and or effectiveness issue, or equity? How exactly will N30,000 effectively and efficiently touch the lives of these beneficiary Nigerians? This is significant especially seeing the inflationary trends (and Aliyu’s case study)
  • Given it has not been expended and seeing we are already in the third quarter of a recession, what led to the delay of this program? How serious is the government and lawmakers about injecting life into the economy?
  • How will the program be sustained? Given N144 billion will have been expended in 2 years, will the recipients be abandoned after 2 years? What happens after the 2 years expiration of the project? Are recipients absolved into jobs program across board? What is the transition into full labour market economy? Or is this another NYSC beautifully rebranded?
  • Who implements these projects? How are middlemen and corrupt practices avoided? What monitoring and evaluation mechanism are employed?
  • What economic impact will these social intervention program bring to the economy: is it taxable or is it pension-viable (doubtful because of its short term)
  • What productivity improvement will it result into? How engaged will they be in impacting the economy? What lifelong skills are they being trained with? How will these skills impact the economy on a long-term basis? How does this fill the void for skills needed within the workforce?

The SIP represents a social transfer scheme, and I believe that this policy will result in an overall positive social impact if well implemented. Given scarce or dwindling resources, economic efficiency is the most important rationale for analyzing social cost benefits. Thus, the efficiency of implementing a policy/program differs greatly from a policy program criteria selection based on efficiency.

As such, a much better argument (by the FG) for effectiveness and efficiency of the poor as criteria selection would mean a reduced number of projected employed (100,000) and improved monthly (N60,000) pay, which helps Aliyu while retaining the N30,000 monthly pay justifies equity as criteria selection! Both still arrive at N6 billion monthly pay.

Again, the Nigerian Government loses the narrative of this “laudable” economic injection by not fully expatiating on the ripple implications of these job provisions given it is an attempt at expansionary fiscal spending. Provision of jobs boosts spending confidence and helps families (social intervention) and equipping of workforce contributes to human capital development.

Other ways the Federal Government would have leveraged on this program implementation to shape national conversation include:

  • Net social benefits: taken the social benefits on the people vis-a-vis cost analysis to the state (especially with numbers and implications on families)
  • Economic impact of this project on the economy: given that these jobs helps to restore confidence in spending and in the markets. (Government spending – especially on productive sectors of the economy – adds confidence to the market and improves aggregate demand)
  • Long-term implications of the intervention: economic growth is the number of people involved in a productive economic activity, and these definitely qualifies for long-term growth if well designed.
  • Equipping a competent workforce, bridging skills and improving the employability of citizens in Nigeria. Low skills remains a crucial challenge for employers of labour in Nigeria, as they have to grapple unemployable people with low value adding skills within the workforce.

Using crunched data, projected economic forecast and overall social impact and channeling the crucial takeaway from the economic program to Nigerians through its communication channels; the government would have effectively managed the narrative of short/middle term social rejuvenation and long-term economic impact of the stimulus.

By failing to expand and stir crucial conversations while expatiating on the benefits of job provision and sustainable plans, the government again loses control over encouraging critical discourse which will embolden and validate its actions as well as an opportunity to allow citizen’s inputs, participation, and engagement in government programs.

Amongst other qualities, this administration came to power as a viable alternative to an ineffective incumbent. So far, it is losing the core strengths of its overwhelming mandate, worsened by a terrible communication gap: a similar ineffectiveness with which predecessors were measured. How these lapses escape this government dumbfounds me!

Oluwaseun Fakuade

@seunfakze

 

%d bloggers like this: