Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unrealistic expectations

Yesterday we talked about how puny our national budget really is. A few of the responses that were received sad that GDP would be a better measurement of how well we are doing as a country, and they are probably right. Problem is, even our GDP is not exactly a glorious figure. You see, based on the 2011 figures of that particular measurement, then there are 11 corporations on the planet that are more valuable than Nigeria. This gloomy outlook becomes even worse when you divide US$244,050,000,000 by 170,000,000. But all that is besides the point. The point is how to raise the NGN618.29 each Nigerian earns per day* to a more sustainable figure, because truth be told, my lunch in a few hours will cost more than that.

Our government apparently has a lot of ideas on how to raise this figure, and has set targets for raising it. The question that follows that then becomes how realistic are those figures? Frankly, in my opinion, not very. And apparently, Senegal’s former Finance Minister, Makhtar Diop, who doubles up as a World Bank blazer, told the Prez that yesterday. Let us ask this question, will an 8% growth rate in a country that generates less electrical power than New York City, and has fewer rail-roads than North Korea, have the ability to lift 21.4% of its population out of poverty within the next two years?

But the FG is not the only one with unrealistic goals, Lagos is making an effort at proving that the national palm-wine is not restricted to the PDP. Yesterday, three Lagos filas sat together and informed us that the state government was in the process of concluding plans to take 5 million people away from the city's rather great traffic, and into the city's not-so-great court system. "In the last three years, 300,000 tax defaulters have been caught by LASTMA," hurrahed Ade Ipeye, the Justice fila, evoking strong memories of when LASTMA towed my car and I spent the next three days tracking down my tax clearance. I've been a good driver since then.

However, let us take a cursory look at the LASG's curious assertion. According to yesterday's briefing, there are 8 million souls in Lagos. According to yesterday's briefing, there are only 3 million tax payers in Lagos. Therefore, according to yesterday's briefing, all the other 5 millions must be tax defaulters. When the arrests begin and your kids don't come home from school, go and look for them in the nearest police station. They will be under arrest for not paying tax.

Sadly, in the police stations, such kids might just get corrupted, that is if you aren't doing a good enough job already. As things stand, a lot of schools, probably based on the prompting of eager parents, do a lot to encourage the phenomenon of examination malpractice. No be me talk am o, na Comfort Agwu, one of the big women in WAEC. "Some teachers go as far as writing the answers on the board for candidates in the examination hall while some photocopy answers for them," she moaned while some parents made enquiries as to what special centres would guarantee their kids' success in the next NECO by hook or by crook.

The problem with the whole concept of teaching kids bad things early, is that such habits tend to stay with the kids. Something that Senator Uche Chukwumerije uncovered yesterday when he established the fact that our nation's MDAs take bribes from prospective employees. A revelation that suddenly puts into sharp doubt, the figures that those MDAs submitted to the government about our GDP in the first place...

Bits and bobs

Someone wants to resolve the quarrel between the National Assembly and that fine girl. We probably have to check if all those camels have sashayed through the eyes of all those needles.

Nigeria's most famous pilot will be returning soon according to the Leadership. Boeing have been put on alert as to where to send the next Dreamliner to.

Our number one farmer says that fertilisers are the biggest scam in Nigeria. I guess he has been on another planet since the oil boom began.

In yet another case of stunning unrealism, former Papa Eagles headless chicken, Tj Babangida has pronounced Obi Wan Kenobi as Nigeria's playmaker for the forthcoming defeats to Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia. Expect a lot of sideways and backwards passes from inside our opponents' box eighteens.

*I did not arrive at this figure by magic. Our 2011 GDP is quoted as US$244billion. Divide that by 170 million to arrive at a per capita GDP of US$1435.59. Then divide that per capita by 365 days in a year to arrive at US$3.93, which is what we can then assume that the average Nigerian makes a day. Multiply that by 157.20 (this morning's exchange rate) to arrive at N618.29 as our average daily earning

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