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Businesses rue loss of trust in Nigerian politicians

President Muhammadu Buhari campaigning in the South East recently

FRI, FEB 01 2019-theG&BJournal-Businesses now believe it will take a generation to restore trust in Nigeria’s politics, which is so badly damaged by the number of political office holders that have been indicted, shamed or tainted by corruption charges.

They say that the biggest economic damage to the country is induced by politicians and this is reflected in the huge amount of monies that have been stolen or lost under their watch since 1999 and the biggest culprits have been state governors, most of who have either been jailed or indicted for stealing their state’s treasury dry and some members of the National Assembly who have misused billions of Naira appropriated for constituency projects.

They equally recalled the huge number of abandoned infrastructure projects budgeted for since 1999 which monies were either out rightly stolen or simply buried in farms and grave yards by politicians.

One expatriate who advises overseas clients on Nigeria told the G&BJournal that Nigerian politics is the biggest irritant to investment in the country.

‘’Their utterances over heat the polity, irritates investors and the capital market and cause many clients to rethink their views about Nigeria,’’ he said. ‘’if you have a scandal in the scale that involved a former oil minister, indictments of former state governors for graft and a judiciary that is allegedly compromised by politics, it makes it harder for me to make a case for my clients,’’ he added.

The challenge for restoring trust is even greater because of concerns over how politics isolates itself from business. This is obvious in election years when most of those seeking political offices speak little to business concerns. Debates around the economy he says, is bereft of substance. And when there is an attempt to address issues around the multiple exchange rates, dwindling business travels or revenue generation there are no clear cut ideas.

What hugs the news is the same old promises around infrastructure development or women and youth empowerment despite failures over the year to support industries that facilitates job creation. Today nothing is heard of the Nigerian textile industry or the leather industry and their supply chain which used to be the source of millions of jobs in the country.

‘’Nigeria’s export years has gone,’’ argues our source. Go to the supermarkets, virtually everything consumed in the country is imported. Even petrol is imported despite Nigeria being one the biggest oil producers in the world.’’

He noted the impact of political activities on growth and employment. ‘’If you have politics that is not speaking to revenue creation, exploitation of competitive advantage, establishment of productive industries or with a long term view about the economy, you will have an economy that makes it difficult for business to improve its productivity,’’ he says.

He is even more scathing about the types of leadership that electorates go for. While critical of the processes that throw up the type of leadership, he believes the electorates will do far greater good to the economy when they begin to seriously consider fresh options outside the dominant political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).

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