Ugochukwu Agballah, a former Commissioner for Works in Enugu State, on Sunday said for Nigerians to survive the current economic crunch, they should change their lifestyles, cut expenses and imbibe a culture of saving.
Agballah, who was governorship aspirant in 2003 and 2007, stated this in a lecture at Destiny Life Redemption Centre, Enugu.
Delivering the lecture entitled, ‘How to Prosper in a Recession’, Agballah also charged Nigerians to work harder, secure their finances, imbibe saving culture, and improve skills or knowledge.
Agballah who was recently elected President of Igbo Improvement Union (IIU) gave kudos to the Federal Government for its policy against Naira devaluation, in order not to add to the burden of Nigerians under the prevailing harsh economic situation.
The former commissioner, however, noted that he has not seen any concrete economic agenda set by the Buhari administration to address the recession.
“Make no mistake about it, recession is here. While nobody can predict how long or severe it will be, it may be the worst economic disaster that we may experience and it is possible that the effects could also be mitigated.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) defines a global recession as a decline in GDP backed by a decline in one or more of the seven other global economic indicators; namely industrial production, trade capital flows, general consumption, unemployment rate, per capital investment and per capital consumption. Since World War II, there has been four global recessions in 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2009. However, they all lasted for only one year.
“We have had recessions in Nigeria in 1982/83 which led to military coup because the then civilian government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari introduced austerity measures. And from 1983 to 1999, we had a recession. And now, after 16 years, we are now facing another circle of recession,” he said.
Agballah regretted that today, Nigerian workers are owed several months of salaries, totaling N60 billion and the so-called or rather highly disruptive bailout was secured by the Federal Government which agreed to release N1.6 billion dollars paid by NLNG as capital tax and N300 billion loans from CBN to the states to ameliorate the crisis.
“Kindly note that this is an interim measure; It does not solve the problem. After paying these salaries, where will the next help come from? I ask you, what will happen in the next few months except oil prices start rising to at least $90 to a barrel?” Agballah asked.
On the solution to the recession, he said Nigerians must have a mindset that the recession is here and look out for opportunities, while they should invest in businesses based on the needs.