Between A Pro-Business and a Pro-Poverty President; the Choice before Nigerians

The academic gymnastics of separating the two major parties in Nigeria; PDP and APC, along the lines of its economic policies, is not yet due. However, in the build up to the February 2019 presidential election, there is a clear difference. While the APC has taken up socialist inclined initiatives (not policies) like Tradermoni, N-power and Marketmoni, the PDP is planning on capitalist and market friendly policies like low corporate taxes, massive privatization and removal of subsidies. Both have their merits and demerits.

The APC proposed even more pro-poor policies while campaigning in 2015. However, their inability to achieve them, have become the basis on which the PDP is prescribing another medication for the ailing economy. Notable is the fact that as at 2018 ending, the country is already at a job deficit of 20.9 million. This is unfortunate since it seems like the pro-poor policies are likely to alienate businesses which will lead to job losses. When job losses happen, the case is that the poor end up suffering more. Does it now mean that the best way to be pro-poor is to exactly be pro-business? Here are some of the pro-business Atiku policies.

The Atikuplan believes that the best way to solve Nigeria’s many job deficits, is to model the economy after the US economy; a situation where the economy is private sector driven, but government regulated. When government provide goods and services, it becomes an object of political discuss, and not even an object of financial discuss.

Just like Peter Obi said, “Nigeria is paying for inefficiency.” The implication of subsidy is that a business cannot make profit. Instead of fixing the model so it can generate profit and become sustainable, the business owner keeps borrowing more money to sustain a business that will not make profit even in the future. This is why the Atiku plan is all about privatization of these government enterprises so they can become efficient and make more money for job seekers who in turn are taxed by the government. Here, privatization if done well, becomes a win-win for the government and the people. Perhaps Nigerians are concerned about job losses? Let us look at how NITEL gave way to GlOBACOM, MTN, 9Mobile and Airtel.

When privatization happens, non-performing companies give way for stronger and sustainably performing competitor. The implication is that with experience already acquired from non-performers like NITEL, it was easy for Telecoms competitors like MTN, GLO etc. to absorb former NITEL employees into the system. Privatization creates jobs, while absorbing the best people into the system. Often Atiku’s business experience has been compared to Buhari’s lack of it and the stark fall in the economy under the Buhari administration has proven that if we do not choose a better candidate this upcoming election the financial future of our country could be doomed.