Nigeria At 60; The Biggest Money Mistakes and The Greatest Lessons to Learn

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The Nigeria of my dream at 60: It is up to us, now — Opinion — The Guardian  Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Nigeria is rich 

Nigeria is rich. That is, potentially rich. She is rich in natural and human resources. 

Natural resources include Petroleum, Natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, gold, zinc, the large expanse of fertile land for agriculture, and more.

Human resources; as of 2010, 53.2% of Nigeria’s population was between ages 15-65 while 44.0% was between the ages of 0-15. We can safely conclude that Nigeria is booming with youthfulness thus have adequate manpower.

So my assertion that “Nigeria is Rich”, is potentially true.

Nigeria of Then, Nigeria at Independence, Nigeria of Now 

There was a time when the young ones could follow their fathers to farm without the fear of a trailer accident or a truck explosion. Young girls could enjoy their maidenhood, walking barefooted in their villages. In came civilization, the White man’s disguised weapon of discomfort, and Nigeria took a total turn. During colonial rule, Nigerians fought tirelessly for their independence. Youths clamoured for their rights. Heroes laboured for our freedom.

Independence came.

At independence, many Nigerians looked forward to a future of a GREAT, PROSPEROUS, and FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT Nigeria. With much gladness and encouragement, the generation of then saw the hope of a MORE BLISSFUL WORLD ahead of them.

60 years after independence, Nigeria became the country with the highest poverty rating. Nigeria became FINANCIALLY DEPENDENT on other countries. Nigeria is still named as a “third world country”, an “underdeveloped nation”. Nigeria, the once-wealthy giant, became super-broke and super-poor!

Nigeria at 60

60 years passed, the diamond still feels rough and unrefined despite being chipped off at many sides. One would have thought that as a country blessed with natural resources and hardworking people; she would soon arise in her full splendour and shine. ALAS! The reverse is the case.

Can we then say that the dreams of many Nigerians have been disappointed and their hopes, dashed?

Nigeria has suffered at the hands of terrible decision-makers. Wrong economic decisions were made, poor economic planning, terrible execution, delayed revitalization, among others.

Nothing happens by chance. Nigeria is where she is today, because of the decisions, indecisions, actions, and inactions made by the leaders at different times.

Many of which are MONEY related! Obviously, we made many MONEY MISTAKES as a Nation.

NB: This is not a political article or a critic article.

THE GREATEST MONEY MISTAKES NIGERIA MADE…

“Greatest” because there are many, so I hand-picked the most prominent ones.

WHY?

So that you, dear young Nigerian reading this, can learn from your 60 -year old grandpa(Nigeria).

Excessive Borrowing, Irresponsible Spending

One of the most alarming mistakes that most Nigerian government regimes make is the mistake of excessive borrowing and irresponsible spending. When one considers the huge loans that the government take, all in the disguise of meeting a particular need and the outcome of such loans, it brings amazement. Exactly! I got you thinking right? There is usually no tangible outcome. In fact, the urgency of these needs is shallow and taking debt is not worth it. 

You feel like the decision was foolish right? Many of us do the same thing in our personal finance. How so? If you borrow money to buy something that is not essential, whose cost is over your income, you are a “Nigerian government”, just a “home-scale level” in this case. I ask you “are those things you take loans to buy really necessary? Is there urgency in that need or you are just being unreasonable?” 

I have heard of people who give away their valuables as collateral for loans. That is not the point I want to make; my point is that these needs are usually not needs but wants. Consider your available piece of material and not just your taste when cutting your clothes. If you have 2yards of clothes, don’t decide to sew a long flowing garment. You can make do with a simple top and still look beautiful. As much as possible, avoid borrowing. 

Short-sightedness

You are probably asking yourself how short-sightedness is a money mistake? Let me tell you a story about the Choluteca Bridge. In Honduras, the government decided to build a new bridge over river Choluteca in order to connect it to a bypass road. So they built the bridge for two years thinking that it was going to be a life-long breakthrough. Sadly, a few months later came Hurricane Mitch. There were about 75inches of rainfall in four days which is approximately rain for six months. The river got flooded and over 7000 people lost their lives. Almost all the bridges were destroyed except of course the Choluteca Bridge. You are probably relaxed now thinking building the bridge was worth it right? See what happened to the bridge hereafter.

 The bridge remained firm, sturdy and unaffected but the flow of the river changed course. The builders never imagined that happening.

Generally speaking, a lot of money decisions made by decision makers of the past and now were not thought out carefully. Oftentimes, the decisions are made to solve the problem of now totally forgetting the need to plan for the problem of later that may arise. It is a pity that decision makers lack insight. Overtime, Nigeria spent a lot on its oil and gas sector. It wasn’t until recent that it began to make effort on economy diversification. 

As at 2019, in her budget breakdown, more funds were allocated to transportation and works but very little to Health as compared to others. In came 2020 with the Coronavirus Pandemic and Nigeria had to spend beyond its budget; taking loans in order to put the situation under control. Of course, the pandemic hit us unexpectedly as no one can foretell the future. However, the situation wouldn’t have been this terrible if the government had not been short-sghted in decision making, and budget allocation. You cannot tell the future but you can at least try as much as possible to think and plan highly, widely and deeply.  No, not the Nigerian Government.

IN CONCLUSION…

This is the deal; before making money decisions, consider your tomorrow and many factors that may affect it. Don’t make decisions hurriedly. Sit down and analyse your need. Is it really a need or a want? You need to know how to channel your resources appropriately. Learn how to comprehensively and critically analyse your problems. Nigeria is a rich country, flowing with resources but many terrible money mistakes had made her the Country with the HIGHEST POVERTY RATING.

DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES!

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