Assailed by economic underdevelopment, endemic poverty and wide-spread insecurity, yet bludgeoned to dissonance with assertions of tribe-hegemony and associated separatist agitations, Nigeria is fast fading away.
But, it doesn’t have to.
Nigerians can yet unite to ‘FIND’ it, because the Black race needs Nigeria together and prospering, and supporting Africa to assert a glorious identity in the global space.
Integrity of Nigeria’s commonwealth (public wealth) and its expansion whereof, provide a veritable and unifying theme – a rallying ground for Nigerians to ‘FIND’ their nation and recover it from entrenched interests.
Even with declining narratives of – a nation in need of development, a tinderbox of terrorism, poverty capital of the world – Nigeria yet, holds huge opportunities for investments. But, Nigerians need to first invest more faith in their own economy – ‘Make-in-Nigeria’ and ‘Buy Nigeria.’
This was the consensus procured by discussants at a Webinar organized by Lamprace, and entitled “Between Democratic Freedoms and National Security.”
Most Americans would probably say that the Declaration of Independence was the most important document published in 1776. . But many would argue that Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” had a bigger and more global impact.
On March 9, 1776, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”—commonly referred to simply as “The Wealth of Nations”—was first published. Smith, a Scottish moral philosopher by trade, wrote the book to describe the industrialized capitalist system that was disrupting the mercantilist system of that period.
Smith believed humans ultimately promote public interest through their everyday economic choices. “He (or she) generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest nor knows how much he is promoting it.
By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention,” Smith said in “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.”
It was Smith’s “Invisible hand” that became known as “market force.”
In particular it was the market that emerged from an increasing division of labor, both within production processes and throughout society that created a series of mutual interdependencies, promoting social welfare through individual profit motives.
In other words, once you specialize as a baker and produce only bread, you now must rely on somebody else for your clothes, somebody else for your meat, and yet somebody else for your beer. Meanwhile the people that specialize in clothes now must rely on you for their bread, and so on.
Smith encouraged people to practice thrift (savings), hard work, and enlightened self-interest. He believed the practice of enlightened self-interest was natural for the majority of people.
In his famous example, a butcher does not supply meat based on good-hearted intentions, but because he profits by selling meat. If the meat he sells is poor, he will not have repeat customers and, thus, no profit. Therefore, it’s in the butcher’s interest to sell good meat at a price that customers are willing to pay, so that both parties benefit in every transaction. Smith believed the ability to think long-term would curb most businesses from abusing customers. When that wasn’t enough, he looked to the government to enforce laws.
Smith also saw the responsibilities of the government as being limited to the defense of the nation, universal education, public works (infrastructure such as roads and bridges), the enforcement of legal rights (property rights and contracts), and the punishment of crime.
Back to the issue of Nigeria’s public wealth, wealth of the Nigerian State, or commonwealth. The global economy is already in a recession because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain widespread infection. Quantitative easing is a short-term liquidity balm or massage, but does not address the fundamental issue of jumpstarting stalled or locked-down economies and restoring government balance sheets.
Nigeria’s government, already cash-constrained, will face ever greater fiscal challenges in 2022 and beyond. This will make it even harder for it to provide social services, infrastructure, and other investments needed to reboot the Nigerian economy.
Like most countries, Nigeria’s public wealth assets are larger than its public-debt. Unlike listed equity assets, public wealth is unaudited, unsupervised, and often unregulated. Even worse, it is almost entirely unaccounted for. When developing their budgets, most governments greatly ignore the assets they own and the value these could generate.
By recognizing public assets, Nigeria can generate revenues to pay for public services, fund infrastructure investments, and boost the economy without raising taxes. This means shifting the focus to net worth (assets less liabilities) instead of looking at cash and debt alone.
The provision of public water in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, presents a striking example. The federal capital city has a good public water resource. Yet, many homes and workplaces expend huge sums of private wealth to develop own water sources, which, oftentimes, aren’t of good quality. Reticulating water from the Abuja water asset to homes would entail a major capital investment, which will generate more public wealth, and yet deliver water to homes, at costs much lower than the same homes presently incur.
2023 presents Nigeria, yet another opportunity to elect that Adam Smith’s cast-of-government, which can defend the nation, provide universal education, public works (infrastructure such as roads, rails and bridges), enforce legal rights and punish crime.
In doing so, Nigerians need to focus attention on the few politicians with demonstrable character and verifiable capacity to enshrine integrity in the management of Nigeria’s commonwealth, by the intelligent exploitation of every source of revenue that can grow the nation’s infrastructure base.
As the crossroads of 2023 approach, Nigerians are called to make a declaration – one equivalent in importance to the American Declaration of 1776.
Faith-in-Nation Declaration – FIND Nigeria – could serve to cherry-pick on the competencies (human and material) needed to redirect an epic enlargement of Nigeria’s commonwealth, for the common good.
In line with Adam Smith’s principle of enlightened self-interest, Nigerians are kindly invited to voluntarily endorse “FIND Nigeria” declaration, by sharing this message and sharing their thoughts too.