Sunday, January 19, 2020
Sharp-Journal > Discourse > Discourse on President Buhari’s ‘demarketing to market’

Discourse on President Buhari’s ‘demarketing to market’

Truth be told, all is not rosy with Nigeria’s economy. Facing this reality, however, is a good appraisal in the right direction. In spite of the opposition and the loud cry of PDP, President Muhammadu Buhari seems to be focused on telling the truth and nothing but the truth about the current state of the economy. Is there anything wrong for being overt about the mess and decay the economy is deeply immersed even with the status of being the largest economy in Africa?

The indices may indicate that the economy of Nigeria is ahead in Africa, but the substance of these indices is but a fluke. Where is the money? Show me the money? The rebasing of the Nigeria economy which brought big money figures is a mere statement lacking in actual effect in the life of Nigerians. The truth of this reality was the story Buhari told the whole world in his recent itinerary. De-marketing is what the opposition calls it. But is there any element of marketing in this so-called de-marketing? Perhaps!

To the opposition, Buhari’s expression is a marketing flaw. To the progressives, it’s a marketing leverage or an advantage. This writer is trying to be realistic with the issue at hand. Hence, the big ‘noise’ of being the largest economy will not take Nigeria an inch to economic prosperity. In fact, it is a distraction to the real deal of economic growth and development. There is a huge amount of liquid cash domiciled in the hand of the elite or to be frank, a cluster of businessmen are making merry over a national heritage of wealth. There is no fluidity in the transfer of wealth to the other strata of the society. So the eye popping figures only favour those few individuals who have access to the liquid cash. And they put barriers preventing ‘third parties’— proletariat, from being part of the merry.

Real investment entails a fundamental restructuring of every sector of the economy. In this restructuring, both the public and private sector would be responsible for any immediate growth or backwardness that may eventually become the fate of Nigeria. The angle in which many people look at investment is that of ‘someone who brings money to fund or sponsor a business venture and at the end, there is profit. I take my share, you take your share and I go.’ This inference is not completely correct.

There is direct and indirect investment. Any serious investor would want to know the truth about the viability of his business, the security of his asset, and other business derivatives before putting down his or her money in such a country. This group of investors is called ‘direct investors,’ while ‘indirect investors’ are only interested in their immediate gain. Their watchword is, “get the money by all means and take flight immediately.’’ And, their investment is mostly counterproductive in the long run.

Nigeria has been dealing with this set of people for a very long time. The matter is worse because they are easily absorbed within the elite class who unfortunately are also profit-oriented without doing enough to develop where the money comes from. Birds of a feather they are. The claim of de-marketing by its supporters, especially the opposition party, is vague. The exponents of this school of economic thought are part of the corrupt business dealings that has not only milked Nigeria’s treasure base but also brought stunted growth to Nigeria. Yes, we are seeing the figures, but where is the money?

De-marketing, according to its Nigerian proponents is reducing the business interests or opportunities of Nigeria through belittling and condemnation of the existing economic structure in the eyes of foreign investors. But this existing structure is driven by a corrupt group of indirect investors or business cronies who do not want ‘direct’ investment either by the Federal Government through capital projects or having a direct foreign investor. They go as far as frustrating government remedial initiatives to improve the sorry state of Nigeria’s economy.

Having explained de-marketing from the perspective of the opposition, investment marketing, according to President Buhari is simply telling prospective foreign investors the state of business environment they are coming to invest in, their obligations, and of course, the gains of their business venture.

The merit of Buhari’s style of marketing is that, investors are coming with the mindset of service and making profit, as against just profitability common with the indirect investors whose interest is to cart away raw cash at any available opportunity. For now, the effort of Mr. President to be explicit with the world is on the right track. However, the real deal in all of these perspectives (de-marketing or no de-marketing) is if the president after a series of campaign and soliciting for foreign investment and the promise to make Nigeria viable was unfounded. Then, President Buhari is really de-marketing Nigeria.

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