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Restructuring of Nigeria inevitable, Ekweremadu declares as oil price falls

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Restructuring of Nigeria inevitable, Ekweremadu declares as oil price falls



Former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has said that restructuring the country is inevitable, arguing that the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) as well as the fall of crude oil price in the global market will badly hit Nigeria.

Sen. Ekweremadu who was the Chairman, Maiden Edition of Annual lecture series organized by the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state, held on Thursday in Enugu, restated that the Nigeria economy has become vulnerable since it largely depended on the crude oil.

While observing that the inability to allow the states develop according to their pace has made all victims of the fall of crude oil, Ekweremadu however, said that if the country had been restructured to fiscal federalism where states would have been financially autonomous.

He added that the implication rather than enjoying about 36 economies along with the federating units, Nigeria was stuck with a mono-economy driven by oil.

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The maiden Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,

Ekweremadu, who described Nigeria’s unfolding economic realities as gloomy, said various tiers of government might not be able to pay salaries after four months if the slump in oil earnings continued.

“It is no longer news that a combination of the Coronavirus pandemic and the crude oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia is already taking huge tolls on our economy and the 2020 budget.

Whereas our budget was hinged on $57 oil benchmark, the price of oil crashed further to $24 on Wednesday.

“The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have equally predicted that Nigeria and other developing countries, which rely heavily on oil revenue are set to witness a decline as their income from oil and gas is projected to fall by between 50 per cent and 85 per cent in 2020, reaching the lowest levels in more than two decades.

Already, the value of naira is tumbling down.

“Obviously, our past, our rebuffing of all advocacies and constitution amendment efforts to provide compulsory savings from our oil earnings, entrench fiscal federalism, devolve powers, and restructure Nigerian economy have caught up with us, once again.

“If there is one lesson we will have to learn the hard way, therefore, it is that ‘feeding bottle federalism’ does not pay.

Ordinarily, we should have been talking about 36 economies based on the federating units. But we can only talk about a mono-economy driven by oil.

“It is my hope that when the impending economic tsunami settles, we will see the need to diversify the economy, and we will see that there is no better way to do so than to entrench real fiscal federalism to unleash the economic potentials and comparative advantages of the various federating units”, he added.

Delivering a lecture entitled “The Law’s Treatment of Economically Disadvantaged Groups: The Need for Alternative Emphasis in Commercial Law”, by President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, he reminded the government that the nature and degree of consumer protection regulation in any modern society says a lot about that society, its values, sense of justice, priorities, as well as social, political, and economic development.

“The point I seek to make is very simple: Because the law looks to virtually and only the commercial prism of transactions, the economically disadvantaged individual in those dealings is almost always never contemplated. What we end with is a legal/judicial subsidization of the liability rules in favour of the very powerful groups.”

 

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