By Abdulkarim Daiyabu
There is no gainsaying the fact that the last administration through the instrument of the Central Bank of Nigeria , CBN had succeeded in destroying the value of the Naira and dragging our economy to a damaging point of no return.
Nigeria’s economy is now in such a bad shape that its domestic productive capacity can hardly generate the productivity that will shore up the naira convertibility/value, let alone create the growth momentum necessary to move the country to the first world.
It is in light of this, that I find it necessary to recommend a reintroduction of BARTER system of trade in the economy to enable us retrace our footsteps, find correct bearing for the economy before re-joining the international financial/economic system.
Trade by Barter is a system of exchange where goods or services are directly traded for other goods or services without the use of money. It may be seen as the oldest form of trade, dating back to ancient times, but trade by barter, appears to be the best and the easiest solution to halt the daily downward slide in the value of the NAIRA.
It will be a potent strategy to proactively build a strong economy, maintain the standard/quality of all our imports and exports and ultimately help strengthen the naira.
Giving our present circumstance (of a weak naira), barter can be a very viable and advantageous option to consider; in particular:
Barter system can provide a stable and reliable means of exchange in times of economic instability or currency fluctuations;
The system is simple and straightforward, eliminating the need for complex monetary systems or financial institutions;
It can promote sustainable consumption patterns by focusing on direct exchange of goods and services needed rather than relying on mass production and conspicuous consumption.
Trading partners/countries willing to participate can supply all our necessary needs and made to accept payments in exchange for CRUDE OIL, and not any foreign currency.
To maximize the benefits of barter system, the country should focus on imports of critical machineries and equipment required by our teaming manufacturing industries across the country as well as our Strategic industries such as the Defense Industry Corporation (DIC), Ajaokuta Steel Industry/ Steel Rolling Mills and the like, to enable us rehabilitate and or restore them to functional/productive completion.
It may be recalled that Nigeria started those kinds of industries about the same time with India and Brazil who have already made progress. Regrettably our DIC for example was converted to a furniture Industry by President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Furthermore, our imports must be strictly limited to what we do not and or cannot produce anywhere in our country, Nigeria.
By the same token, our exports from Nigeria must comply with internationally acceptable standards of quality and should be from the surpluses generated after satisfying domestic requirements. We should also de-emphasize export of raw materials and focus on value addition to every commodity and product leaving the country.
To effectively regulate the system, we may consider appointing a universally acceptable intermediary such as the Crown Agents or similar institution of repute, to get involve in the certification of standards of goods and services, procurements, terms of exchange, etc
In recent time, the Crown Agents have transitioned into a development consultancy, providing expertise and services to governments and organizations worldwide; they can still be engaged on Nigeria’s terms.
To be competitive in this new arena, we must strive to upgrade the capacities of our Universities, Polytechnics, Research Institutes and other machine tool industries to rise up to the occasion by taking up the challenge to start producing/fabricating tools, machinery and equipment of intermediate standard through to sophisticated technology required by the domestic economy to gradually reduce our dependence on technology import.
Indeed, the proposed barter system may turn out to be a golden opportunity to address many of our economic and social infrastructure deficits. Through the crude oil exchange, we can mobilize resources and expertise to remodel Kainji dam and complete Manbilla power plants, continue with modernization of our railways and aviation infrastructure and a host of similar strategic projects that are presently eluding us. This will create momentum for real economic growth.
This is a Clarion Call or an open letter or both to Mr. President.
Daiyabu is the National President ,Movement for Justice in Nigeria (MOJIN),
former National Chairman ,Alliance for Democracy (AD),
former President Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KACCIMA).