Are we on the brink of an economic recovery?

There is a growing list of optimistic global economic bodies predicting that Nigeria is now entering a period of economic growth and recovery from the recent recession.

This could conceivably be true and, to use a much used UK phrase, we are about to see the “green shoots of growth”.

Oil prices are up. Global banks and Aramco starting to predict a $60 plus price per barrel by the end of 2017.

Oil prices are still all that matters in Nigeria.

With the predicted bounce in global price, it will continue to be the only thing that matters as there has been no diversification of the economy and there will continue to be none as long as oil prices are favourable.

Banks will not lend to non-oil businesses, government crony bees will continue to hover around the oil honey pot and there will be scant attention paid to any other industry.

The Federal Government’s announcement of the predicted opening up of the Bongo oilfield over the summer will add more volume to the output for export.

Renewed Chinese GDP growth of 6.6% will ensure that global demand remains high to support the current price of oil.

All of this should be good news for Nigeria.

However, this investor is fearful that the curse of being a petrodollar nation will continue to be upon us.

No diversification now and the ability of inept politicians to laud their guidance of the economy back to growth (through no doing of their own) means that Nigeria will be ever more dependent on global oil prices.

When the next crash happens (as inevitably it will), there is a danger that the country will fall faster and harder than we have just experienced.

The social upheaval alone will be calamitous.

The only answer is for the Federal Government to double down on its diversification and anti-corruption measures now that the petrodollars are flowing.

Now is the time to put our foot on the accelerator of diversification using additional oil revenues, rather than slackening off and back slapping for a (non-existent) job well done.

Don’t forget, the sting in the tail of this recession will be the Chinese, World Bank and AFDB debt taken on by this regime over the last 18 months.

This will cost us in the future.

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