Those who invest hope in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency, may eventually have the last laugh. I say so because despite the crunching economic hardship afflicting majority of the citizens, the administration is engaged in fundamental economic restructuring, that all things being equal, will reflate the economy and start the trajectory towards a structured economic rejuvenation and growth.

Some key economic plans that can change the dynamics include, the N180 trillion consumer credit scheme, the N15.36 trillion naira Calabar-Lagos Highway, the Sokoto-Lagos Highway, the Enugu-Ogoja-Ikom Highway, and the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway line. Also the massive housing schemes that have kicked off in some states. If these projects are vigorously pursued, one does not need to be an economic expert to know that they will reflate the economy and provide massive job opportunities.

The 700 kilometre Lagos-Calabar coastal highway will connect Lagos to Cross River, passing through the coastal states of Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom, and end up in Cross River. On its part, the 1000 kilometre spur from Sokoto to Lagos will start from Sokoto, going through Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and end in Lagos State. Another spur will go from Enugu-Abakaliki-Ogoja going to Cameroon, and through Otukpo to Benue to Nassarawa and end up at Apo in Abuja.

The ambitious road projects if fully operational can suck several thousands of unskilled and unemployable idle youths, who are engaged or are tempted to join the criminal gangs engaged across various parts of the country. Between joining the gangs of bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, separatist agitators and sundry criminal groups, on one hand, or the highway labour gangs, gaining useful skills on the job and meaningful income, with peace of mind, on the other hand; I have no doubt, that majority of the youths will opt for the latter.

In addition to the gigantic road infrastructure plans, there is also the railway component, particularly the completion of the Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line, started by the previous administration. That again is another labour intensive infrastructural project which will take care of a lot of idle hands. The housing projects of the administration with a plan for 50,000 housing units under the first phase, will also provide several job opportunities for skilled and nonskilled workers.

The housing scheme will have direct massive impact on the disappearing middle class, should the N180 trillion Consumer Credit Scheme, enable them to buy some of the houses. While housing projects is not novel, the challenge in the past is that, usually the politicians with stolen wealth, and other wealthy individuals, buy off the houses, and the cycle of continuous dependency of the middle class, as tenants continue. But with the credit scheme in place, those cadre of Nigerians would be able to buy some of the houses.

The credit scheme would also make monies available for other consumer goods, which in turn would keep the factories busy. That will in turn keep the workers engaged and better remunerated. And with the companies and their workers busy, tax returns for the states and federal government would also improve. The major challenge of the national economy is the abysmally low level of disposable income, within the middle and low income earners, who are in the majority. Such a scheme could change the dynamics, with less impact on inflation.

Small scale enterprises would also sprout from the increase in disposable income, as many of the big manufacturers rely on them for supplies and services. Luckily, there is the N125 billion fund for micro and small businesses, and the N75 billion to fund 75 enterprises, which the Tinubu administration announced last year. So, if the entrepreneurs have the resources to produce goods and the people also have access to finance to buy the products, the economy may likely rebound from the present crisis, in the nearest future.   

The consumer credit may also have revolutionary impacts on corruption, amongst the working class, as the desperation to amass the necessary resources to buy a house, car, house hold items and other essential needs, for a comfortable living would reduce. Without a credit scheme, it will remain impossible for most middle income earners and definitely low income earners, to buy the basic household items they need, not to talk of assets like housing, without stealing.

Credit scheme also imposes financial discipline on the people, as the debts incurred must be paid, as and when due, in other to keep enjoying the items already purchased. So, the people will learn how to spend their resources on what they truly need, and not on frivolities. The financial discipline also imposes economic planning, both for the producers and consumers, to the benefit of the national economy. If consumers are sure of the source of the resources to buy what they need, and the producers are sure that the goods would go off the shelf, both can plan.

Apart from the government housing projects, the consumer credit scheme will encourage private investment in housing sector, just as in other enterprises. Investors, knowing that they can secure credit to build housing estates, and that they will be willing buyers who can access credits to pay under a mortgage scheme, the boom may be dramatic. The same will be applicable with other medium and small scale producers and their consumers, who can tap into the two ends of the credit scheme, respectively.

However, for the projects to achieve the desired goals, the national credit register must be efficient, so that borrowers are easily traceable. Also, there should be better deterrent measures for those who will fail to repay monies borrowed. The legislators must be ready to enact legislations that would make it easier for creditors to get their monies or trade on the pledged assets. Once the debtor falters in paying back, there should be statutory administrative processes to gain recompense, instead of the prolonged litigation, which benefits the debtor.

There is also the need to strengthen the bureaucracies in charge of the innovations, so that they would not be overwhelmed by the cankerworm of corruption that had made a mess of many laudable projects in the past. So, the credit scheme register must be well secured to ensure that it cannot be hacked into, to make recovery of credits impossible. Should the inter-related economic programs take off and copulate, the economic benefits may be enormous, in the nearest future.

The challenge facing the Tinubu administration is how to ensure that the future they project comes into fruition, and more importantly, that the people see into the projected future, to be assuaged of the hunger and want ravaging them, presently. As I like to say, it would be unimaginable what will be the lot of Nigerians and Nigeria, should the Tinubu administration falter, irredeemably.