Updated: Commerce, finance experts count cost of election postponement
A few hours into the postponement of the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria, some critical business and financial stakeholders say that the adverse impact of INEC’s action on the economy of the country is indeed huge.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have said the postponement of elections has disrupted the economy, causing colossal losses.
Mr Muda Yusuf, Director-General of LCCI told NAN that the postponement had caused a lot of disruption to businesses, both small and large scale enterprises.
“The economy is shut down today, and that is a great loss in terms of output and revenue; and we are dealing in an economy with a large informal sector operators who depend on daily income for survival.
“A lot of cost has also been incurred; cost incurred by INEC, political parties, security agencies, foreign and local observers; and these are huge costs borne by both the private and public sectors.
“All these together puts a burden on the economy,” he said.
Yusuf said it was unfortunate that such happened and even more disturbing that the losses could have been reduced with earlier notice to the public.
“I am sure that INEC had seen some signs that this was not going to work out, rather than coming out with the information few hours to the election.
“If these information had come in early yesterday, maybe the level of disruption and losses would not be these much,” he said.
However, Yusuf said it was better to have the postponement and have an election that was credible, fair and transparent, urging the citizens to be patient and bear with INEC hoping that the sacrifice would be worth it eventually.
Also, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General of MAN, said the general election impacted on industrial activity as most factories shut down their operations till Monday.
“All Nigerians were full of expectations and looking forward to the election and were surprised by the news of its postponement.
“We know that many businesses closed early yesterday to allow people move around and travel to cast their votes in their respective locations,” he said.
He, however, urged Nigerians to keep faith and perform their civic responsibilities next week.
He said irrespective of the inconvenience and disruption to industrial activities, energy and resources exerted, having a credible and smooth election was worth the sacrifice.
Financial experts too count cost of elections postponement
Financial experts on Saturday said the hasty postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would create uncertainty and affect inflow of foreign investments.
Speaking in separate interviews in Lagos, they said that the hasty postponement a few hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections was not good for the economy and investors’ confidence.
Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State said the development would create unnecessary uncertainty in the economy and affect inflow of foreign investment.
Tella said the country’s inability to stabilise election processes 20 years after would affect the way foreign investors perceived Nigeria.
He said the development would affect inflow of foreign investments, both portfolio and direct investments.
“Uncertainty is the operating atmosphere in Nigeria but businesses thrive under certainty and predictable situations,” Tella said.
He said the postponement would bring about extra cost for businesses and Nigerians.
Tella said business successes depended not only on macroeconomic stability but also on political stability.
“Businesses that have shifted some programmes because of the elections have to start making adjustments which outcomes may not be optimal.
“When INEC released its plan long ago, I thought we had arrived but this last minute botch shows that we still have a long way to go,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., said the postponement of the elections showed that government and INEC were not prepared.
Omordion said the postponement a few minutes to the election day would further slow down economic activities and as well cause cautious trading in the nation’s bourse.
He said investors’ confidence as seen in the recent stock market rebound would be dampened with the development.
Omordion wondered why INEC had been feeding Nigerians with lies that they were prepared for the elections only to announce a shift when it mattered most.
Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said the postponement of the elections would be a huge cost to the economy in view of the fact that schools had been closed for almost three days ahead of the elections.
Kurfi said many companies and markets had been closed due to the elections while many individuals had traveled to various destinations in order to cast their votes only for it to be postponed.
“Logistics cost have been incurred by INEC; where will they get extra budget to augment the short fall.
“It is clear that we are not ready to learn from the past mistakes. INEC should learn to make contingency arrangements rather than postponement.
“This will not allow the rest of the world to take us as a serious nation. The Presidency should set up a committee to investigate the reason for the postponement and whoever is responsible for it should be brought to book,” he said.
Mr Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the postponement of the presidential election on the same day of the election was unfortunate.
Igbrude said the postponement was unacceptable and should be condemned in its entirety.
He said the shift would create uncertainty and doubt on the ability of the commission to conduct free and fair polls.
Igbrude said the development would create economic waste and untold hardship to the electorate, noting that, many people had travelled to various locations to exercise their civic responsibility.
He decried the effect of economic waste the postponement would have on state governments, private businesses and foreign and local election observers.
Igbrude added that some state governments had declared work-free days while some organisations worked for a half-day in order to prepare for the elections.
“This action will surely frustrate and discourage the electorate from voting. I sincerely appeal to INEC and President Muhammadu Buhari not to throw Nigeria into problem.
“They should make sure that they conduct elections that will be free and acceptable to everybody,” Igbrude stated.
He, however, appealed to voters to be calm and ensure they perform their civic responsibility.
It would be recalled that INEC shifted Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections to Feb. 23 after a meeting, which began Friday evening, ending early on Saturday.
The governorship and house of assembly, FCT area council elections have also been shifted from March 2 to March 9.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu attributed the postponement of all the scheduled elections to logistic and operational challenges.
He said the postponement would afford the commission the opportunity to address the identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of Nigeria’s elections.
Source: NANFollow us on social media