#ElectionPostponed: How INEC's Action Cost Nigerian Economy Over 500 Billion Naira
Mrs Theresa Igbinosa is a food vendor at Western Boys High school in Ikpoba-Okha Ward 2 in Benin City, Edo State.
On Friday,February 15th in anticipation of the Saturday elections, she borrowed 50,000-naira from her neighbour to prepare enough food for the voters at the ward on that day.
Narrating her ordeal, she told the News Agency of Nigeria that she woke up as early as 2am on Saturday morning to prepare the food.
Unfortunately, it was just about that time that the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC announced that the election would no longer hold.
“I am not only sad but very angry. I spent so much money and woke up as early as 2am to prepare this food. I have not even slept at all.
“My problem now is what to do with the food. Nobody is here to sell the food to, and I am so confused right now,” Mrs Igbinosa had lamented.
Mrs Igbinosa was not alone. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of food vendors faced similar crisis, preparing foods that were eventually given away for free.
Families who had weddings and funeral ceremonies planned for the day also counted their losses.
Beyond these, millions of Nigerians had traveled out of their base to where they registered to vote, wasting hundreds of millions of naira in transport fare.
In the formal sector, very many businesses shut down on Friday to allow some of their workers prepare for the Saturday polls. Some businesses operated a half day.
The cancellation of the election meant that businesses could not operate at full capacity on Saturday, as many shops remained closed despite the cancellation.
The economic loss to the nation can hardly be quantified. Several figures are already being bandied about by some economic experts.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI put the figure at $1.5 billion, about 540 billion naira.
The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company, FDC Bismarck Rewane told Thisday newspaper that the loss could be at least 2% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, that is about 2.737 trillion naira.
However, a more pragmatic approach would be calculating the loss, using the formula applied by online business newspaper Nairametrics in its own analysis, which relied on the latest GDP figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
The NBS Q4 GDP report showed that Nigeria’s economy in real term grew at 1.93% growth rate.
During the period, aggregate nominal GDP (economic output without the inflation adjustment) stood at 35.23 trillion naira, which is higher than 31.28 trillion naira recorded in Q4 2017, representing a nominal growth rate of 12.65%.
For the full year 2018, the annual nominal GDP was therefore recorded at 127.762 trillion naira representing a nominal growth rate of 12.36% when compared to 113.711 trillion naira recorded in 2017.
So, this implies that if the total value of goods and services produced in Nigeria throughout 2018 stood at 127.762 trillion naira, then this amounts to 10.6 trillion naira per month, 2.66 trillion naira weekly and 380 billion naira per day.
Similarly, going by the Q4 of 2018 GDP figures, which put GDP estimates at 35 trillion naira, that comes to about 11.6 trillion naira per month, 2.9 trillion naira per week and 414 billion naira per day.
So, it is safe to assume that the postponement of the Presidential and the National Assembly elections cost Nigeria approximately 500 billion naira.
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