1st August, 2008… Sneak Preview

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

Kehinde is an employee of one of the leading telecommunications companies in Nigeria. His annual salary is N8,000,000 amongst other benefits. He is not doing badly for a middle manager. He knows his work well, has savings worth about N2,000,00 and is quite focused. His father is a civil servant, a director in one of the ministries, and his mother is a principal in one of the good schools in Ibadan, where they both live. Their annual salaries put together is less than N2,000,000. They also have life going on well for them, they have done well for their children, and they are reaping the satisfaction of knowing that their children are doing well in Lagos.

Kehinde wakes up at 5:20am to prepare for work. He goes through the normal routine like he was preprogrammed, a man has to work. He has many projects ahead of him, he needs money badly…or at least, more money. He jets out of the house at quarter to 6. He needs to beat third mainland early morning hold up. As he drives through the wee hours of the morning, he tunes on his radio, what is happening in town. He needs to at least catch up with the current events about all these funny financial policies that have become the topic of debates for the past 1yr. He hits the seek button on his Toyota stereo..93.7..94.5..96.9.. he finally gets a channel that mentioned something about the Naira, dollar conversion..yeah that’s it…

Things have changed drastically over the past one year. The Big banks have bought insurance companies and secruities companies. Stock broking firms are on a race to meet up with the 1 Billion naira capitalization. He had tried to approach a stock broking firm the other day to invest in shares… he had been shocked when he was told that the minimum they take is 10M. What did he expect, the big bank boys own it all, so anything that is less than 10M should be put into savings in the bank… so that at least THEY can use their money – OPM. Today is the day the long talked about conversion happens…$1 equals N1.25! Not because of Naira appreciation though… it’s a game of semantics.

His 2,000,000 Naira savings is converted to N20,000 for him in the new Naira regime. His annual salary is converted to N80,000. Nothing has really changed, but now he has to talk in thousands now if he was talking in millions, and in 10s if he’s been talking in thousands. The decimal points have been moved forward by two spaces, moving his ego with it…lol. He had some shares in GTbank, the current value of those shares were N65 yesterday, today, they are 65k. But will the price of coke become 40k, will the price of goods take on a two decimal point shift… or will people approximate to favor them?

He listens on as hears various views about the impacts of the change. They are all good changes for the rich and well positioned, but what effect will they have on the little people. Well the say a war early announced doesn’t kill a wise leper. If your eyes are well sunken, you should begin to cry from a distance. Will he really be able to buy a dollar for N1.25? What will be the price of the stock he bought at 50k per share… will it be 0.05k? or will it appreciate to 0.1k. Would he have been better positioned if he had more of his money outside Nigeria… or same naa ni? lol

Change happens to us all, some position themselves and get the best of it, some lament the change as unnecessary and keep lamenting until their real lamentation starts. Some listen, watch and understand the implications and position themselves properly. I’m not one to say a policy is good or bad. I simply understand that every policy no matter how well defined has two sides, one for the good of some, and the other for the ill of the others. If the price of bread is forced up, bread sellers will be happy, and bread eaters will be sad. One thing I am however sure of is that the years of abundance are followed closely by the years of lack and want. Wise ants think winter all summer. Are  you wise?

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