Utomi added that the economic situation would have been avoided if the government agreed to devalue the Naira early, and borrowed money against its assets.
Utomi said the attitude of the Buhari led administration in the face of dwindling oil prices, scared foreign investors away.
The seasoned economist also revealed that the fall in crude oil prices was not enough to cause a recession.
Utomi said ‘’There is what we call the big man hamburger quotient which economists use to evaluate exchange rate. Macdonald hamburger in London is exactly the way it is in New York. How many naira will it take to produce this hamburger in Lagos and how many pounds will it exactly cost to produce it in London? This is what is called the big man hamburger quotient.
“At that time, the difference in Nigeria’s nominal exchange rate was there and because the major revenue was oil, whose prices had gone down, all that an intelligent leadership needed to do was to borrow against some assets, ensure they continue to fund things, use strong determination to make sure people don’t buy more than what they don’t need because that is part of what happened and ensure that there is confidence in the system so that people will know that the people in charge know what they are doing.
“That would have made people to start transacting normally. But they said how can we devalue? We will not devalue, people who have money and who wanted to bring in money felt that these people are about to make decision that might jeopardise our money tomorrow. So they didn’t bring it. Even oil companies were not bringing back their receipts and Nigerians who were exporting were not bringing back, so there was a major crisis. Instead of the thing devaluing by 6 percent, it went down to what we are seeing. So it is self-inflicted and quality of leadership.’’
He added that the economic situation would have been avoided if the government agreed to devalue the Naira early, and borrowed money against its assets.
Utomi said this at the 2016 Men Summit organised by the Catholic Men Organisation of the Holy Family Catholic Church, Festac-Town, Lagos state on Sunday, September 18, 2016.
He also said President Muhammadu Buhari is ruling Nigeria with a “medieval mindset”.