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Top 5 Strategies To Get YOUR Economy Moving!

I love those commercials, have you seen them, the ones that discuss “my economy”? They are for some financial or insurance company, I don’t even know which, and they feature a customer touting the virtues of how this company helped them fix “their economy,” the one in “their house.”

I love those commercials because I love the phrase fix “my economy.” I think it is brilliant. Because at the end of the day isn’t that what we are worried about, trying to find the best solutions and ideas to get our economy moving again?

So what do you need to do to get your economy moving, to get things back on track and pointing in a positive direction? Well, based on the research and interviews I did for my new book, Winning In The Trust & Value Economy: A Guide To Business and Sales Success, here are the top 5:

Embrace Reality – Face it, it would be great if someone would ride in on a white horse, or wave a magic wand, or click their heels three times and this economy would get back on track. But in reality, let me be the first to say, “That ain’t gonna happen!” No one else is going to fix this economy, because the truth is this economy can’t be fixed. Why? The reality is that it is not broken; it is changing.

Our society, our culture, is literally going through an economic shift — a transition so to speak. A transition that is bringing about extreme change, and a whole new way of doing business. Making this change is, to say the least, difficult. We are creatures of habit, and even if we know that change is good, we still resist it. Even when we know it is inevitable, we still fight it. Even if we know the change would bring about better results, we still struggle with transition.

So if you want to succeed in this economy, your first step is to embrace your new reality. Understand that times are different, things have changed, and you need to learn the new rules. You need to pay attention to what your customers want, what employees expect, and what your customers are up to.

Focus on Values – Welcome to the age of integrity, and the economy where what you do is as important, if not more important, than what you say. As a professional, CEO or business owner, you need to know who you are and what you stand for in order to attract, retain and truly deepen client relationships.

Today’s consumers want and expect more. They only have to Google to find the products or services they want. So consumers need something more compelling to make them buy, something more powerful to make them part with their money, and that something is trust and value.

Today’s consumers are looking for companies and people they can build relationships with; those they can trust. Developing trust is a long process that can only be built through consistent, positive interaction between the customer and the company. So as companies and professionals, the only way to ensure your customer receives positive, consistent interaction is to create a culture steeped in values.

Build Your Image – White noise! If you asked me why most marketing dollars are being wasted and advertising messages are getting lost I would have to say white noise. There is just too much of it out there these days, and consumers are overwhelmed with too much information. Not only can we not hear it, we are definitely not listening. If you want to succeed in today’s Trust & Value Economy, you have to get above the fray, you have to stand out, and you have to be anything but white noise.

Now, before I upset all my marketing and advertising friends, please let me say that marketing and advertising are still important, if not critical, to success. It is just not enough. You have to do more to get above the white noise. The only way to do that is to build your image, establish your reputation, and get people talking about you. You have to stop pushing messages out, and start pulling your customers in.

In the Trust & Value Economy you cannot survive on only those customers you go out and get; you need customers coming to you. By investing in building your image and creating your reputation, you can actually drive customers to you, piquing their interest to come calling on you rather than you always calling on them.

Invest In Relationships – We have all heard it said time and time again: relationships are the new currency. While this has always been true, it has never been truer than in this economy. The more people you know, the more people who know you, and the more people you help, the more successful you are going to be.

Success today takes time. Consumers are tired of getting hit with sales people worried about making goal and pushing to make a sale. They are looking for that professional or business owner who truly wants to invest in helping them become successful. Again, that takes time.

If you want to stand out in the Trust & Value Economy, then invest in building relationships. Get to know your clients; who they are; what is important to them and what both their critical needs and long term goals are. Find ways to help them be successful. Make connections and create opportunities for them and their employees. To stand out in this economy, you need to invest in relationships, and be committed to give with no expectation of return. The professional who invests in relationships is the professional people talk about, and the one who is memorable.

There is more going on in this economy than what is happening in your business. If all you had to worry about was your own daily challenges you would actually be in good shape. But the Trust & Value Economy is offering far more challenges and opportunities outside of your business than inside your business.

To be successful today, you need to get your head out of the sand and take a look around. Ask yourself: What is happening in the world around you? What is changing with consumers? How is your industry responding and growing? What is happening politically? What societal trends could positively or negatively impact your business?

In the Trust & Value Economy, you need to lead with one eye inside your business and one eye outside of your business. Be ready to respond and change proactively based on what the market, the consumer, and your competition is throwing at you.

Yes, welcome to the Trust & Value Economy. These are exciting times, and today’s market offers plenty of opportunity for success if you get on board now!

Investing In A Developing Economy – A Possible Solution To Global Financial Crisis

INTRODUCTION

If there were security problems in Nigeria, no businessman would go to the country to explore opportunities, companies like Celtel, MTN, Etisalat, would not have ventured into security risk country to do business. Those who spread rumour about security and corruption problems in Nigeria are saying so to stop others from making money in the country. Figures don’t lie. They are the biggest testimonies for how conducive Nigeria’s environment for business and opportunities are. If you want to do business in Africa and record good returns on your investment, I welcome you to come to Nigeria. The political environment in Africa, particularly in Nigeria is tremendous.

Dr. Hamadoun Toure,
Secretary General,
International Telecommunications Union,
Cited in the Punch Newspaper, May 13, 2008)

What is happening currently with the Nigerian financial system is far from being affected in any way by the global credit crisis. At global level currently, the banks are under-capitalised, but Nigerian banks are over-capitalised. And I do not think this is a problem at all. I believe that Nigerian banks are under pressure from other economies within Africa continent that are affected by the credit challenges.

– Gordon Smith,
Head of Research, Africa and the Middle East, International Consilium,
(Reported in the Punch Newspaper, June 30th, 2008).

The foregoing statements aptly connote two understandings of the state of Nigerian economy. These understandings show that, the economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and in the world. Although Nigeria has had hash economic history, it has undergone and still undergoing economic reforms, which are aimed at making Nigeria the Africa’s financial hub and one of the twenty largest economies in the world by the year 2020. Needless to say that the country has experienced political instability, corruption, and poor macroeconomic management in the past, this was responsible for unpleasant and harsh economic situation. The government relentless efforts to reposition the economy have translated into a remarkable economic growth and development. Several mechanisms have been put in place to sustain this growth and development, capable of balancing the interests of stakeholders. Perhaps, this view must have influenced Gordon Smith submission. He described Nigeria as the most dynamic market in Africa, which is under severe pressure from some countries in Africa to serve as a cushion against the effects of global turbulence. He also noted that some countries like Ghana, Malawi, Mauritius, among others were depending on her at the moment due to global risk exposure and that the country’s economy, led by the consolidated banks, was far from being affected by the global credit crisis currently rocking the world’s financial giants. He stressed further that foreign investors, who will be patient enough to weigh the Nigerian financial system on the credit risk perspective relative to global events, will find the nation’s financial sector more interesting to invest and raise capital from.

Faced with numerous challenges, Nigerian government is determined to strengthen, diversify and make the economy attractive and investment-friendly to both local and foreign investors. The government has adopted total liberalization and globalization as the economic policy, instituted privatization and commercialization programmes of public enterprises, provided total security for business and people, extended invitation to domestic and foreign investors, abolished laws inhibiting competition, embraced and fine-tuned policies to ensure quick realization of growth and development of all sectors of the economy. The effort is already paying off as Nigeria is now the focus for foreign investment thereby increased exponentially Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Scores of economic missions and delegations from developed and developing countries have visited Nigeria, thus accelerating the growth of the economy at a very fast rate.

It becomes pertinent to direct the course of this discussion to embrace the second understanding of the above statements made by Hamadoun Toure and Gordon Smith. However, it becomes more pertinent to enumerate the inherent investment opportunities in Nigerian economy before discussing the issue of security as raised by Toure.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND SECURITY ISSUE IN NIGERIA

No doubt, Nigeria is an investment haven with countless and lucrative investment opportunities including oil and gas, solid mineral, agriculture, tourism, telecommunication, power and steel, transport, trade processing zone, financial sector, real estate / property, manufacturing, sport and entertainment, and fashion industry. Investors have a wide range of opportunities to choose from. It is important to note that the rate of growth of investment is fantastic and exponential in any of these sectors. Investors are at advantage of presenting their products and services to already-made market taking advantage of the population of over 140 million.

In telecommunication, statistics reveals that mobile phone users in Africa were about 280 million, overtaking United States and Canada with their 277 million users in the opening quarter of 2008. With 70 million connections in 2007, the Continent became the fastest growing region in the world, representing a growth of 38 per cent, ahead of the Middle-East (33 per cent) and the Asia-Pacific (29 per cent).It was also revealed that the fastest growing markets are located in northern and western Africa, representing altogether 63 per cent of the total connections in the region. The record showed that Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana and South Africa are highly competitive markets in the Region. The record further contends that two-third of Africa’s telephony are in their early phase of development, with penetration rates below 30 per cent at the end of 2007.In percentage terms, it was noted that Africa is the fastest growing market in the world, but also the second smallest in terms of connections after Middle-East.

As Nigeria accounts for 57 per cent of the West Africa mobile phones, the country is acknowledged as the leading and the fastest growing telecom market in Africa. With mobile phone users at 44,932,181 and 734,444 for GSM and mobile CDMA respectively, her contributions to West Africa and Africa’s telecommunication growth can not be overemphasized. While the overall economic growth rate stands at 7% per annum, the mobile telephony is about 35-50%. Assuming that each of these connections was busy for a minute in a day, the country telecoms market has the capacity to generate over USD 16 million per day (USD16, 666,667) and close to USD 6 billion per year (USD 5,833,333,300). This is why telecom companies such as Visafone and Etisalat quickly joined the likes of MTN, Globacom, Celtel and other telecoms service providers in exploiting opportunities in the country.

Early this year, one of the main GSM service providers with a subscriber base of over 15 million announced a profit after taxation of USD650 million (78 billion naira) for the year 2007.Putting all these together, one can easily understand Toure’s submission describing Nigerian telecoms market as the best investment destination in Africa.

Recognizing the fact that the Nigeria telecoms industry is enormous and there is need to further exploit the sector to its fullest, the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of State for Information and Communications have made their positions clear by extending invitation to global investors for active participation in the sector as they are willing to grant pioneer status and license for prospective applicants for various undertaking such as Fixed telephony, Mobile telephony, Fixed satellite (VSAT),Paging, Payphone, Internet and other value added services.

With the above facts, one can safely conclude that Nigerian telecom sector offers fantastic and lucrative investment opportunities to global investors. And putting into consideration 40% GSM market growth rate in the first quarter of this year (2008), there is potential for high return on investment in this sector.

Agriculture, the dominant sector of Nigeria economy, engages about 70 per cent of the population directly and provides nearly 88 percent of non-oil foreign exchange earnings. It contributes about 41 per cent of the GDP of the country. The sector recorded an overall growth rate average of 7 per cent in the last three years, a major improvement from under 3 per cent in the 90’s.

Statistically, 91 million hectares of the country’s total land area of 92.4 million hectares is adjudged to be suitable for cultivation. Approximately half of this cultivable land is effectively under permanent and arable crops, while the rest is covered by forest wood land, permanent pasture and built up areas. Among the states, which have the most abundant land, areas are Niger (7.6 million hectares) and Borno (2.8 million hectares).

Agriculture crops in Nigeria are grouped into cereals, root and tuber crops, grains legumes and other legumes, oil seeds and nuts, tree crops, and vegetable and fruits. Governments and the Ministries of Agriculture have made land acquisition easy, encouraged agricultural practices, extended (still extending) invitation to foreign investors and have put in place several incentives to stimulate growth in the sector. Despite, the agricultural potential of Nigeria is barely being tapped and this explains the inability of the country to meet the ever-increasing demand for agricultural products and her rank as 55th in the world (although first in Africa) in farm output.

As the world experiences food crisis and persistent rise in fuel price, the country’s agriculture offers unlimited opportunities for foreign investors and the world at large to provide solutions to these crises. Foreign investors will find investments in cultivation of sugar cane, sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch (corn/maize), palm oil, soybeans, jatropha, and algae. These products are lucrative as they are potential for biofuels, a good substitute for fossil fuel. Presently, there is a very high demand for these crops from the developed economies.

Solid Mineral is another sector with great investment opportunities. Nigeria is endowed with numerous mineral resources. Recent policy reforms have brought the solid minerals sector to the fore. The emphasis is on encouraging massive foreign investors’ participation in this sector as less than 0.5 per cent is contributed to the Gross Domestic Products from Solid mineral sector. However, the Ministry of Mines and Steel and the Ministry of state’s focal attention in the last one year is to strategically place the country in a better position to explore and exploit just seven minerals in the plethora of minerals so as to increase Gross Domestic Product to 5 per cent within the next few years. The seven strategic minerals are coal, bitumen, limestone, iron-ore, barite, gold and lead / zinc.

Coal can be found in Enugu, Benue and Kogi. Within these three districts 396 million metric tones can be demonstrated using JORC classification criteria, while an additional 1,091 million tones of inferred and hypothetical coal resourced for the areas studied is 1481 million tones.

Knowing fully that development of coal will assist in the realization of energy, the Government and the Ministries are inviting foreign investors to participate actively in the exploration and exploitation of the mineral. Companies such as Denver Resources and Western Metals have already committed US$10 million and US$15 million respectively for two coal fields in the country. Another Chinese firm, Grid Xin Yuan International Investment Company that is providing more than half of China’s electricity needs is also in the country, indicating their interest in the development of a coal field in Kogi State.

The Bitumen reserve in the country is estimated at more than 27 billion barrels of oil equivalent while iron-ore is estimated at over 5 billion inferred reserves with presence in Kogi, Enugu, Niger, Zamfara and Kaduna States. Gold in just 10 locations is estimated at 50,000 ounces, barites 10 million metric tones and limestone at 2.3 trillion reserves.

Talc with an estimated reserve of over 100 million tones can be found in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Kwara, Ogun, Taraba and Kaduna States.The colour of the Nigerian talc varies from white through milky-white to grey. The talc industry represents one of the most versatile sectors of the industrial minerals in the world. The exploitation of the vast talc deposits in Nigeria would therefore satisfy not only the local demands but also that of the international market as well.

The national demand for table salt, caustic soda, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide exceeds one million tones. A colossal amount of money is expended annually to import these chemicals. There are salt springs at Awe (Platue State), Enugu, and Uburu ( Imo State), while rock salt is available in Benue State. A total reserve of 1.5 billion tones has been indicated. Government, to ascertain the quantum of reserves, is now carrying out further investigations.

In the same vain, large bentonite reserves of 700 million tones are available in many states of federation ready for massive development and exploitation, over 7.5 million tones of barite been identified in Taraba and Bauchi states, and an estimated reserve of 3 billion tones of good kaolinific clays has also been identified.

Gemstone mining has boomed in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi States for years. Some of these gemstones include Sapphire, Ruby, Aquamarine, Emerald, Tourmaline, Topaz, Gamet, Amethyst, Zircon, and Fluorspar, which are among the best in world. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investment. Understanding that this sector requires urgent investment, the Ministry has directed miners who are still in small artisan levels to form cooperatives so as to benefit from World Bank US$10 million assistance. Apart from this, three Nigerian Banks have also established solid minerals desk with fund of over US$ 8 million each for the development of the sector.

Foreign investors will find this sector worth-investing on as Nigerian governments have put in place various incentives and strategies for investment such as 3-5 years tax holiday, deferred royalty payments, possible capitalization of expenditure on exploration and surveys, extension of infrastructure and provision of 100% foreign ownership of mining concerns.

Recognizing that only a sustained macroeconomic environment and a sound and vibrant financial system can propel the economy to achieve the country’s desire to become one of 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020, on the July 6, 2004 the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under the leadership of its Governor, Professor Charles Soludo launched a 13-point reform agenda to restructure, refocus and strengthen the Nigerian Financial System. To complement this agenda, another comprehensive long-term reform agenda for the Financial System (the Financial System Strategy 2020-FSS2020) was launched. The grand objectives of these agendas are substantially being achieved. The country financial system now comprises of strong, efficient and internationally competitive banks with an eye for global markets, a capital market with highest returns on investment, in dollar terms, a sound and rewarding insurance industry and other competitive financial participants.

Gordon was right in his submission to have described Nigeria as the most dynamic market in Africa. His view that “foreign investors, who will be patient enough to weigh the Nigerian Financial System on the credit risk perspective relative to the global event, will find the nation’s financial sector more interesting to invest and raise funds from” x-rays the truth about the country’s financial sector.

The country’s banking system is the safest and the soundest it has ever produced in history. It is the fastest growing banking system in Africa and one of the fastest in the world. In fact, the most outstanding contribution towards realization of the country’s dream came from this sub-sector. Economic analysts have observed that it has taken Nigeria less than 3 years to achieve what it took South Africa 20 years to achieve in the area of banking. In a short word, a world-class banking system has emerged in Nigeria.

Statistically, banking sector contributes 10 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and represents 60 per cent of the stock market capitalization, while there was a reduction in the number of banks from 89 to 25, the number of banks branches rose by 33 per cent from 3383 in 2004 to 4500 in 2007. The total asset base of banks rose by 104 per cent from $ 26.8 billions ( 3.21 trillion naira) in 2004 to $54.7 billion ( 6.56 trillion naira) by mid 2007; capital and reserves rose by 192 per cent from $2.72 billion (327 billion naira) to $7.98 billion ( 957 billion naira); capital adequacy ratio rose by 42.6 per cent, point from 15.18 per cent to 21.6 per cent and ratio of non-performing loans total loan improved massively by 51.3 per cent, point from 19.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent. The sector has also remained one of the most profitable in the country’s capital market. It was noted that 13 out of 21 quoted banks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange recorded returns in excess of 100 per cent since January 2007.

According to the April 2008 edition of the African Business, (the best-selling Pan-African Business Magazine published in London) 18 out of 28 West African Companies with market capitalisation of more than $1 billion are Nigerian Banks. The magazine stated that First Bank Nigeria Plc with market capitalization of $7.4 billion remains the largest company in West Africa. Two other Nigerian banks namely Intercontinental Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa (UBA) remain the second and the third largest companies in the sub-region with market capitalization of $6.2 billion and $4.6 billion respectively.

Apparently, the rising tide of banks in the country from all indications has made the sub-sector very attractive, not only to local investors, but also to foreign investors, and in particular, foreign banks. For instance, the consolidation of Regent Bank, Chartered Bank and IBTC to form IBTC Chartered Bank attracted the interest of the Standard Bank Group, the largest financial institution in Africa with a market capitalization of $ 17.8 billion, whose subsidiary Stanbic Bank, also of South Africa has just sealed a Merger deal for the latest Merger in the country, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc. In this direction, other foreign banks have started making enquiries with CBN of a possible Merger or take-over.

To further substantiate the opportunities the banking sub-sector offers the global investors, a cursory look into Intercontinental Bank Plc will reveal the success of banking system in the country. Intercontinental Bank Plc is known to be the second largest companies in West Africa to have recorded a phenomenal growth in gross earnings, which stood at $1.45 billion ( 173.5 billion naira) in 2008. This is an increase of 99 per cent over the $728 million (87.4 billion naira) in 2007, profit after tax grew by 102 per cent to $380 million ( 45.6 billion naira) as against $188 million (22.6 billion) in 2007, while the capital base rose to $1.67 billion from $1.31 billion. The bank deposit base soared to $8.75 billion ( 1.05 trillion naira), an increase of 126 per cent from $3.9 billion (468 billion naira) in 2007, while the total assets also recorded a quantum leap to $14.2 billion (1.7 trillion naira), representing a growth of 108 per cent from $6.86 billion( 823 billion).

The bank is also in strategic partnership with BNP Paribas, the world leading energy financing bank, Afrexim Bank; Export Development Canada (EDC); Finance for Development (FMO); China Exim Bank; Export-Import of United States; International Finance Corporation in financing projects in different sectors of the economy. However, it is relevant to say that the success recorded by Intercontinental bank is a good example of the Nigerian banks’ strength and prospects, and a testimony to opportunities available to global investors in the country’ financial sector.

Apart from the above, Nigerian Capital Market offers viable opportunities as it is positioned to help companies to raise capital, and to generate high returns on investment. Its total market capitalization has grown by over 4000 per cent to $100 billion (12 trillion naira) in March, 2008, up from $2.39 billion (287 billion naira ) in August 1999.Among emerging markets, the Nigerian Capital market remains one of the most viable in terms of returns on equity. Historically, the market has delivered 28 per cent returns.

Insurance industry is not an exemption to this growth and development the country’s financial sector is witnessing. Although there are few black spots on the regulatory handling, the industry has equally recorded success in their reforms and operations. With the inflow of robust capital, insurance companies are now faced with the challenges of delivering returns to shareholders, maximizing value and exploring overseas markets. Their presence can be felt in countries like Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome, South Africa among others.

Although Goldman Sachs’ report titled “New Market Analyst” with issue number 08/09 released on March 13, 2008 (cited in the Thisday newspaper March 19,2008) posited that Nigeria is a better economy than South Africa, International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that Nigeria and South Africa got close to 50 per cent of the $53 billion private equity and debt flow to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2007. This underscores the growing confidence of International bodies and foreign investors in country’s financial sector and economy at large.

Furthermore, Fitch Rating Agency and the Standard and Poor rated Nigeria BB-(minus) in the area of sovereign credit, high in development of local currency debt market, and low in the areas of debt to GDP ratio and inflation. The opportunities for growth in Nigeria financial sector are still strong as the underlying fundamentals driving the growth are still present. All these and more, position the financial sector and the country at large as a leading and most dynamic market in Africa and present viable investment opportunities to global investors.

Needless to say that the opportunities presented above are typical examples and an evidence of opportunities awaiting foreign investors in other sectors of the economy.

Nigeria is the largest producer and exporter of oil in Africa (although recently placed second behind Angola in the latest OPEC report as a result of Niger Delta Crisis) with a production of 2.5 million barrels and above a day. Besides, the Nigeria is the 7th world’s gas reserve holder and the highest flaring nation in the world, with the potential to become a major player in LNG export. It has annual gas flares’ capacity to generate over 12000 MW of electricity needed to catalyze the growth of any economy. Although it currently flares an average of 1.2 TCF of gas annually, the sector has the potential to generate great returns on investment.

One of the greatest opportunities awaiting foreign investors is Real Estate / Property. For instance, Lagos Metropolis with a population of about 18 million has attained mega city status. The State has one of the highest urbanization rates in the world according to the World Bank. Consequently, there is an insatiable demand for housing delivery, which has necessitated the introduction of the New Private Estate Developers Scheme. Under the programme, the government will make large parcels of land ranging from 1 to 25 hectares available to corporate organizations capable of undertaking development and delivery of housing units. Such organization must however demonstrate that they have the financial capacity and technical expertise to deliver quality and affordable housing units.

Among other sectors of the economy that foreign investors will find viable and worth-investing on are Transport, Sport and Entertainment, Tourism, Power and Steel, Export Processing Zones, Privatization. And available records reveal that the rate of returns in these sectors is as high as in the sectors discussed above.

Apart from the opportunities mentioned above which our office is strategically positioned to maximize opportunities for the benefit of prospective investors. We also offer consultancy services in the areas of general management, manufacturing, marketing, finance and accounting, personnel, research and development, packaging, administration, international operation, specialized services and other value-adding services. And our strategic partnership with national and international companies put us in position to deliver quality service and high returns on investment.

Nevertheless, there have been fears raised by international observers, agents and bodies that Nigeria is a high-risk nation for investment and other business transactions. This development is attributed to security, multiple taxation, epileptic power supply, bad roads and poor work environment.

It may appear that doing business in Nigeria is challenging because of the activities of a few untrustworthy Nigerians who are unscrupulous. But such are simply characterization of human nature; as it can be found anywhere else in the world. It must be said emphatically that the world has been biased in their judgment and treatment of Nigeria security issue. There have never been terrorist attacks, suicide bombings or kidnapping until recently when the issue of Niger Delta came on board.

Niger Delta region-the source of nation’s oil wealth- has become an area of perennial tension, agitation, and recently, militancy. However, a confluence of factors such as environmental damage by oil exploitation, failure to develop the region, lack of job opportunities and sense of deep deprivation from the low share of derivation revenue accruing to the states in the region, has led to the present situation. Acknowledging their situation, the Federal Government has organised a Summit, to be chaired by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the United Nations Under Secretary General, to provide everlasting solution to the crisis. Frankly speaking, Nigeria is a safe and investment-friendly place and Nigerians are accommodating and industrious.

Cyber Crime is another fearsome crime, which often put-off prospective investors from involving or investing in the business opportunities in Nigeria. This crime was actually imported into the country by expatriates. It has never been part of Nigeria culture. It is perpetrated by a few section of the population. Their operations are carried out via Internet and their targets are people who transact business via the medium. They pose as government officials and sometimes as businessmen with United Kingdom identity who deal in digital products. However the list of their tricks and operations is not exhaustive. With the help of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Commission (ICPC), and other Anti-Criminal Agencies, Cyber Crime and their perpetrators are under control and disappearing.

The grand objective of the present administration, as encapsulated in VISION 2020, is to make Nigeria a major industrial and economic power, and one of the 20 largest economies in the World by the year 2020 by providing enabling investment and business environment and maximum security for active participation of local and particularly, foreign investors. The realization of these aspirations had informed the radical and pragmatic reforms designed to increase the attractiveness of Nigeria’s investment opportunities and foster the growing confidence in the economy. In this direction, the Federal Government has provided incentives and strategies for investment such as 3-5 years tax holiday, deferred royalty, possible capitalization of expenditure and provision of infrastructures such as road and electricity, just to mention a few.

African economy is witnessing the strongest growth in 30 years; no doubt, Nigeria is one of the major contributors to this development. Most commentators have observed that the opportunities for business and investment in the country look increasingly rosy with GDP growth of 7 per cent in 2007 and 13 per cent in the next 12 years. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast of 9 per cent growth rate for Nigeria in 2008 (which is second to India 10 per cent and ahead of China 8 per cent) lays credence to their observations.

Furthermore, the increase in Foreign Direct Investment, the entrance of multinational companies, the strong financial sector, the favourable and tremendous business environment, the government support, the abundant natural resources, and the population of over 140 million people, among others, put Nigeria in a comparative ( and possibly absolute) advantage over other African countries.

Just as it is difficult to ignore China as a market in the global arena, (one out of every five persons in the world is Chinese) so is it very difficult to ignore Nigeria as a market in Africa (one out of every three persons in Africa is Nigerian). With a population of over 140 million people and its economic potential, Nigeria still remains Africa most important market.

IMPACT OF GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS IN A DEVELOPING ECONOMY

Unlike China and India, African economy(developing economies) is yet to be integrated into the world economy. This is as a result of slow rate of integration and globalization at which the economy is being fixed into the global economic and financial system. Consequently, developing economies will only suffer a limited financial impact from the credit crunch. However, this is not to say that developing economies are in isolation and totally free from the crisis.

To grant a point, this paper will continue to use Nigerian economy for its analysis as it represents a paradigm of a developing economy with valid and considerable variables.

According to the report from a recently concluded Bankers Committee Meeting, which ended on October 20 th, 2008 , the Nigerian banks are safe as they operate at 22 per cent capital adequacy ratio( 14 per cent above the world 8 per cent requirement) and the financial sector is far from being affected by the current global financial crisis. The report also posits that any bail-out scheme is unnecessary as the situation that warranted bail-out schemes in developed economies- poor quality assets and heavy loan losses resulting from exposure to inadequately collateralised mortgage loans- is absent in Nigeria. To underscore its point, the report noted that, as the Direct Foreign Investment in Nigerian banks is comparatively low and the banks connection with their foreign counterparts is loosely fixed, the impact of the crisis will be limited and indirect.

Conclusion

The words of Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, at a meeting in Washington D.C are the corner stones of the concluding thoughts of this paper. He stressed as follow:

We meet at an extra-ordinarily difficult time- a time of uncertainty and insecurity, with a danger that those fears push us away from- not towards- a more inclusive and sustainable globalization….At its best, multilateralism is a means for solving problems among countries, with the group at the table willing to take constructive action together. When multilateralism is dysfunctional, globalization can be a Babel of Tower, with competing national interests colliding to benefit none. The new multilateralism, suiting our times, is likely to be a flexible network, not fixed system. It needs to maximize the strengths of interconnecting actors, public and private, profit-making and civil society Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The multilateralism must respect state sovereignties while solving interconnected problems that transcend borders…The private sector cannot restore confidence on its own. Macroeconomic policy measures by governments cannot restore confidence on their own. Piecemeal measures on financial markets will not restore confidence on their own. What will restore confidence is government intervention which is clear, comprehensive and cooperative among countries..The world must act quickly, forcefully and cooperatively to contain the ongoing financial and economic downturn.

Thus, the position of this paper is that the confidence will only be restored if “government intervention which is clear, comprehensive and cooperative” is complemented with investment in developing economies with less or no crisis impact as “flexible multilateralism” and cooperative and sustainable globalization is solution that suits our time, not” economic isolationism”.

How the Money Changes Could Manipulate Entire Economies

Understanding money changes and how money is used to work for the individual is important and something that should not be considered lightly as it is something that can help one to foresee future economic problems and problems that are identified in the economy. Throughout history the power to control money and the power over banks has been fought over and in fact there have been entire wars that have been waged on these principals and beliefs alone. Further the economy is based on the overall ability of the government to be able to use the consumer’s money in order for there to be able to be some type of rate of duplication or overall problem manipulation. Economies of smaller countries could easily be manipulated when the value of a dollar changes. This means that when the government chooses to print new money and put new money into circulation that has not yet been backed in gold then the economies of smaller and less powerful companies are the ones that suffer the most.

These economies rely on the dollar and how that money plays into things and how much that money is worth. So when the money is worth less then their entire economy is worth less and thus it makes their economies less likely to be successful and more likely to crash or have other financial problems. So therefore economies from other parts of the world are falling in part because of the economic issues that have been seen in the United States. So therefore there are many things that should be considered with the overall interest of the economy when new money is being printed or when money is being changed in some way.

These other economies can not handle the things that are occurring with the changes in money as they are not as big or as strong as the American economy. Further the American economy has a big part of the world economy and often when economy issues occur with the American economy then the economies of other countries tend to follow. If stable economies are struggling and having problems then it is no wonder that smaller less sophisticated economies have bigger problems and are unable to handle things as they struggle through them.

Some of the questionable activities that are done by the Federal Reserve Bank are the creation of new money without the gold backing. This is considered questionable as there is nothing to back this new money so although more and new money is being put back into the economy there is still no reason for this and there are those who believe that this is one of the biggest economic mistakes that can be made. Even with other money changes there are several things that could be improved in order to stabilize the economy and what is going on in the economy and although these seem as though they are small changes for the American economy it is no wonder that there are serious problems for those smaller economies that rely on the value of the American dollar.

How to Create a Thriving Economy by Using the Law of Attraction

A couple of my students recently made it their personal intention to help the U.S. economy to thrive once again and to be better than ever by using The Law of Attraction to imagine the economy as they wish it to be. By using Feel It Real! techniques, they both quickly manifested positive news media stories regarding the U.S. economy within a few days of their initial intention. They have since turned this Thriving Economy Intention into a project of theirs. Every day they intend for the economy to thrive and shine better than ever before.

Feeling It Real! is a form of Law of Attraction that says we attract our reality to us by how we’re focusing/feeling. If we’re focusing on what we want and getting into the feeling place of having what we want, we’ll attract it. We create our entire reality, including how the economy is showing up in our lives, by the feelings and thoughts we focus on all day long. So if you believe in The Law of Attraction and you want to help create a thriving economy once again, here are six tips to help get you started.

Tip #1- Stop Watching/Listening/Reading Any Negative Economy News Stories For Thirty Days Straight: In order to get a clear vision for imagining what we do want (In this case a thriving economy), we need to take our focus off of what we don’t want long enough to imagine our desire fulfilled. If we do a bunch of visualizing and feeling like the economy is flowing with abundance and then we turn around and watch a lot of negative news stories, it’s like drinking a diet soda after eating an entire pizza by ourselves. The soda isn’t going to do much good. We need to “un-stimulate” ourselves from the negative outcomes so that we have a more fertile imagination for the desires we want to manifest. You can watch and read other news stories (if you want) but when it comes to the economy, you’re on a diet from all the negative stories!

Tip #2-Think of a Time in U.S. History When Our Economy Was Thriving and Flowing With Abundance. If you don’t remember a time like this (because You were too young, etc.) then ask others who do remember a time like this what it was like for them to live with this kind of economy. Think about how it felt to have such an abundant economy with so much surplus and more than enough. Really try to activate those emotions in your body of what that kind of economy felt like or would feel like had you lived at that time.

Tip #3- Vividly Imagine A Positive News Story Using Currently Popular Newscasters Where They Announce Over And Over Again How Well The Economy is Doing/How Things Have Turned Around For the Better/etc. Do this three minutes a day for thirty days in a row. The more vividly you imagine this scenario and the more often you do it, the more powerful an effect you will have vibrationally on the economy. Try to see the outfit that Diane Sawyer is wearing as she speaks of the ‘best economy the U.S. has ever enjoyed.” See Katie Couric’s excitement as she talks about the newly booming economy, etc.. Do this for three minutes a day every day for thirty days.

Tip #4- Get into the Feeling Place of Already Living in The Best Economy Imaginable right now. Ask yourself What Ten Emotions You Would Feel if You were Living In The Best Economy of All Time. Many Law of Attraction teachers don’t focus as much attention on the feelings you would have if your desire had manifested, but at Feel it Real we believe it’s the most important aspect of manifesting our desires. When we can vividly imagine the feelings we would have when our dreams have come true, we not only activate new chemical responses in our bodies, we also send off new vibrational signals that attract our desires to us more quickly. The more powerful our emotional intensity, the faster we will attract our desire to us. Write down the ten emotions you would feel if the economy was booming (i.e. abundant, safe, ease, flow, security, wealthy, freedom, etc.) and then imagine things that help you to feel these feelings all day long for thirty days straight.

Tip #5- Be Grateful For What is Going Right With the Current Economy/Government/Flow of Abundance in The United States. Notice every little and big thing that makes you smile or gives you hope about our economy and government. It’s an epidemic in our country to focus constantly on what’s wrong with everything. What’s wrong with our bodies, what’s wrong with our health, what’s wrong with our mates, what’s wrong with our finances, and, of course, what’s wrong with our government. This unfortunately only attracts more things not to like since the Law of Attraction says “Whatever you focus on expands.” Even if there are many things about the current economy or Government that you would like to change, by dwelling on the problem, you are not a part of the solution. We need to plant our desires in the fertile ground of gratitude. When we find something that is going well with our economy, our government, our country, we flow abundant and healing energy to the entire system. So every day for the next thirty days, write down three things you appreciate about your economy, your economic structure, your political structure or your country in general. You will notice a shift in your own frequency and moods first and then you will notice the economy reflecting your positive energy back to you.

Tip #6- Put a Positive Spin On Why The Economy Was Challenged In The First Place So Your Improved Attitude Raises The Vibration of The Situation. Shakespeare once said, “Nothing is good or bad. But thinking makes it so.” It’s not the events of our lives that maks us happy or sad so much as our interpretation of those events. When we can put a positive spin on a challenging situation, we immediately bring a higher vibrational frequency to the table, thus positively influencing the outcomes. There’s always a gift to be found, even in negative situations. Can you find the gift in the current challenge? Write out three possible positives that could come from this current Ecomomic Challenge. For example, you could say, “I never really appreciated how prosperous our country was until it felt challenged. I can really appreciate the good times in a whole new way now!” etc.

Follow these six tips for the next thirty days and then notice as the shifts take place in the outer world based on your frequency. Remember, you are creating your entire reality, including how the economy looks right now in the outer world. You can recreate it in a moment! Yes, you are that powerful!

Love and Magic, Denise

Has the Economy Drained Your Relationship Account?

It’s absolutely no secret that the economy is in the pits. CNN reports America has suffered the worst job loss rate since 1945, post WWII. Fast forward to 2009 and the facts read as follows; over 6 million jobs lost, and the unemployment rate is 7.2%. So much for a “booming” economy… the bubble has absolutely burst!

We know how the downturn of the economy is impacting our savings accounts and 401k plans but how is this drowning economy affecting relationships across the board? STRESS is the strong emotion that surfaces when most people share the words economy and relationship in the same sentence. I’ll share with you what I know the economies impact on relationships in addition to sharing some “economical” tips to help your relationship through the recession.

The Married Life-

How’s the economy impacting marriages?

An economy in a recession can put extreme amounts of stress on a couple. If there is loss of one income in a two income household, the pressures of survival are magnified. If salaries are cut by employers, lifestyles are altered in addition to the “love connection” between two people. When the bills keep pouring in, love and love alone isn’t going to get them paid.

So how is the economy really impacting the world of relationships? Although, stress levels may be peaked in relationships across the country, divorce rates are actually decreasing. Due to a lackluster economy and unstable job security, couples are deciding to “work it out” in their marriages and stay together for “financial” support purposes. In other words, divorces cost money, and right now isn’t the time to take on the expense and added stress of dividing assets, time off work for court appearances, and of course you can’t forget attorney fees as well. The bottom line is that couples are realizing that their “bottom line” i.e., 401ks, shared money market accounts, shared real estate have been severely impacted by the downturn of the economy. It’s cheaper, smarter and less stressful to stay together and higher a Relationship coach to improve your relationship. The following are a few tips to weather the economic and marital storm you may be dealing with during a recession:

1. Re-connect and Re-invest in one another- At this point you may not be in the best position financially but, the situation may offer a silver lining for your marriage. It could be because you’ve been so disconnected from each other that you’ve forgotten how to meet ones mental, physical and emotional needs. Staying together for financial purposes could also offer you the chance to re-discover each other and start re-investing in the relationship you once had that brought you together in the first place.

2. Seriously…higher a coach! The situation you’re in is already stressful and now do to financial strains you’re forced to stay under the same roof. Perhaps getting support from a professional third party could be a great way to turn things around in your marriage. Coaching is a powerful practice and is solely used to move people forward in life in a positive, progressive manner through support, validation, acknowledgment of feelings and asking empowering questions. The answers are within you and a coach will help you pull them out.

3. You already know what you can’t do; now focus on what you can do during these tough times. The stock markets and the economy and the layoffs are all things you absolutely can not control. Stop stressing over it! Step back and look at the positives in your situation and focus on those. This will help you both relieve stress and anxiety over matter you can’t control and, gain confidence and appreciation for the successes (no matter how big or small) you have. Before you know it, the both of you could be smiling and again and on the upside of a 2nd chance at happiness with each other.

The Dating Scene-

How’s the economy affecting the dating scene?

It’s interesting to say the least. One might immediately believe that since the economy is deteriorating that dating would falter as well. I suppose it depends on the type of person you like to date or what you’re used to when you take someone for a date. For example, if you’re a person worked for Merrill Lynch and your standard date involves pricy cocktails, appetizers, a four star entrée, topped off with an evening of dancing and a carriage ride in central park but, now you’re in a two bedroom apartment with three roommates looking for work, dating may be a challenge for you at this time. If you’re a woman and you’re used to similar expectants, well, dating may a bit challenging for you too.

However, all things considered just because the economy is bad it doesn’t mean dating has to go out of the window. In fact, some sources report (marketplace.com) that typically when the economy is struggling, most people search even harder for a mate to connect with, someone who cares about them and their needs. According to eHarmony, Match.com and other popular online dating sites, business is booming. Some are seeing double digit growth in their business because of the recession. It makes sense, when the economy is flourishing everybody is working, so there’s no time to date. When people are being laid off on any given day, there’s plenty of time to date. In addition, online dating sites allow people to connect through various vehicles of communication i.e., chat, email, or via phone. There’s opportunity to make a true connection before you ever meet the person face to face. This cuts out all of the expenses of a typical date. Two people can match up online, make a connection, meet for the first time and rent a movie from Blockbuster. Sounds like a pretty good deal! Allow me to share with you a few simple and economical tips on dating during a recession:

1. Meet someone you like and just be yourself (not much explanation needed there)

2. Think outside of the box! Dating doesn’t have to be about fancy restaurants and bright lights. When you meet someone and the two of you have a nice connection, plan for a picnic somewhere the two you have never gone before. It’ll be a great way for your connection to get stronger.

3. Have fun! Don’t let reduced income or economic instability prevent you from living your life. It’s best to control what you can control and work with the finances and other resources that are available to you. Show your new friend a good time and include yourself as well.

Life has a funny way of working things out. The economy at one point was shaking and moving, rocking and rolling, and because there were many things that were mismanaged, poorly handled, overlooked, and ignored it ultimately collapsed. Now, with hopes and efforts of rebuilding the economy to be better and stronger than before, most of the attention is being focused on it. The fact is, the economy will readjust and bounce back. Relationships are very similar. Often, people become consumed will all of the rocking and rolling so much that many things in our social lives and marriages get mismanaged, poorly handled, overlooked, and ignored until ultimately they collapse. Make your relationships “recession proof”. Take the time and readjust your life so you may enjoy it with the one you love for a lifetime.

Fiscal and Monetary Policy, and How They Affect the Economy and You

The key to a smooth running economy is having sound fiscal and monetary policies. We need policies that can be changed over time to better serve our economy as a whole. The United States economy has had its ups and downs, and the economy is definitely in a downward period now, but fiscal and monetary policies can be adjusted to fit what is best for the United States. To really understand the United States economy and understand the issues arising in the news lately, an understanding of the basic concepts behind fiscal and monetary policies is necessary.

Fiscal and Monetary polices are tools that the Federal Reserve Bank, and the government uses to help keep the economy running smoothly. The United States has had periods of hard economic times since the beginning our country’s establishment. The United Stated has had recessions, but our economy has always been able to come back relatively quickly. The Great Depression during the 1930s started as a recession and bank crisis similar to today, but because of an initial lack of government presence the recession evolved to a depression. This was a big turning point of the United States government when they learned that they needed more than just fiscal policies. The United States realized that monetary policies were just as important as fiscal policies. By having both fiscal and monetary policies it would help to prevent another disaster like the Great Depression.

One of the biggest contributing factors to the great depression was the run on the bank. At the time the government did not have any insurance on personal bank accounts like they do today. As the banks started to get in trouble and the economy was getting bad people started to get scared. People wanted to pull their money out of the banks. As more and more people pulled their money the more desperate the situation. Banks were not prepared to handle the withdrawals, and many banks had to closes their doors. After that the government created a law under monetary policies to insure personal bank accounts so that a run on the banks could be deterred in the future. If a bank goes bankrupt people do not need to worry, deposits are insured by the government.

Fiscal policies are also used by the government to influence the economy based on reaction to current issues and prediction of where the economy is going. The United States government needs to make these accurate predictions to adjust the money flow and interest rates. Increasing the money flow and lowering the interest rates spurs spending which stimulates the economy. When there is more spending there can be more jobs and the United States employment rate will increases.

To create some balance in the economy the United States created the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. These banks are controlled by seven governors and four rotating presidents. There are 12 divisions of the federal bank. This system is commonly referred to as the fed. The fed is independently run with no influence from other government agencies. This is good for the United States because it distributes power to provide a different view of the economy.

The fed has three ways that it can influence the economy. The first way is by buying and selling government securities. Second by setting a required reserve ratio which requires banks to keep a certain amount of cash in the bank at all times. Last is by offering a discount rate or lowering the interest rate. These three tools are very efficient at influencing the economy.

Influencing the economy by buying and selling government securities works through increasing and decreasing the United States money supply. When the fed wants to increase the money supply it buys securities from the banks. This stimulates the economy by increasing the banks money so that they con make more loans to people so that they will make more purchases. When the fed decreases the money supply by selling securities the bank pulls money out of the economy.

The Economy is also affected by the required reserve ratio because this determines the amount of cash a bank needs. The more money the bank has the more loans that the bank can make to their customers. The more loans the bank makes the more purchases that can happen. The more purchases, the more the GDP increase in the economy.

Another way that fed is able to adjust the economy is by the discount rate or interest rate. The interest rate is a big part of the economy and by raising and lowering the interest the fed can control the increases and decreases of GDP. The lower the rate, the more that people will want to borrow money from the bank. These types of loans are generally expensive purchases therefore raising the GDP. A side effect sometimes of adjusting policies can be inflation.

Inflation in the United States economy or any economy is not good. This means that the value of money or the dollar in this case will decrease making it worthless. An example of inflation is when a bottle of milk in 2002 cost one dollar and in 2005 that same size and kind of milk cost three dollars. Inflation creates a huge hardship for the United States government. The economy has to be stimulated successfully without bringing down the value of a dollar.

When inflation starts to increase by too much too fast the government has to slow down the economy. The line between an economy that is productive and one that is infected by inflation can easily blur. This means that it is hard to tell what is too much help is and what is too little help from the government, making it controversial to the average person. Some people say that taxation is the key to controlling the inflation, but others think that inflation can not really be controlled by the government.

Using these tools of fiscal and monetary policy the government can predict and help stabilize the economy in the United States of America. No one can see the future but the government can make educated prediction about the economy. As our society changes our economy will change as well and fiscal and monetary policies will change with it. There is no perfect system for stable economics but the more experience economist gain the more efficient our fiscal and monetary policies become in the economic world.

United Airlines Retains Economy Plus Seats on Flights

United Airlines will continue with the Economy Plus® seating arrangement on its flights. There had been apprehension over the future of these seats right since the merger plan was announced between United Airlines and Continental Airlines. However, it has emerged that United will not only retain these seats, but even install them aboard the aircrafts of Continental Airlines, which is projected to take effect from 2012. As of now, travellers can go ahead and buy a ticket with United for the spacious and comfortable Economy Plus seats.

Features of Economy Plus Section and Future Plans

The Economy Plus seats of United Airlines are very popular with passengers who seek cheap flights with the airline. These seats which are a feature of the airline’s cheap Economy Plus section are more spacious and comfortable.

  • United introduced Economy Plus seats aboard its flights in 1999. These seats increase legroom space by up to 5 inches.
  • Elite class Mileage Plus® members of United and OnePass® elite members of Continental do not have to pay extra charges and can avail the benefit on all flights offering Economy Plus seating.
  • Right now, there is no Economy Plus seating option with Continental, but the airline will be refurbished with an Economy Plus class in the future. However, Continental does offer its own version of extra legroom seats.
  • Presently, United passengers can also enjoy the Economy Plus benefits on their cheap flights with over 150 larger regional jets of United Express®. In fact, all the 359 mainline aircrafts of United are equipped with these seats and these seats are complimentary for Mileage Plus and OnePass Frequent Flyer members.
  • Economy Plus can be availed while buying tickets, at the airport, during check in, and while viewing reservations through the ‘My Reservations’ section of United’s website.
  • United has voiced plans to introduce Economy Plus on more than 700 mainline aircrafts, including Continental’s mainline aircrafts and the larger regional aircrafts. Once this multi year plan takes shape, United will have 40,000 Economy Plus seats, which translates as 122,000 Economy Plus seats everyday for passengers booking their tickets with United. Presently, no airline has this capacity.

What Experts Say

Mr Jim Compton, the chief revenue officer of United Continental Holdings, commented upon the occasion in the words, ‘Our customers value Economy Plus and the additional personal space that it provides’. He further said, ‘customers who sit in Economy Plus are significantly more satisfied with their travel experience, as are travelers who choose other options that enable them to tailor their travel to their liking’. Industry experts feel that United’s decision to retain Economy Plus shows that the airline is dedicated towards offering a customised travel experience and creative choices to its passengers.

Candid View About the Positivity in the Pakistan Economy

So here it is, the Crumbling Economy, The Insolvent Country, The Land of Inefficiency.

Really?

Looking at the size of the economy of more than 20 million people, it seems that around $300 billions Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or total output is way too nominal yet the dynamics of the Pakistani economy have to be taken into consideration before arriving to any conclusion.

Often looked over, the major part of Pakistani economy comprises of the undocumented or informal section. It has been a culture to do dealings through the spoken words / verbal promises and thus rarely involving any kind of receipts. Receipts are only involved by big companies / dealers for assisting in the auditing purposes. Thus a large part of economy remains informal and thus undocumented. Many experts are of the view that the actual amount of the Pakistan`s GDP triples if one takes the undocumented economy into consideration, taking the figures to near about a trillion dollars, which is the size of top emerging economies of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore combined.

The saving pattern of the country is whole lot different from that of any Western country. People prefer to keep a major part of their earnings at home for ready use. Banks are avoided by many because of the belief that the “interest” is prohibited in Islam, the religion of the masses. Also large amount of gold is held by many females in their houses or safes, to be bequeathed to their daughters on wedding ceremony.
Tax to GDP ratio is at the lower sides because of poor tax collection system and unwillingness of people to pay taxes yet collection of the charity remains incomparable. The existence of charity organizations like Edhi Foundation, Chippa Foundation and Sylani Welfare Trust remains an awe for many, as it is clear that they definitely requires millions and millions to operate daily. The continuation and ever increasing scale of operations of these types of trust is a bigger food for thought for many economists, as one do not expect such donations from people of a feeble economy.

If the Pakistani economy is so disturbing, why doesn`t the multinationals, the scrutinizers and forecasters of the economic trends, consider shifting their resources away from Pakistan! Or more importantly why aren`t they getting losses. It is a wonder that little or no multinational firm consider leaving Pakistan, once it starts its operations in the country. Take the Capital markets, take the banking sector, take the hotel chains, take the auto industry, take the FMCGs, multinationals are all over, taking large sums away as profits, each year.
And then they complain that Pakistan has an unstable economic system!!

Ever noticed the budget distribution of the country?
Around 60% of the budget is allocated to the Defense sector, the smaller half is being used in every other sector of the economy. Wouldn`t the development be unimaginable if we shift our focus and resources away from the defence sector?
Forget not the fact that many of the advance economies allocate as less as 1% of their budget to the defence sector.

The inflation of the country has been stagnant over the years unlike the economies of many other developing countries. This also proves that the Pakistani economy is not over-immune to the movement of the developed economies. The brilliant example of the adaptability of the country`s economy is the steady growth rate of the economy even during the Oil Price War between OPEC and Russians (2013 onwards).

Pakistan is considered so important globally, that it won`t be wrong to say that Businesses throughout the world secretly admire operating in Pakistan. The “China Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC) is a most recent example of it. The Chinese firms will be investing on projects of more than 46 Billion Dollars within Pakistan, which will surely give a sharp push to the so called lethargic economy. Not only this, but employment would get a go as well. Local industry would also boost without doubt. And most importantly the CPEC would set an example for the whole world by unveiling the true potential and scope of Pakistan`s economy.

About the economic factors within, Pakistan is enriched in Gas, Coal and other natural resources that need to be explored and bring to use.
Perhaps the are being sustained for the future, so they may get the best price of it, once the whole world gets depleted in their resources.

The major population of the country comprises of the youth, and prominent of those are the ones who are pursuing their higher education. Yet it remains a dilemma that they are intentionally or unintentionally being trained to work for others, rather than starting their own ventures. However trends are starting to change, the unemployment has started leading the lot towards taking risks and getting out of their comfort zones. Time is not far when Entrepreneurship becomes a trend within the youth and the emigrants starts to come back to Pakistan.

The political scenario has matured a lot. People have started believing that Democracy is the only solution to the country`s pain. Army is withdrawing its political intentions gradually. Each government is completing its lawful tenure and thus implementation of the economic policies to a medium to long term is becoming much more possible.

Pakistanis are also renowned for their outstanding talent and intelligence They somehow find one way or another to do the things they desire, given the least of the resources. This ability of Pakistanis has made many scientifically impossible things, possible for Pakistan.

Thus it is now clear that Pakistan is not as weak an economy as it is blamed to be, yet it is just the difference in underlying forces of the Pakistan’s economy that disguise its true power. If not an Asian Tiger, than Pakistan is no less than an Asian Horse, whose real strength and position can only be visible when one considers the facts rationally and by looking at the ground realities.

The condition of the Pakistani economy depends on the way you look at it. You may see the doughnut or you may see its hole.

A Centrally Planned Economy – By Definition There Is No Success Allowed

As you might imagine, a centrally planned economy is one where the government plans everything related to the economy of the nation. In a very loosely centrally planned economy, this will include the government becoming a partner of the key businesses in the country. In a very tightly centralized economy, each individual’s occupation is chosen by the government. The question we will answer in this article is; can a person become successful in a country whose government centrally plans the economy?

The way the Soviet Union operated was it controlled everything and all the people in the country, entirely. Not only did the government control all business activities but it also controlled people to the point where it told them what jobs they would fill. In this system, no one was allowed to have any aspirations. It is easy to see, a tightly controlled centralized economy does not allow ordinary folk freedom of any kind.

Another type of similar government is fascism. In fascism, the government controls all industry. In other words, the government is the corporations and the dictators of the government are the CEOs of these corporations. In a non-fascist, loosely controlled centrally planned economy, businesses do exist but the government oversees them and persuades them to do what it wants them to do by giving them tax breaks and punishing them if they do not follow certain regulations. In a tightly controlled centralized economy the government controls business simply by using brute force.

The most important thing to realize about tightly controlled economies is they leave no room for individual freedom. If individuals were free, they could potentially cause a problem for the government because they may assemble and voice their grievances against the government. This would mean the government would have to shut these people up in one way or another or risk losing control over the entire population.

An economy where individuals are free to invest and strive for success is called a free market economy. Only in a free market economy are all people not only allowed but encouraged to become successful. In such an economy, a person is allowed to succeed or fail without government interference. If a person fails, he or she can try again. In this system, many success stories have been written and usually mainstays of such stories are perseverance and belief, whether this belief is in one’s self or a higher power. Having the right to fail is part of living in a free nation.

Living without freedom and without the right to a say how the government will treat its people is living under tyranny. Tyrannical governments and centrally controlled economies go hand-in-hand. In fact, a problem we all should be aware of is the fact tyranny can spring up in any country. It can start when the government tries to control some of its industry, even if it does so without using threat of force. Another sign would be if the country’s leaders openly voiced objection to any group or faction of law abiding citizens.

It is for this reason, we in the United States of America must insist our government treat all of its citizens the same. We must strive for true equality. Rich and poor should pay the same rate of tax. Everyone’s religious rights should be respected and there should be no corporations receiving special favors.

In a truly free nation, the government would not treat any member of any political party, whether Democrat, Republican, Federalist, Whig or Tea, any differently. If the government of a nation were to try to stifle one particular faction from voicing its grievances, it would be very troubling. Of course, this would never happen in the United States; would it?

The point is, a centrally planned economy is not consistent with a free country. Likewise, freedom and opportunity go hand-in-hand. To the extent one exists, so does the other. It is for this reason all freedom loving people, by nature, reject centralized economies.

Your Place in the New US And World Economy

What is next for the economy? The economy defines the boundaries within which all businesses must operate.

Like the lines on the edges of the road, cross at your own risk. All businesses – and therefore all jobs in the private sector – must operate within (“length” and “width”) of these boundaries. Business failures occur when companies fall behind the times and are too far ahead of consumer demand. Likewise, most business sectors have a relatively narrow range of successful operations. It’s hard to survive if you are either the most expensive or cheapest in your market.

The 2010 book from David Wiedemer, PhD, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer entitled “Aftershock” examines the events that created the financial meltdown. In this book and the previous book, “America’s Bubble Economy” the authors make the case that the U.S. economy was an illusion, only the interaction of “bubbles”.

A bubble is created when an asset temporarily booms. The former (pre-2008) U.S. economy was comprised of bubbles in real estate, personal loans, credit card debt, the stock market, and consumer spending. On their own, each bubble can rise independently. But in combination, the bubbles accelerate and reach unnatural levels!

The financial meltdown felt around the world is the consequence of these bubbles popping, or as the authors describe it, a “Bubblequake”. The first stage of the financial meltdown included the fall of the real estate bubble, private debt bubble, stock market bubble, and discretionary spending bubble. On their own, each would have been significant. Combined, these popping bubbles lead to “The Great Recession”.

Amidst the economic turmoil, the U.S. government tried to intervene. Bailouts of automakers and investment banks were designed to compensate for “toxic assets”. Then the government pumped billions into the economy as “stimulus” to try to offset the funds lost to “money heaven” as bubbles popped and wealth simply evaporated.

Looking back, we now know that such efforts were ineffective. The results were a dramatically inflated money supply and a devalued dollar. The aftereffect was that the government soon reached the “National Debt Limit” as a result of spending nearly twice as much as incoming revenue.

The authors label this current stage as the “Aftershock”, defined as the popping of the dollar bubble and the government debt bubble. Their conclusion is that current economic conditions do not simply represent a down market cycle or a typical recession. The difference is the multi-bubble economy, with these inter-linked bubbles ALL on the descent.

The authors also conclude that inflating these bubbles again is simply not possible.

Instead, they predict what is called the “triple double-digit” economy:

 

  • Double-digit unemployment
  • Double-digit inflation
  • Double-digit interest rates

 

All in all, these make up some dire predictions. So what does this mean for you? How will you earn an income in the new, post-Aftershock economy.

The “Aftershock” authors predict:

1. Decreased demand for capital goods, including cars, construction equipment, and major industrial equipment. Lower demand means fewer viable firms and fewer available jobs.

2. Decreased levels of discretionary spending. This affects fine dining, entertainment, travel, fashion, jewelry, art and so on. Less total spending means fewer stores and fewer employees.

3. A decline (just not as drastic) in the “necessities” sector including health care, education, food, and government services. Even these areas will face some pressures to downsize because they are highly dependent on tax revenues. A smaller economy simply produces lower tax revenues. Some programs will simply need to shrink, regardless of the level of “necessity”. Many jobs will be retained, however the wage growth and benefits will necessarily be constrained.

Conclusion: as many as 50% of businesses in some sectors may simply disappear. This means that job losses will be staggering after the dollar and government debt bubbles pop, and there will be a mad scramble for those jobs that haven’t been destroyed. For most people it will be increasingly difficult to find a job – any job – regardless of your qualifications and experience. And for those lucky enough to be employed, keeping a job will mean putting up with less desirable working conditions, benefits, hours, and pay. In fact, as competition for jobs greatly increases, most wages will surely fall. After all the bubbles pop, people will accept wage cuts in most jobs for one simple reason: if they don’t, somebody else will.

By necessity, the government will be forced to live within tax revenue limits. The world economy will not allow unlimited printing of “funny money” to allow for unlimited deficit spending. The quantity of currencies injected by numerous countries will have already added to inflation on a global scale. Too many dollars, yen, euros, etc. will be chasing a declining quantity of goods and services.

The OLD economy is gone; the NEW economy is here.

In 2011 the federal government is overspending revenue by 40%. Even a 10% decrease in the size and scope of the federal government would add hundreds of thousands of additional people to the unemployment roles (including government positions and supporting private suppliers and contractors.) This does not consider the same cascading effects facing state and local governments that have never had the ability to simply print money.

So one of the defining characteristics of the post-dollar bubble economy will be a shortage of jobs. Unemployment levels will be much higher, and people will remain unemployed for much longer. At the same time, businesses will be forced to reduce wages and benefits to remain competitive. Millions of Americans will accept cuts in pay.

Especially hard hit will be younger workers and older workers. Prospective employees under 30 will find it hard to compete against older, more experienced and proven workers. Likewise, workers over 50 will also face extremely high unemployment levels.

At the same time, loss of tax revenue will force the government to tax more and tax deeper. Remaining businesses and employees will be taxed harder! Most will rationalize that 50% taxation is better than not working at all!

Different people will look at the same facts and draw different conclusions. So what do you think? Do you believe the bubbles will miraculously re-inflate and good times are on the horizon? Or do you believe (as the authors of “Aftershock” have detailed) that the old bubble economy is gone and a newer, leaner economy is what we can expect?

I concur with the conclusion that we are now experiencing the “aftershock”. I always knew that an economy based on 20% appreciation in housing values, pensions exceeding 100% of wages while working, whole shopping centers selling completely unnecessary novelties and decorations, and unbridled government deficit-spending had to “pop” eventually.

And yet I am also believe 100% in the viability of the free enterprise capitalist model. So I going to make some suggestions:

First, if you are under the age of 30 or over the age of 50 you are in danger of becoming a statistic. You either need to make yourself invaluable to your current employer or prepare yourself for the high possibility of a layoff.

Second, identify some necessary service or product that you can get excited about!

You have arrived at a “fork in the road”. You have two choices, plus a combination. You can take the wide road and do whatever it takes (training, cross-training, adult education, apprenticeships, etc.) to become superbly trained for the job you have or would like to have. Remember, there are going to be too many people seeking each job. You are going to need be impressive in every way and probably over-qualified to get noticed.

The second option (the “road less traveled”) is to design your own occupation. Now this can be a retail, service, or skilled occupation. Each has its attractions to certain people. My personal choice is to provide a product or service on a nationwide (or even global) basis. Again, these offerings should fall in the category of “necessities” rather than novelties. Luxuries offer a much smaller but profitable niche if you can cater to the affluent.

Even in tough times, fortunes can be made by satisfying needs. The time-proven formula for success is to identify a problem and provide a solution. In the post-bubble Aftershock economy, providing alternative income opportunities is one legitimate solution!

Now owning your own business includes the hassles of regulations and structure that you completely avoid if you stay in the employee category. But your own business also provides a degree of freedom not possible as an employee. The single biggest benefit is that you have no cap imposed on your income, especially if you are selling a product or service and not your efforts by the hour. Operating a business also allows you to deduct expenses before taxes. A higher potential income and tax advantages results in a win-win.

And then there is the combination of the two options, and this may be a viable option for the majority of Americans. If you have a steady job there is added security in building a part-time business on the side. You gain income and can offset a portion of your expenses that are now cutting into your after-tax personal income (such as a home office deduction, travel expenses for errands, office supplies, etc.) You also gain the security of a income cushion if your regular job evaporates or you face a cut in wages.

Of course, many small businesses eventually grow into large businesses. You then have the choice of making your part-time business a new full-time profession, hiring some employees to manage the extra work, or selling the business outright at a profit. Again, many advantages and few disadvantages (if designed with some forethought.)

The “road less traveled” provides increased potential rewards for assuming personal responsibility. At the same time, millions of Americans have learned that “job security” is a contradiction. We have entered the new age of job insecurity in an increasingly lean and competitive global economy.

So where do you start? Here are my recommendations for the ideal business:

1. Unlimited income potential. This is only possible if you are selling a product or service. If you are selling your time, you are limited by the number of hours you can work each day, week, and month. When you stop working you stop earning, and this is true even if you can bill your time at $200 per hour. Also, you want to have at least some products or services which generate repeat sales – unless what you are providing is incredibly profitable in the initial sale. Likewise, if your business allows you to leverage the efforts of others to provide additional streams of income, so much the better!

2. Time and location freedom. The ideal business will take advantage of current technologies and allow you to be located anywhere, and sell to anyone. These technologies will also allow your sales to recorded 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Some products or services may have limitations which restrict the sales area to one location. But many products and services – especially digital products – allow sales to be made on a worldwide basis instantaneously!

3.Small initial investment. While many downsized employees have bought franchises and other fixed location business opportunities, I can not recommend this option. For one, the start-up costs can be very high, literally hundreds of thousands of dollars with no guarantees. Then you are faced with the reality that you have assumed the job of full-time personnel director and you spend all your time either managing employees or hiring their replacements. Instead, I would recommend an opportunity with a low start-up cost. This allows you to begin

part-time. It also means you won’t have to qualify for financing, which may be next to impossible for a new business in the post-bubble economy.

In my opinion, network marketing fulfills all these criteria. There are literally thousands of products and services that are marketing by networking. Combined with the power of the Internet and social media, networking has entered the mainstream and is a viable option for a full-time or part-time business.

Millions of Americans have used network marketing to produce extra income. The company provides all the support functions, from billing and credit card processing to accounting for commissions. Networking includes the creation of a downline that produces additional income. And consumable products provide residual income, often from several generations of customers that you have never even met.

There are no restrictions based on age, experience, location, or net worth to join a networking company. People from all walks of life – including unemployed – have become successful in network marketing. In fact, many thousands of networkers are literally unemployable after experiencing the freedom and income potential of network marketing.

If you decide that networking is right for you, there are countless resources (both free and low cost) that are available to shorten your learning curve and help you succeed! There are also turnkey marketing systems designed to automate the process of locating customers and claiming your slice of the Internet!