By Aluu Vincent
The Chairman of Ibom Air, Mr Imo-abasi Jacob, has attributed the failure of Nigeria to make meaningful progress to a lack of financial intelligence on the part of her leaders and the citizenry. The financial expert disclosed this as Special Guest Reader at the July 2022 Edition of Uyo Book Club which was held at WatBridge Hotels, along IBB Way. Uyo last Saturday.
Mr Jacob, a 1981 University of Calabar First Class management studies graduate, lamented the present situation where the nation spends more than it generates describing it as an unfortunate and avoidable situation. He said most Nigerian leaders can barely manage their personal finances and hence will not be able to manage public funds without a grasp of the nitty gritty of financial intelligence.
Interfacing with members of the Book Club on “Financial Intelligence” the Guest Reader said that financial intelligence is the ability of an individual or a nation to manage finances efficiently, make money work for you and generate more income.
He said the difference between financially intelligent and unintelligent people lies in how they deploy their finances.
“The financially intelligent person makes income from his assets and not from paid employment. He invests in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. He uses the proceeds to buy assets that will generate passive income for him. The financially unintelligent focuses only on his income which comes on a monthly basis by way of salaries or wages”.
“If you generate income, you decide what to do with it. If you use it for outright expense, then you will remain poor. If you use it to buy cars, get a bigger house, fine clothes and new electronic gadgets, old men’s toys or a vacation, then you will remain poor. But if you chose to get an asset that will produce more income, you are applying financial intelligence”, he advised.
The finance expert noted that Nigeria’s present financial and development malaise is because her leaders failed to apply financial intelligence in managing her finances. He decried a situation where leaders borrow to fund ostentatious lifestyles, pay salaries, and maintain other liabilities instead of investing in education, productive ventures such as agriculture, revamping the nation’s refineries, and fixing the power sector, providing support for the manufacturing sector and boosting entrepreneurship.
He wondered why Nigerian leaders borrow for consumption instead of production. He said if the amount of money borrowed in the last 7 years was invested in education and other productive sectors, the nation would have been on a prosperous lane.
He enjoined Nigerians to inculcate the habit of preparing their budget at home and also ensure they spend based on their budget, wondering how many individuals had personal budgets just as governments at all levels prepare budgets and try to spend based on such budgets.
“With money comes great power that requires knowledge to keep. Expenses will always meet up with income. Save for investment and not for the rainy day. Money not planned for is money soon to be wasted. Spend on assets that will generate more money. Wealth is the measure of money you make from your asset”, the Ibom Air Chairman advised.
On the way forward, Mr Jacob, who is also a Director in Akiicorp said Nigeria must begin to think about production and assets that will generate more funds. He said any nation with a huge appetite for borrowing and spends 97% of its income to service debt will not achieve any progress.
“We must imbibe the culture of savings by reviving the excess crude oil account. We must cut down on the cost of governance; elect leaders who are financially literate and who have excelled in managing funds. We must invest in education, productive ventures and entrepreneurship. We must reduce our appetite for borrowing by spending within our limit” he added.
He lauded Uyo Book Club for its patriotic attempt at reviving the reading culture in Akwa Ibom State and promised to contribute his quota to support the movement.
“Uyo Book Club is not just a reading club but a hub where members are enabled to function properly in society. To survive in 21st century Nigeria, you need the requisite skills set, one of which is reading. A generation that is not interested in reading what is written, will soon lose out completely. I will love to join the Club” he enthused.
Mr Imoabasi Jacob is an accomplished business educationist, management consultant and accountant, having over 35 years of professional experience in the defunct Arthur Andersen as a Partner.
He has served as Executive Director (Operations), at Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, was the President of the Haggai Business School and Managing Partner of Imo-Abasi Jacob & Co [Chartered Accountants. He has also served on the board of the Akwa Ibom Investment and Industrial Promotion Council (AKIIPOC). He is presently on the board of Anchor Insurance Company Limited, Ibom Hotels & Golf Resort, Ibom Fadama Microfinance Bank, Omega Butler Marginal Field Ltd and Akwa Savings and Loans Ltd, Ibom Power Company Limited.