Brexit starts with a ‘B’ and so does a break-up. Break-ups are hard. With no inference on personal experience, they could be devastating to any of the parties involved. They could cripple you and make you feel inadequate. If you are the victim you will question every move you made in a frantic quest to determine where you went wrong.
If you called the shot, you will feel the need to stand by your word and downplay the essence of reasoning with the fear that you may seem weak in the eyes of your partner. Sometimes you realize you were wrong after years. Other times you know just instantly that you made a hasty ‘shitty’ move…the exact precarious position Britain finds itself now.
I am pretty sure you may have heard lately in the news the buzzword, REFERENDUM. Well to those of you who might have skipped your Social Studies lessons on this topic I’ll tell you. A referendum is a two-way vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part to either agree or disagree on a motion. This kind of vote was held on Thursday 23 June. The aim was to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Now this is what has created all the media frenzy we have seen and heard since last week Thursday.
In figures, ‘Leave’ won by 51.9% while ‘Remain’ put up a fight but fell shy of victory with a total of 48.1% of the votes cast. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election ( Source BBC; I couldn’t have known anyway). Hence the word Brexit, a word that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU – merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit.
One baffling discovery after this referendum was that a chunk of the voters had no idea what they were voting for. In the minds of many, they were simply voting to make Britain free. From what? They were unclear but they voted anyway. Another interesting discovery was that many did not even know what the EU was. Neither did they know the implications of leaving.
The main reason why they wanted to leave so badly was very much like the whines of a teenage girl. They said Britain was being held back by the EU. This was based on the fact the EU imposed too many rules on business and charged billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also wanted Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people ‘coming here to live and/or work.’
So now that they have voted to leave, they have to follow a bunch of legal actions and negotiations to formally withdraw from the union. This will take a total of two years to effect. In the interim, until those two years are over, the laws of the EU will still take effect in the UK. The implications of this action though unchartered, are numerous. Think of the EU as a cult. UK will no longer be liable to pay £350’000’000 a week to EU when they leave. On the other hand, you can not leave without repercussions. Looks like they didn’t take any cues from the many Nigerian movies around .
To start with, if UK leaves formally, they may decide to place a work permit restriction on EU states. Instinctively, just like two little boys, there will be political brawl immediately followed by a retaliation. This will keep on for a while. This would translate that you will need a visa to the UK and vice versa. No more visa-free visits of up to 90 days as per the now-to-be-extinct arrangement. So if by fortune you have citizenship in the UK, kiss your visa-free Europe tours goodbye. (Implication; less pressure on social media especially Snapchat and Instagram).
Now this to those of us on the motherland who think we are free from this hocus pocus. I am very sorry to poop on your party. There are certain ramifications on our economy which goes beyond the ancestral connections with the Brits. As global markets plummet, many economies linked to the British Pound will also join in the free fall. The only other country to receive the biggest blow of all is now South Africa. It took a 7% blow to the stomach of the rand . Thus, making it the second worst hit after Britain.
Britain’s exit from the EU couldn’t have come at a worse time for Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. At a time when the government is trying to fix an economy on the brink of a recession by removing strict currency controls and also liberalizing oil prices, the immediate effect of Brexit will test the nerves of Nigeria’s economic managers as global markets plummet.
An exit from the European Union would also have dire consequences for development assistance. The U.K. is one of the biggest contributors to the European Development Fund, the EU’s development assistance arm, which provides funds to developing countries and regions. The U.K. currently contributes £409 million—$585 million— making up 14.8 percent of contributions to the fund.
Just in case you wondering, this is where Ghana comes in. We may benefit from cutting direct deals with Britain for the purposes of trade. But since our beloved nations in the words of Sarkodie lives from “hand to maff” from donor support, this whole Brexit move could be bad news. This is a typical case of someone sneezing in his home and you catching a cold in yours. Our Cedi will bear a hit as usual from this exit and further deteriorate to an extent but once again, he who is down, they say, fears no fall.
Even though Ghana’s Finance Minister Seth Terkper has downplayed the impact of Britain leaving the EU on the economy, I remain skeptical. This is a man with no clear policies tailored to put the nation back on its feet. Same who predicted IMF Bailout was going to resurrect Ghana’s and economy. Again, the same person who sees taxation and floating bonds as the only way to raise money for the national coffers while private individuals owe the nation gargantuan sums of money ( No subbing intended). So forgive me if I have trust issues.
Like all breakup stories, someone always gets hurt but once again what do I know. I am just but your humble Eqow-nomist trying to make use of my Economics degree.