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IN the financial year to December 2011, Berger Paints plc management must have had more sleepless nights than normal ones. It was indeed a trying year and there is no way any discerning shareholder can find solace in the fact that, at least, it ended profitably. Yes, the company reported profit before tax within the year, according to the brief on audited figures sent to the stock exchange recently but rest assured this was not from core business. The bulk of it was windfall that may not occur again.

CADBURY Nigeria PLC is certainly yet to catch up with its erstwhile neck to neck competitor, Nestle Nigeria but all shareholders can rest assured, the company is fully back on its feet. The brief on the 2011 financial year sent to the Nigerian Stock exchange recently more than confirms that but there is still one strange question hovering in the air: Is the new Cadbury Nigeria under trading?

For those who may be reading the compound word, under-trading for the first time, perhaps some explanation is necessary. A company is generally considered to be over-trading when it is stretching itself too far wide for the capital base (cash?) on hand to carry. In that case, an under-trading one should be that company involved in too few things for its capital base (again cash?).

LAST week two events occurred that should make many ask the above question all over again. When we are talking of investors' confidence in the stock market, what exactly does this mean?

Firstly, a flier was published in the newspapers that the Nigerian Stock exchange has decided to tinker with its 51 year old quotation rules primarily to ensure that more companies sort quotation and had recourse to access investible funds through the market. In other words, the current management of the market is determined to attract more companies to seek quotation if only to increase the depth of the market.

IT is possible that Stanbic IBTC paid a hefty price while playing very safe in the financial year 2011. Somehow, it was a year that could have ended with far better margins but came up instead with an embarrassing drop in its profit margin even still in the double digit range.

The thing was, according to the brief on the 2011 audited accounts sent to the stock exchange recently, the bank's deposit base grew well enough; gross earnings grew also fairly and most cost heads stayed well under control but a leap in interest expense spoilt the year's brew. This was more impactful because Stanbic IBTC played very safe and pumped the bulk of the money that flowed in safe keeping into treasury bills. These are low yielding, no doubt, but far easier to convert to cash than many other instruments.

THEY actually refer to the same phenomenon. Ripples are more positive because they represent waves generated by an event; an action; an uttered word or more specifically, energy input. On the other hand dominoes as in domino effect refer to fallouts from the same kind of energy input except that for domino effect to be effective, all the objects that will fall in sequence must be aligned before the energy input.

What they do have in common is the reference to after effect of a push or energy input. Both prove to all and sundry that action and reaction are not only opposite, that any energy input travels beyond its starting point or source. In other words, there is nothing any one does in this world that does not disturb its immediate environment.

Hence most social scientists pay attention to dominos and ripples while starting up anything.  It could be what looks like a simple solution to a simple and obvious problem, or a complex response to a nutty problem, what matters Is how ripples or dominoes set off by the decision will affect human behaviour down the line. After all, whether one is talking of repeat orders (marketing and advertising); want satisfaction (economics); resultant behaviour pattern and its immediate impact (Human relations and psychology); the thing is nothing static develops from an energy input. Hence, plans are always best set afoot alongside such inputs to curtail, exploit or ameliorate these while the push is started.

Where this is not done or taken into consideration while a decision or action is being contemplated, then most times dominos and ripples have a way of putting the overall objective in jeopardy or leading the action beyond anticipated boundaries. In most of those times, especially when this is pegged on freedom of choice, jeopardy is more likely than boost.

Somehow, this seems to be a major issue with public sector planning and action in Nigeria, now and in the past. For example, according to reports, just three months into the cashless economy experiment in Lagos, traders are already complaining that point of sale terminals are not available or enough; that network has not been that reliable and that sometimes too, power supply poses a problem. Hence, many customers now walk into favourite shops with ATM cards in their pocket only to be unable to purchase what they want to because there is not link with which to close the deal with money transfer or payment mode verification. This is frustrating on all parties.

Yet, it certainly should have been obvious from day one that the decision to introduce cashless economy will lead to high demand for functional POS terminals; more reliable network and constant power supply. The power supply part could perhaps been left for sellers to provide through stand by generating sets but certainly not the POS terminals and effective networks.

Indeed, good planning ought tp have involved how to attract and establish POS terminals assembly points or factories in the country before the decision to go cashless. If not, the demand soon to follow will lead to new demand for imports atop the nation's already precarious import all importables economy all because petro naira remains in fairly good supply.

Of course, this is just the most recent example of this unpreparedness for dominos and ripples. Over time, the nation has witnessed various attempts to provide houses and homes for growing city populations but has always been without plans for the resultant housing encroachment on the limited eco system to the point that in most of these cities, farmlands where food and cash crops used to be grown have since been overtaken by unplanned city expansions. Yet it would have been possible to even slow down the rate of the encroachment through less emphasis on self- contained bungalows that now dot the whole landscape as all tenants naturally, want to stop being at the mercy of landlords at the earliest opportunity.

Last January, while the President and his team were perhaps well fixated on the imperative for petroleum subsidy removal, they paid little attention to the ripples and dominos most certain to follow especially as someone decided to even smuggle the decision in while Nigerians were away in their villages for the yuletide. To them of course, that the government and by extension, the nation's financial position was heading for grand default on repayment obligations and inability to pay recurrent bills as they fall due, was enough reason to take the drastic action.

However, without any concrete plans for handling the ripples and dominos predictably likely to emerge from this move, they in fact were driving the same nation towards shooting itself in the foot or worse still, descending from frying pan to fire. The resultant effect was the one week plus shut down of the economy and the knee jerk response that has since made it harder to finish with budget 2012 well into March 2012.

Even well intended donations also have ripple and domino effects, as the CBN governor, MallamSanusiSanusi must have since discovered from his decision to donate millions to victim of the Boko Haram carnage in Kano. In fact, simple I do decisions taken by couples at alters and other worship places all over the land, also lead soon enough t ripples and dominos that must be taken care of. At least, soon the couples discover that views from afar are different from views from so up close as couples. Now even pimples and sleeping habits hitherto unnoticed demand some attention and handling.

For Nigeria, making sure that the perceived end is not enough to justify the means, will always pay good dividends because there are so may inadequacies that are most likely to ensure that the expected response from the public does not occur. Or when it occurs, it is more of the unexpected kind like  politicians hijacking polling materials; smugglers and conniving customs gleefully studying newly banned items for opportunities to bring them in through the unofficial routes; like civil servants and political appointees being more concerned with making personal extras from budgets under their control.

We have also found most recently that even security personnel charged with the responsibility to quell threatening violence from the likes of Boko Haram turn around to be protectors  and sponsors of the same group they are expected to check.That it is possible for billions to be voted for combat units only for them to receive only millions and get courtmarshalled to boot when they dare complain. For how long can the oil and gas money continue to support all these?

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