Friday, October 11, 2013

ACHIEVING NIGERIA’S VISION 20-2020, A NEED FOR A NEW ECONOMIC POLICY ORDER August 31, 2011 at 10:54am ACHIEVING NIGERIA’S VISION 20-2020, A NEED FOR A NEW ECONOMIC POLICY ORDER By Rev. Kolade Oladele Olusola Senior Pastor, Abraham's Tabernacle(Baptist International Worship Center Sagamu) As a clergyman who is very much interested in the total “well being” and “being well” of my parishioners and my nation where God strategically positioned me, I watch with keen interest the very many “acrobatic economic policies” of the Nigerian government and the many oratory definitions of our economic challenges by the political and economic elites of my country. Sometimes I feel we are trying to profer answers to the questions we have not taken time to really understand. If Nigeria will truly become a major force to reckon with in terms of economic, social and political development in Africa, then we must go back to our drawing board to recheck the many economic and political issues we are trying to deal with. We need to be sincere and serious as we seek to solve our many economic woes and worries. We need a radical shift from the rhetorical policy formulation to a more pragmatic policy order specifically designed to solve our economic problems and not the western tele-guided policy that will continue to make us junior partner in the global economic arrangement. We need to re-read our history using the African google, and then we can come up with African and Nigerian solution that will favour and address our economic needs and agenda. We need to learn some radical rudiments of economic growth that will localize globalization from emerging economies like Malaysia, India, China, South Korea, Singapore and the other emerging, fast developing nations. When Obasanjo’s regime came up with the well articulated National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) in 2004, many people thought it was a brilliant policy idea to address economic, political and institutional issues. The plan was to create wealth, 7 million new jobs, alleviate poverty and eliminate corruption. By the end of his tenure it became crystal clear that the policy failed terribly in achieving its most basic objectives. Yar’Adua’s 7 point agenda which was anchored on vision 20:20:20 – the idea that Nigeria will be catapulted to become one of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020 – has failed. By the close of Yar’Adua’s era, it has also become crystal clear that the 7 point agenda was a mere rhetoric. Nigeria urgently needs a comprehensive economic program with a very clear strategic focus and road map that will not blindly follow any ready made, westernly formed almighty formula that may further worsen the fragile economic situation we find ourselves now. There is a need for a new policy thrust. Whatsoever will be the policy idea and road map must also be properly co-ordinated and implemented. We need a clear departure from the imperialist agenda we have been pursuing since independence. We must look within in developing the grassroot economy. We must sincerely target development of human and physical capital. Nigerian economy is largely one commodity export economy, a rentier approach to development that can never produce any lasting economic gain. The only thriving business in Nigeria as at today is “politics”. The capital flow direction is a “trickle down” system from the oil revenue instead of a “bubbling up” system that will empower the grassroot to generated wealth. We must define and adopt economic priorities and strategies in a manner that works for the majority of our citizens. Those in charge of policy formulation and implementation must come to term with the reality and gravity of Nigeria’s problem so that they will take issues of economic emancipation of Nigeria serious. It is a known fact that: 1. About 60% of Nigerians live below $1 (N150) a day. This is the main reason for the many criminalities in the system. Some few people are eating to the point of vomiting while the larger majority is starving to death. 2. More than 6.9 million Nigerian children of primary school age are not in school. An uneducated mind is a potential danger to the society. 3. An estimated 800 Nigerian women die for every 100,000 live births. 4. About 200 out of every 1,000 Nigerian babies die before they are 5 years old. 5. Nigeria is losing about 350sq km to desert encroachment annually. With our gas reserve, no household in Nigeria should be using firewood or charcoal for cooking. The gas sector reform is tilted toward rhetoric and abysmal corruption. We also refuse to practically explore the technology of bio-gas. We urgently need a policy shift that will increase social expenditure, inclusion of the poor in public budgeting, macroeconomic balance, effective resource utilization, strengthening of the public policy instruments that promote development and equality, radical reduction of recurrent expenditure, determined efforts at reviving non-oil sectors of the economy and accelerated industrialization. Infrastructures in Nigeria are in a serious state of decay. Investment and industry can not grow in an environment where basic infrastructures are not guaranteed. A nation of about 140 million people with the erratic power generation of less than 3,500 megawatt is only joking when talking of serious industrial revolution. Vision 20:20:20 can only be taken serious if government is practically serious about restoring infrastructures. We must equally create investment friendly climate through a combination of legal, tax and other measures that will encourage genuine investors especially the indigenous ones. Unless the current resource looting is stopped, and our resources are properly rechanneled towards real practical, evenly, distributed development, Nigerian economic situation may remain in that same coma. We must arise and together build a better Nigeria we can all be proud of! God is watching President Goodluck Jonathan to see if he will truly do what he was called by God to do. I pray he will be a true Goodluck to the drowning Nigeria Economic situation.

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