Home Column What Buhari must do to move economy forward (2)

What Buhari must do to move economy forward (2)

by Business News Report

To ensure that Nigeria’s growth can be wide, inclusive and sustained, the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration must focus on building infrastructure, institutions and people. Nigeria has big infrastructure gaps, which represented huge costs to businesses and to people. Over the past three decades, per capita output of electricity in Nigeria remained virtually flat. Only 16 per cent of all roads are paved, compared with 58 per cent in South Asia. The investment needs to address this is in the region of billions of dollars.

Good enough, Buhari realises that Nigeria needs to improve governance, transparency and create sound economic frameworks for growth which is building institutions. Building institutions rather than individuals by the government, would ensure that revenues and benefits from mineral resources could be better captured for national budgets and generating more jobs. Nigeria needs to build people to reap the dividends of its rapid population growth. An increase by even one percentage point in the working age population could boost GDP growth by half a percentage point. For this to happen, however, good jobs need to be created in the private sector. Today, only one in five people in Nigeria finds work in the formal sector. This must change. With wider access to quality education, healthcare and infrastructure services, Nigeria can change all of that.

Buhari does not need a magic wand to achieve this. In the nation’s archive are volumes of development plans that long charted a part toward this lofty economic goals or ideals.

The nation’s set objectives in the third National development are what Nigerians are clamouring for today.
The plan had envisaged increase in real income of the average Nigerian; even distribution of income among individuals and social economic groups in the country; reduction in the level of unemployment; increase in the supply of high level manpower; reduction of the dependence of the economy on a narrow range of activities; balanced development – the achievement of better balance in the development of the different sectors of the economy and various geographical areas of the country; increased participation by Nigerians in the ownership and management of the productive enterprises; greater self-reliance, that is increased dependence on internal resources in seeking to achieve the various objectives of society.

What is required of the Buhari administration is increased efforts to achieve optimum utilization of Nigeria’s human and material resources; development of technology; reduction in rural-urban migration; the promotion of a new national orientation conducive to greater discipline, better attitude to work and cleaner environment.

The main economic thrust of the Buhari administration should be in the direction of increased self-reliance and considerable reduction of Nigeria’s continued dependence on the external sector in general and the Petroleum sector in particular. If Buhari pursues these objectives rigorously, Nigeria would no longer be playing a catch up game in the global economy.

Buhari needs to return Nigeria to its roots, plans, strategies and push to become relevant in the eyes of other nations. This will require greater sacrifices as he has told his political friends and foes especially in terms of established consumption habits if resources are to be freed for pressing development needs. There will be no room for subsidy. It must free resources for development. This strategy will demand a greater spirit of innovation, hard work, and greater utilisation of domestic resources and in particular, the involvement of the masses especially at the local level in the development process.

Buhari must make a conscious effort to mobilise the Nigerian masses for the implementation of the new Nigeria vision. If China could successfully mobilise its populace to achieve the second largest economy position out of obscurity, yes, Nigeria can. Nigeria and China have certain things in common, a growing population, an emerging middle class that constitutes a huge market for industrial products, a huge land mass. Yes, Nigeria can move into the league of top economies of the world. All that Nigeria needs is an effective leadership. Like Peter Drucker said:


“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.
For Nigeria to succeed in this regard, the new government must be perceived as fairly delivering basic services to all Nigerians rather than prioritizing their own constituencies. Moreover, Buhari will have to be inclusive and avoid the pitfall that many African countries still suffer – that of political rather than merit-based appointment to government positions that require technical skills. A qualified and dedicated cabinet will have to be established if the social, economic and political challenges of Nigeria are to be addressed and eventually eradicated.

Although the Nigerian economy seems to be growing, the economic growth benefits have failed to trickle down to the larger population. A Nigerian study points out that considering its income per capita only, nothing has changed since 1970. Nevertheless, the country has become much richer thanks to the exploitation of its oil resources. Thus, despite being the third biggest economy in Africa, Nigeria ranks 160 out of 177 countries on the scale of the Human Development Index (HDI). The wealth remains concentrated within a few individuals, most of whom have strong political connections. This has to change and that is the real change Nigerians are yearning for.

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