Dissecting Atiku’s economy reform

February 4, 2019 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

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By

Abba Dukawa

 

 

For long, our leadership has been pampered. We work into managing a wealth we have little input into how it is created. And because we are not involved in the creation, we rarely appreciate it. Hence, we turn out as either bad managers or killers of the greater Nigerian dream. We’ve enumerated the challenges faced by the country over and over. What we need to do is to proffer solutions. That is what will make us different from the clueless government.” – Atiku Abubakar

 

 

Nigeria has the human and material resources required to make the leap and in fact, many of our nationals have helped other nations make that transition. Yet, there is still that consensus that Nigeria is not meeting its potential and all things considered, that verdict is true as the country has not made substantial progress, after all, within decades.

 

The Presidential flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar examined the state of the nation’s economy in a series of meetings with stakeholders. Abubakar said he has reasons to worry about the current status and future prospects of the country as neither the economy nor the society is working for our people, saying in the last four years, Nigerians have witnessed a deterioration of all aspects of basic human development as our country suffered an avoidable social and economic decline. The absence of a coherent and comprehensive economic policy has robbed the economy of its capacity to attract investment, to support the growth of small businesses and absorb a fast-growing labour force. Africa’s largest economy, with GDP of US$450 billion, remains paradoxically, ‘one of the poorest and most unequal countries’ in the world. According to the UN, last year Nigeria overtook India, a country with 6 times our population, as the world capital for people living in extreme poverty.

 

On the political front the PDP Presidential flag bearer stated on the malfunctioning political structure of the country that our unity as a nation has been fatally black-and-blue. Social cohesion is being eroded, democratic consolidation being undermined and national unity and security threatened by ethno-religious tensions, agitations, restiveness and disputes over titles and entitlements. States and local governments are too weak to meet their constitutional responsibilities. Consequently, the Federal Government has succeeded in emasculating them and taking away those responsibilities and, along with these, the resources which belong to them. Over the years, Nigeria has promoted, tolerated and indeed celebrated a faulty political structure.

 

According to him what all Nigerians need is to work to achieve a United, Secure and Prosperous nation that will work for all Nigerians irrespective of their gender, age, religious beliefs, ethnic identity, local government, state or geo-political zone. He envisions a New Nigeria with basic features as Nigerian citizens want a Better Tomorrow. To achieve this Nigerians need a country that promotes the politics of inclusiveness and minimizes citizens’ frustration and alienation and completely eliminates the compulsion to take up arms against society or fellow countrymen.

 

A new political structure is needed that guarantees freedoms and ensures accountability at all levels of government. Tomorrow’s polity shall reinforce the country’s concept of true Federalism by conceding unfettered autonomy to the subordinating units, a modern, dynamic and competitive economy that is capable of taking its rightful place among the top 20 economies of the world. Nigeria has the potential to double its GDP by 2025. A strong economy is needed that is capable of providing in the next 5 years, a minimum of 3 million job opportunities annually, reducing poverty rates to below 20% and significantly closing the income inequality gaps.

 

Actualizing his Vision for a better Nigeria the PDP Presidential flag bearer Atiku Abubakar said he had been in politics for a number of decades and has also been in the private sector running his own businesses that employ tens of thousands of Nigerians, both experiences affording him the ability to think about the policies that will have the benefit of practical application to create an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation. If Nigerians accorded him the opportunity to govern the country he will restore investor confidence in the Nigerian economy. Over the last four years the actions or inactions of the Federal Government have resulted in a significant drop in investor confidence in the Nigerian economy. As a consequence, there has been a significant decline in capital importation since the regime came into power in 2015. Today, Ghana – a country with just 14% of our population – attracts more FDI than Nigeria. In order to reverse the trend, our economic policies will be more coherent, consistent and therefore more predictable by the business community. Nothing could be more threatening to investment flows than an environment that is full of policy flip-flops.

 

His administration aims to assist the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to grow bigger and be more productive. As we all know, small businesses offer the greatest opportunities for achieving inclusive pro-poor growth, through increased self-employment. His focus will be on improving their access to affordable, long term funds, the provision of critical infrastructure as well as adequate training for their workforce to improve productive capacity. Atiku Abubakar aims to create an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of approximately US$25 billion to support private sector investments in infrastructure. The power sector reform will also be a critical policy priority. His vision is to accelerate investment to double the nation’s infrastructure stock to approximately 50% of GDP by 2025 and 70% by 2030. Re-building infrastructure and reducing infrastructure deficit will enhance the carrying capacity of the economy and unleash growth and wealth creation.

 

Atiku Abubakar promised Nigerians his administration will move up additional revenue by blocking leakages from exchange rate adjustment. The official rate on which the 2019 budget is based is US$/N305 with a parallel market rate of approximately US$/365. The FGN will appropriate the premium in excess of N60/US$ and evaluate subsidy payments on PMS. As the current centre government has set aside billions of Naira for subsidy payments in the 2019 budget, he will ensure the set aside billions of Naira will in its place go into the funding of education and health. His administration aims to build strong and efficient service delivery institutions for more effective co-ordination of government policies and for effective support to the development of a dynamic and internationally competitive private sector. He aims to re-position the public sector to become more disciplined and performance-oriented.

 

Indeed, it is time for citizens to demand as a matter of right, from people aspiring to lead them, a plan on what they want to accomplish and how. Political slogans should not take the place of development plans and propaganda is a poor substitute for a proper socio-economic and political agenda. Nigerians must reject the status quo and bring in a leader who has a history of economic reform and political transformation. Nigeria needs a leader who shares its hopes and aspirations, who understands the complexities of the development process and who has the capacity to articulate an acceptable notion of development. It requires strong commitment, bold initiatives, and a discernible shift from the mistakes of the past, to lift Nigeria from the abyss, and make its people happier, healthier, and wealthier.

 

 

 

 

Abba Dukawa

A Kano based media practitioner and public commentator for 13 years with many articles published by a number of online mediums and print media. 

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