Which way for Nigeria?
The World Economic Forum with focus on Africa comes up shortly. I am sure it is holding amidst tight security in Abuja. With an economy that was recently rebased, ranking Nigeria’s economy 30th in the world, one begins to wonder how Nigeria can benefit from this forum.
Is it going to be another forum for policy formulation, policy implementation assessment or what?
First and foremost, the country is faced with a myriad of problems
1) Unemployment- there is a large army of unemployed, underemployed and inappropriately employed youths in the country. A country where a Mechanical engineer works in a business centre as a photocopying machine operator lives much to be desired.
2) Poor Infrastructure – good motor-able roads, water,
3) Inadequate Power supply- Power drives the economy
4) Inequality, poverty, hunger, uneven distribution of wealth,
5) Education – falling standards and poor facilities
6) Security challenges – the most recent case in mind is the abduction saga of over 200 young teenage girls in Chibok, Borno state. The entire world is awaiting the return of the girls.
7) Inadequate health facilities- a large portion of the population do not have access to modern medical facilities. Many people in both rural and urban areas rely on traditional medicine while infant and maternal mortality is high.
I could go on and on about my beloved country.
The issue now is what should be our priority as the world converges in Nigeria for the World Economic Forum which is focusing on Africa.
Our leaders should by now have realized the fact that the entire country especially the leadership is weak. Nigeria is weak as a nation, body, mind and soul. The leaders from President downwards should ask for help from the people that matter in the world. The UN should come to Nigeria’s aid. If care is not taken, the issue of the missing girl’s will disappear into oblivion and it will be swept under the carpet.
What should be done to move the country forward? So many things.
1. Solve the Power problem- industries will be revived and jobs will be created
2. Implement the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) to the letter and develop the agricultural sector along the agricultural value chain. This will result in a massive development of small and medium enterprises/ cottage industries. The rural areas will witness a massive development of infrastructures and upgrade in living standard.
3. Complete all abandoned projects dotted all over the country.
4) Government should implement people friendly policies and also create an enabling environment for policy implementation
5) Encourage foreign direct investment.
I could also go on and on non-stop on steps to take to move the country forward. I am more than convinced that unless the leadership is strong and focused, the country shall continue to appear hopeless. There is no point hosting an economic forum when you can’t appropriate some of the benefits derivable from it.
Nigeria is one of the countries with the largest comprehensive library of policies on practically every aspect of the economy; but her bane is policy capitulation and implementation. I hope this economic forum will open the inner eyes of our leaders and they should have the courage to implement policies that will develop the people.
God bless Nigeria
From the desk of Yemisi Akibu