President Jonathan scored another high point in his response to the
A hidden agenda of the
The standard prescription is: cut down on the size of the public service, privatise the public enterprises, remove subsidies on commodities, open the market for free and unimpeded flow of capital and goods, embrace globalisation and market forces, remove government from production sector and cut off the budget deficit. Personnel from the Bretton Woods institutions do not have any degrees of freedom of initiative. They must follow the prescription not minding local conditions.
For President Jonathan to achieve a redistribution of
There is a better way to run the Nigerian economy and achieve macro-economic stability, a non-inflationary growth, and a sustainable, steady and qualitative rise in the people's quality of life and an all-inclusive participation in its development. The OECD countries are true experts and controllers of their destiny. When their economies face a crisis, they blend both monetary and fiscal policy prescriptions to solve their problems. They stimulate spending, put resources in the hands of households and organisations, expand their public service employment potential, reduce taxation, ease credit extension by reducing interest rate and make resources available to small and medium scale industries through the specialised (not the political) small business agency created for that purpose.
These OECD countries continue to subsidise agricultural production, give food subsidies to the poor, make available subsidised housing to citizens, pamper their citizens with social security benefits, provide free medical services to the poor, insure and subsidise their security personnel and grant student loans to their undergraduates. However, in the case of
The ability of the invisible hand to achieve allocative efficiency in
In this dispensation, pension scam is rampant. Missing money in NNPC!
Just as she paid
Nigerian furniture makers have packed up because of used furniture imports. In public markets, Lebanese traders hawk rubber slippers, Chinese sell plastic buckets, Indians sell used clothes, Syrians trade in sachet water and the Pakistanis sell jerry cans. The local petty trading jobs have been taken over by low quality foreign labour because of
The domestic market must be protected from dumping and mindless competition otherwise the nationals will become scavengers. The government policy that any foreign investor investing certain amount in
Furthermore, the new automotive policy that requires local assemblage of vehicles through the importation of completely/semi knocked down parts is highly commendable. But the aspect that allows a company to import two fully built up vehicles at a highly reduced import duty for every one locally assembled vehicle is counterproductive and undermines the job creation potential of this policy. It is like the Nigerian economic thinkers are forever apologising for taking initiatives to grow and give meaning to the local economy. Allowing the importation of fully built ups by local assembly plants at lower duty will open the floodgate to corruption and customs manipulation. It will negate the intentions of government in job creation. The finance minister must see
I have continued to maintain that the N2 trillion
Savings from subsidy removal should not be used to import buses and cars for government officials but must be channelled to job creation initiatives and in expanding the public sector. It is a pity that the nation's old refineries still produce at 30% of capacity and new refineries that will aid job creation are yet to be built. Again, the state of
Undergraduates prostitute and rob to raise money to pay fees and feed. Yet under the watch of the finance minister the federal government establishes political universities to produce hopeless graduates. A workable proposal is to convert some of these universities to trade centres and thereafter set up more of skill acquisition/technical centres and vocational training institutions.
Help must come for the true undergraduates. Like in OECD countries, Nigerian undergraduates should have access to federal government loans repayable on gainful employment after graduation. These students should pay adequate tuition fees in the universities, which will now have independent funds to execute projects.
A fiscal policy minded minister is sympathetic to the poor and has a welfarist orientation. The OECD countries care for their weak and poor people and manage their public sector enterprises efficiently.
As finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala must forget her Bretton Woods garb. She must be conscious of how jobs can be created for the Nigerian. She must be ready to finance and intervene in ventures that can create jobs. No department of government must escape her watch. Even the
INEC should not use NYSC members as election officers. Furthermore, NYSC members are already fully engaged and so the jobless graduates in the streets should receive the stipends that INEC has to pay for elections. Managing an economy that has such massive rate of joblessness requires policy dynamism. The minister must argue for more fiscal policy measures rather than surrender to the private sector.
- Chief Omokhodion was former MD/CEO,
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