Nigeria: What Buhari Must Do to Move Economy Forward (2)
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 individual office holders 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 path towards these lofty economic goals or ideals.
The nation’s set objectives in the third National development plan 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 utilisation 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.