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Group blames slow devp on revenue short fall

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No, wealthy Nigerians responsible – Soludo

DECLINE in government revenues together with slow and uneven growth in key sectors of economy have been blamed as key factors stagnating Nigerian economic development.

 

A group called Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) stated this in its report entitled Assessment of the Effectiveness of Government Policies and Programmes on Economic Growth and Development, 2016-2019, observing that while turning positive, growth rates have been lower than stated targets.

 

The report reviewed main economic goals of the current government while examining its implementation of policies and programmes with a view to broadly assessing their effectiveness.     According to its findings, the proposal to raise substantial revenue through wholesale privatisation of government assets was not thought through.

 

“Privatisation by itself will not provide an appropriate solution. Firstly, this will provide revenue on a one-off basis and does not provide a sustainable way of raising budgetary resources.

Secondly, the history of privatisation in Nigeria has been a challenging one. Some concerns have been expressed on the risk of selling enterprises to privileged groups at below market prices, undermining the subsequent services and exacerbating income. In some cases, the new owners are alleged to have stripped off and sold the assets, with the companies failing or being rendered comatose soon thereafter. More intelligent ways of leveraging public assets are needed, which will generate revenue streams and provide options for future government ownership,” the report said.

 

Observing that revenues anticipated to be earned from taxes on solid mineral production activities in 2017 and the first half of 2018 came to nothing, the group noted that greater efforts were made by the current administration in 2018 to raise taxes through the implementation of the Integrated Tax administration system and stronger enforcement and better monitoring of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

 

But former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and member of the Economic Advisory Council newly established by President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Charles Soludo, has held wealthy Nigerians responsible for slow economic development, warning that the rich will also suffer if high poverty and unemployment rates are not tackled.

 

Soludo dropped the indictment at Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos while making a presentation on economic restructuring at a programme, tagged The Platform.  According to him, the next bigger-than-oil export earner for Nigeria would potentially be its human capital.

 

“Nigeria earns almost as much from oil as it earns from remittances from the diaspora. But we cannot export illiterates in a world driven by the digital revolution. The easiest way to waste the future is to continue to churn out millions of semi-illiterates, largely unemployable citizens, most of whom see criminality as the only way to escape poverty trap or drug as the opium for solace,” he continued.

 

With an urbanisation rate of over five per cent, the conflagration that might ensue when hundreds of millions surge to the cities but can’t find jobs, housing, water, and food can only be imagined. Soon, I believe, the rich won’t be able to sleep because the poor, homeless and angry are awake.

Whatever the case, the challenge is how to deliberately optimise the potential of the huge youthful population to be highly productive at home and competitive or exportable abroad,” Soludo said.

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