BudgIT, a civic organisation in its latest publication titled: ‘Investing in People,’ examined Nigeria’s economic challenges and recommended six broad goals – with 18 priority actions that would effectively end poverty, improve health, advance education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth.
According to the report, the goals cover critical sectors of the economy like demography and population, health, education, access to capital and the macro-economy.
The organisation noted that the continuous opacity around public financing and low investments in critical sectors has consistently produced weak institutions and massive opportunities for waste and corruption at both the national and subnational levels.
According to BudgIT, it has been 60 years since independence, and Nigeria’s pathway to economic prosperity remains unclear.
It noted that with an estimated population of 200 million people, 13.9 million unemployed youths, N300 million average investment in health tertiary institutions and over 40,100 million Nigerians living below the poverty line; there was an urgent need to implement strategies that would effectively raise higher revenues and leverage Nigeria’s human capital for wealth through institutional reforms, equal access to loans advanced by banks, strong civic space for citizens inclusion and an effective micro economic environment.
The numbers are currently looking grim. Nigeria’s teeming population would not confer any advantage if the population is not converted to human capital.
“We need to get more students into classrooms, re-skill graduates for emerging job openings, provide direct education-to-employment opportunities through public private partnerships and improve access to credit for MSMEs,’’ Co-founder and Director of BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde said.
The report noted that prevalent economic challenges such as illiteracy, corruption, high inflation and unemployment rate as well as GDP contraction due to the current slowdown in economic activities unequivocally portend a looming recession.
Hence, it stressed the urgent need for strategic and inclusive actions by the government targeted at improving equal citizen access to service delivery, which hitherto, has mostly been for the benefit of the privileged minority as opposed to the intended general public.
‘’Leveraging critical sectors for economic development is anchored on adequate funding and investment. Nigeria needs to rethink its non-oil exports by improving local industry for production – and strengthening sectors like technology, education, creative industry and mechanised agriculture, among others,’’ Oluseun added.
“Nigeria cannot continue to play weak in global competitiveness. BudgIT therefore enjoins the government to continually invest in institutional reforms to ensure adequate service delivery to its citizens.
“More importantly, the government should build inclusive growth through expansion of credit in the economy, which includes rebuilding its subnational economies and redesigning incentives around central revenue distribution.”