Bottleneck To Development In Nigeria
In many respects, the Nigeria of today is quite different from that of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. For the first time in a generation, there is encouraging progress in masses commitment to seeing Nigeria work, which has been reflecting in the implementation of sound use of internet technology and other civil ways in making government productively accountable to its people.
This has led to an invariable movement toward creating strong institutions and participatory forms of government that facilitate progressive agreement between the governments and governed. In spite of this inspiring development in Nigeria, it is not hidden that Nigeria still has a long way to go to recover from the scourge of bad governance, corruption, unemployment, insecurity, inflation, economic regression which have rocked the country at varying degrees over the decades.
Nigeria faces major challenges: raising growth and to reduce poverty; converting human capital to wealth, infrastructural development, funding of start-up, diversifying the economy, creating environment that encourages development for private sector and security for lives and properties across the country. The current development has placed Nigeria in position to create a new image for herself, the recent exposure and support from developed nations and the United Nationsoffering greater opportunities to recover stolen funds, fight corruption, illegal oil bunkering, aide fast economic growth, end insecurity and eradicate poverty are giving Nigeria the opportunity to re-write her history and set the country on the right path.
Charting a New Course
Although, since the change of government, trends that followed show willingness and readiness for development in Nigeria, to actualize this, key considerations have to be given to the following directions:
Civil Service Reform and Human Capital Development
The success of any economic, political or social policy is dependent on its implementation which usually lies in the hands of civil servants. In previous administration, we have seen how the weakness and indiscipline in the civil service have hindered implementation and success of policies with bright tendencies for our nation. Nigeria’s civil service is weak and demoralized; corruption in the civil service is high. Lately, a newspaper report revealed that ICPC recovered over 900million naira from a ministry. The civil service should be structured in a way that salaries are based on performance, the fact that performances does not determine remuneration of civil servants make many of them unproductive, they see income as right, whether work is done or not.
Financial and Economic Reform
Every administration in Nigeria visited the financial sector with its own reforms, but majority never strengthened the financial system. The central bank lacks total autonomy and many banking institutions are inefficient, intermediation is inadequate, access to small scale and agriculture loans are accompanied with serious embargoes, some government accountant generals have been alleged of operating innumerable, accounts for government ministries, high profiled debtors do not pay back loans, and the financial system is generally thin. No nation can develop with these overwhelming challenges in the financial system. There is a need for speedy reform in Nigeria’s financial sector.
The introduction of Treasury Single Account by the President Buhari’s government is central reform that will check much ineptitude in the nation’s financial system. More also, the independence and transparency of central bank must be ensured and commercial banks should be strengthened and opened to health competition. The legal provisions for loan recovery and contract enforcement must be followed thorough without preference for an individual.
Unemployment and Private Sector Reform
Majority of Nigerian youths are unemployed; not only that there are limited employment offers, the environment is equally unaccommodating to start businesses. More small and medium scale businesses crash due to lack of infrastructure backing, private investment requires a conducive environment, one that provides confidence in predictability and appropriateness.
Government cannot provide all the jobs needed, thus the need to enable efficiency in the private sector to ensure growth. Infrastructures such as energy, roads among others are key to growth of private sector. Furthermore, more funding should be made available to enable small scale businesses strive. The populace must be driven toward entrepreneurship, so that private monopolies can be broken and more business ideas can strive, create wealth and employment.
Insecurity has taken the centre stage in the league of Nigeria’s challenges. The root of the menace has been linked to economic and social injustice over the decades in the country. The scourge of insecurity is degrading, over the years, thousands of lives have been lost, individual properties and government infrastructures vandalized are in billions, military spending has sky rocketed, more investors have left the country, and Nigeria has kept losing billions of dollars annually to insecurity.
This is the first time Nigerians will serve as refugees in their own country in various IDPs. From Boko Haram attacks in the North, to kidnapping and militants in South and East, ritualists in the South West and Fulani herdsmen attacks in the middle belt, all regions in Nigeria is rocked with varying degrees of insecurity by various groups. First, there must be moral check in the Nigerian Forces.
This implies ensuring the forces are well funded, allowances of combatants are encouraging and corruption among ranking officers is checked. Secondly, the founding issues surrounding insecurity must be checked, social injustice, unemployment among others must get immediate attention. Thirdly, in fairness, forces need to work in collaboration with citizens in gathering security information. Fourthly, more counter terrorism approach must be adopted; this will be easier if the nation partners with the international community such as Russia, Israel, China among other nations committed to fighting against terrorists.
Corruption is a serious cancer in Nigeria, it has grown to become intrinsic, at all levels, and it has become an identity, a way of life, which is practised effortlessly without moral conscience or legal consequence. Corruption is eating into every aspect of life and into every sphere of nation building. When talking about corruption, Nigerian leaders can be compared to slave barons who facilitated the capturing and selling-off of millions of their fellow blacks to distant lands where they were subjugated into slavery, only that today, they are subdued within their own borders.
The new government has openly and consistently commit itself to the fight against corruption; this must be done with respect for persons or groups. No economic reform or direction can strive in a corruption ridden society. Instances that will ensure transparency, accountability must be installed and citizens must be empowered to end corruption in Nigeria.
Olawale Rotimi is a writer and journalist, he tweets from @RotimiLawale. He can be reached through [email protected] or 08105508224 .
B.A, M.A Ilorin, DELF Paris.
"You don't struggle to grow, grow the grass and the sheep will come, nurture it and they will never. Increase in quality not in quantity"