Nigeria’s economy needs a major repair
Are you among the people who are ignorant of the condition of the Nigerian economy? Are you among the people who feel that who wins the 2023 presidential election does not matter?
Do you know that N90,000 today is less valuable than N30,000 in 2014? Do you know that insecurity is at the highest level in Nigeria? Do you know that over 60 percent of Nigerian graduates are unemployed? The many problems challenging Nigeria require competent leadership to repair the damage to the economy.
Over the years, Nigerians are suffering economic hardship in the presence of enormous natural endowments due to poor economic policies, resource mismanagement, corruption, and public fund embezzlement.
Anyone who observes the current situation in Nigeria will be surprised at the difference between the natural resources endowment and the living conditions of many Nigerians.
The Nigerian economy is currently facing many social-economic challenges. Nigerians must recognise that the country is on the verge of collapse and needs urgent rescue from the same old and frail leaders who plunged us into the current predicament.
Many Nigerians are poor; poverty is the defining economic condition of the people. In recent years, millions of Nigerians got pushed into poverty due to poor economic policies and high inflation rates.
The high inflation rates in Nigeria are alarming. The prices of commodities in the markets are not affordable to the poor. Many people cannot eat twice a day due to high inflation.
The high inflation rates in Nigeria plunged seven million people into poverty in 2021, according to the World Bank. Nigerians are poorer today compared with the level of poverty in 2014.
Many Nigerians lost their jobs and are still unemployed because of poor economic policies formulated and implemented. The last labour report published by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that 33.45 percent of Nigerians were unemployed.
The unemployment rate must have increased to 50 percent due to the recent insecurities, criminal occurrences, and production cuts in the manufacturing sector.
Infrastructural facilities are inadequate in Nigeria. Many Nigerians cannot access power from the national grid, and others who can access supply from the national grid do not have it for days.
Many businesses in Nigeria depend on self-generated power sources to run their operations. The erratic power supply challenging the Nigerian economy is hurting economic activities.
Many Nigerian roads are unpaved, and their situation contributes to the high cost of moving agricultural produce and manufactured products from the sites to the markets. The high costs of moving goods fall on Nigerian consumers.
The education sector gets poor funding annually because Nigerian leaders have failed to recognise the importance of education. From 2014 to 2022, the education sector got the highest allocation of 10.7 percent of the budgeted total expenditure in 2015.
The funding of the Nigerian education sector falls below the recommended international standard of 15-20 percent of the national budgeted expenditure by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The health sector and other sectors of the Nigerian economy never got adequate allocation. The national budgetary expenditure always favours the political office holders in paying their jumbo salaries and the high cost of running their offices.
The Nigerian government is not devoid of corruption. The rate of stealing among political office holders and appointees is alarming.
The ranking of Nigeria as the 154th out of 180 most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International in 2021 and the recent corruption case of N80 billion associated with the former Accountant General of the Federation show the level of corruption in Nigeria.
The Nigerian economy is facing several problems. The solution to addressing Nigeria’s challenges and consolidating democratic governance in the country lies in having leadership that works on the principles of good governance and is, most importantly, accountable to the Nigerian people.
The Nigerian economy is in a desperate economic crisis and needs urgent repair. The country needs a leader who has a clear knowledge of the many problems confronting the nation and knows what to do to save the country from going into oblivion. Compensating some individuals with leadership positions for building political structures and bridges may not save the country.
Nigerians must rise to vote for credible and competent leadership in the 2023 general elections, irrespective of tribe, religion, and political party affiliation.
The enormous socio-economic problems challenging the Nigerian economy call for thoughtful recruitment of leaders who understand the issues and possess the capacity required to repair the damage caused to the Nigerian economy.
Felix Ashakah is an economics lecturer at Western Delta University, Oghara