Book Review: The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria

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Biafra and the Nigerian Civil War are perhaps the most fascinating subjects in Nigeria’s history – a fact that is evidenced by the unprecedented number of literary works dedicated to them. Having read most of the accounts of this tragic chapter in our history, I believe I am in a position to offer a meaningful review of yet another book on the topic.

Chudi Offodile’s The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria is a refreshingly new perspective on the emergence of Biafra, its defeat and the post-war dilemma that continues to haunt Nigeria. Written at a time when Nigeria faces, yet again, a resurgence of the Biafran problem, it examines the relationship between the Biafran challenge and the future of the Nigerian state.

Although Offodile’s book reads like it is written primarily for an audience with Igbo origins, this is a book about Nigeria. It explores the Biafran war and the events that led to it in order to provide sufficient context for the recommendations it makes about resolving the future of Nigeria. In many ways, the book attempts to “Nigerianize” the Biafran struggle by illustrating how the problems of the Igbo people are in fact similar to and interlinked with those of other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Those who read The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria expecting a rehash of the pro-Igbo post Biafran narrative will be disappointed. This is a book that questions existing narratives about Biafra and perceptions about Igbo politics, particularly those promoted by renowned Igbo intellectuals such as Chinua Achebe and Arthur Nwankwo, while inviting the reader to consider alternative interpretations of factual occurrences.

The author offers an appraisal of Igbo politics and politicians since independence and comes to the conclusion that the problems imposed on the South East by the Nigerian arrangement are compounded by a declining quality of leadership.

By ignoring orthodox positions and subjecting the ideological and political narrative of the people of South Eastern Nigeria to objective analysis, The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria succeeds in reframing the Biafran struggle as one with which other ethnic groups in Nigeria can identify – making it an invaluable contribution to Nigeria’s current sociopolitical discourse.

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Fixing the Budget Mess

Yesterday, I conducted a poll on twitter about the apparent mess which is the 2016 Budget. The results are below.

Poll Results

When the poll concluded today, I decided to discuss the results in a series of tweets which I will reproduce below in form of an article. If you want to read the original tweets you can follow the hashtag #BubusnDailyPoll.

I argue that the PMB approach of hiding in embarassment and deflecting responsibility for the current budget fiasco will amount to a missed opportunity for reform. The best approach will be to own up to the mess. Admit that the approach by previous administrations presented an unanticipated booby trap and order a revamp of budgeting process. This will be in line with

  1. The policy thrust of actually creating a budgeting and planning ministry
  2. The Implementation of the very successful TSA policy

First of all, let me start with what I know. I believe the context of what I know about civil service reforms will help readers understand better the feasibility of the proposals I have iterated below.

  1. The TSA is not a new idea. The Federal Government’s transition to a TSA regime was part of the civil service reforms initiated by the Obasanjo Administration in 2004. The TSA was actually designed to be driven by the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) – a government-wide technology platform for budget control, monitoring and accountability. Subsequent administrations, however, failed to effectively pursue the proposed reforms, stalling its implementation for more than 10 years. One of the problems with the budget (which will get worse if there is an attempt to execute it as is) is that there is a disconnect with the TSA regime. If you institute TSA, you must layer budget control to get the benefits.
  2. Budget control will include accounting for every cost center that is a source of budget expense – staff, assets, programmes etc and using the pre-approved policy rules to govern the allocation of cash. This is what we don’t have. The FG does not have an asset database. It does not have a complete employee directory and the MTEF isn’t codified to plug into the budget M&E framework.
  3. The infrastructure to take the next step already exists. I know this because I designed it, wrote the proposal for it and got it through BPP. It was my first proposal to get the approval of the Federal Executive Council (proud moment for me). The infrastructure was designed to link NIMC with about 32 other key government agencies lik OAGF, Pencom, Immigration, INEC, NCC, EFCC, Police HQ, NPopC, National Planning Commission etc to facilitate e-Government including GIFMIS. So, almost all key offices in Abuja needed to implement the proposals I set forth below are already linked by 96-core optical fiber cables. The network cost N690m to build and was approved by the Yar’Adua FEC in december 2008. Galaxy Backbone got funded to implement in January 2009.
  4. So, PMB just needs to give the instruction and mandate a timeline for compliance and watch magic happen.

In todays , 9 out of 10 respondents feel the budget is too messy to be debated and should be withdrawn. I agree. I believe the constitution allows the executive to spend a percentage of a proposed budget before it is passed into law. This means that the APC Change government still has time to do a better job of planning its expenditure and laying out a more transparent and accountability compliant budget. I think the presentation of the  “as is” goes against the TSA approach. It doesn’t tie budget allocations to policy guidelines in any measurable way. This will be messier when the budget is being executed as Ministry of Budget and Planning will be inundated with approved budget lines they will be forced to deny, especially if approval of cash from TSA is policy driven. As a result, the Ministry of Budget and Planning will become a bottleneck.

The budget controversy presents a huge opportunity for the APC government to reshape the way the FG manages its resources. It can make the case that it is reviving the reforms of government financial management systems and plugging leakages. Therefore, Instead of shirking responsibility. The President should accept blame and order a revamp of budgeting guidelines ASAP.

A proper budget guideline must insist that the budget is designed bottom up. For instance, every employee to be budgeted for in wages must be listed in a Government staff directory. The staff directory will have names, position, ext, email, employee level, wage details, bank details etc of each staff in the budget. Each MDA will own the responsibility of registering its staff on the database and there should be firm deadlines for this. Of course those affected by IPPIS are exempt.

Essentially, this approach will ensure that the wage bill is built “ground up” not by estimate. Everybody to be paid will be registered by their organization. Achieving this is easy. No new biometric registration is necessary. The NIMC database can be used to extract details of each staff to populate the database once their NIN is provided. If a staff is not registered with NIMC, they should go get captured. Every Nigerian should be registered in the NIMC database anyways, so that wouldn’t be an extra step. Given this approach, wages are aggregated using the payroll data of uniquely identifiable and trackable staff into the budget. No round figures.

Any projected growth in staff strength is justified and approved with the anticipated head count added into the budget. Provision for wages become “Actual + Projected” aggregated from ground up. If you do a verification with NIMC you will find that there are staff earning pay from 2 diff MDAs!

To check other recurring expenditure, the Ministry of Budget and Planning must mandate an enumeration of all assets. Particularly the ones that have maintenance provisions in the budget. If they are not in the FG asset database, you cannot budget maintenance for them. For example, We will not maintain a generator we do not know of on the asset database. Asset database will include chairs, tables, dustbins, books etc. Inventory auditing will be a thing. We’ll have rules about amortization so that we will know when they are due for replacement.

Asset tracking will also help protect the FG from fraudulent purchases. If you are buying new equipment, the only proof they have been delivered is if they are a complete entry in the FG asset database. If they are stolen, theft must be reported. If an entry in the asset database is not found during audit, there should be consequences.

This kind of approach will make budget defense more effective. Today, we defend budgets blind. You are defending a budget to buy 5 additional hilux vans, but we don’t know to ask you about the 40 you are supposed to have (asset DB). Any asset related expense should be justified either using existing known assets or an approved asset growth plan.

This takes care of detailed budgeting for wages and assets. Overheads, you can have guidelines and rules that relate projection to wages. These guidelines could be detailed as well, allowing fine control over how much MDAs can budget and spend on overheads.

The rest – capital expenditures will be governed by policy direction and will come with KPIs. So each MDA sees them as a policy-driven project grant. An M&E plan would be required for each policy related item in the budget to go with the procurement documents. The M&E becomes the “handle” that measures progress, determines milestone payments and helps tie the project to the policy goal it is supposed to support. The M&E framework will be the responsibility of the MDA requiring the money and will have to be approved by the Ministry of Budget and Planning before procurement can start.

If we put the previous points together, we can actually automate approval process to access money from the TSA. MDAs get automatic cash backing approvals for:

  1. Staff salaries for staff on approved budgeted list.
  2. Milestone payments for projects where M&E deliverables have been met
  3. Overhead expenses that conform to extant guidelines

Minimum human interference will be required in those cases, essentially ensuring that the TSA system can process 100s of thousands of transactions every week without becoming a bottle neck or relying on fuzziness or approximation.

Exceptions will require exceptional approval.

Any system implemented like this will improve accountability and facilitate executive and parliamentary oversight. Every budget item can be drilled down to its justifiable source – either a documented employee, a known essential asset or a policy. For example a typical budget defense discussion will be about: 1. Why are you growing staff by 20%? 2. Why all the new assets? 3. What is your policy focus and how does your budgeted project support the programme and the overarching policy? 4. How are you measuring results?

Bye bye, Budget Mafia!

It is time to get rid of the PDP excel template for budgeting. Time to start doing PLANNING and BUDGETING together.

If we take this approach, budget execution report will be an automated report we generate from a government wide software. You will have an immediate and instant snapshot of what budget items have been executed and which ones haven’t. etc.

When I joined Galaxy in 2007, I was made to understand that the current budget process was temporary. GIFMIS/TSA was to replace it as a permanent approach to fiscal management in governement. It never did. But now, President Buhari has the opportunity to nail the reforms OBJ failed to complete. He has done TSA, he needs to implement GIFMIS to run it!

This will not be hard at all. It will be chaotic at first, but we are already in chaos. Not doing it now will be an opportunity lost.

We have to introduce exactness into the culture of government. All the fuzziness makes it difficult to fight corruption.

Q&A 

Q: A lot of what you’ve said makes sense but this can’t be implemented for the 2016 budget. Perhaps for 2017.

A: Some of it can. Prepare new spreadsheet formats and send them around. It will be complete in a month. Use the details to create first release of TSA cash backing approval software. For 2016, use access to funds to force compliance. eg. You will not get generator maint for 2016 until that generator is listed on FG Assets DB. So essentially go to , register that generator, get the unique asset ID then come and apply for maintenance cash.

So e.g. Ministry of Budget & Planning can say, June is deadline, before you access TSA to pay your staff for july, you will give us a NIN tagged list of everyone you are paying

Q: How about people that register false assets?

A: Fake registrations can be caught by routine audits. By forcing registration, we have data to prosecute for false declaration. And there will be a count of fraud for each amount that you claim from TSA to service an asset that is fraudulently registered. 🙂

If you list a ghost employee, we will have records that you listed him/her. If NIMC determines that there is a problem with the identity, we will have record of NIMC report of the identity violation – evidence for prosecution.

Q: This here can be achieved very very very quickly, but guess who are the most unlikely to adopt this? The Civil Service.

A: I guess this is why Buhari was elected. To reform the corrupt civil service. This is where the rubber hits the road.

 

 

 

 

Clean the Air AND Plant a Tree!

Despite the fact that the concepts of nature conservation and energy efficiency have appealed to me all my life, I never quite understood or appreciated why environmental activists were so pushy or zealous. Therefore, I generally considered them “loco”.

However, over the past few years, as the natural resources governance advocacy initiative I helped establish at the Yar’Adua Foundation broadened, I began to discover some justification for the apparent desperation. My blog post from last week covers pretty much the reason why activist in Nigeria need to be far more desperate than their counterparts from around the world.

As I mentioned in that blog post, we produced a documentary about the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on Nigeria. The documentary is an advocacy tool to inspire local and international action to address these challenges in Nigeria. We are screening it as part of the COP21 at the activist space – Zone Action Climat – at the Centquatre today and the Africa Pavillion in the Blue Zone of the UNFCCC COP21 venue at Paris Le-Bourget tomorrow.

We arrived Paris a few days in advance of our first screening just to give ourselves enough time to soak in the COP21 experience as well as tie up any loose ends before our big showing. It turned out to be a master stroke. We’ve had to make tedious arrangements for projectors, accreditation etc over the past few days – arrangements we wouldn’t have had the time to make if we didn’t arrive early.

Apart from being tedious, the past few days have been fun as well. For instance…

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And this small protest that encapsulated the call to action for all of us…

 

Climate Change: Nigeria has Nowhere to Run

Nigeria faces a looming climate and environmental crisis that it can no longer afford to ignore. Creeping effects of climate change and unchecked environmental degradation in communities across the country, now pose monumental socio-economic, political and sustainable development challenges for the nation. With the country’s population projected to balloon to 440 million by 2050, pressure on resources pose a real and present danger and risk to the subregion and beyond.

On November 17, 2015, the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua premiered a documentary titled “Nowhere to Run: Nigeria’s Climate and Environmental Crisis”. You can watch the trailer below.

Narrated by Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jr, the documentary tells the story of the environmental threats and unique challenges to security in Nigeria from the perspective of the affected communities. It connects the dots between climate, environmental degradation, and security. The film was produced as an advocacy tool to raise awareness of the defining challenge of our time.

There is scientific consensus that the earth’s climate is changing. According to NASA, the average global temperature is 0.75 degree Celsius higher than it was in the 1950s. There is also evidence that this rise in temperature corresponds to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Rising temperatures and ocean levels correspond to rise of carbon dioxide levels

Rising temperatures and ocean levels correspond to rise of carbon dioxide levels

The recent surge in carbon dioxide levels are as a result of growing global appetite for carbon based fuels, the consumption of which produces a large amount of CO2.
Apart from rising temperatures, the change in atmospheric conditions as a result of CO2 has an impact on long term changes observed in weather patterns.

In Nigeria, these extreme weather patterns – fiercer, longer dry seasons and shorter, more intense raining seasons – are exacerbating the challenges already confronting our communities.

In northern Nigeria, rapid desert encroachment is contributing to the escalation of conflict between farmers and herders as well as food insecurity.  The shrinking of Lake Chad over the past 40 years has led to poverty and displacement of farm and fishing communities in the north east – factors which many experts believe contributed to the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Progressive shrinking of Lake Chad over the past 50 years has had socio-economic and security impact on affected communities

Progressive shrinking of Lake Chad over the past 50 years has had socio-economic and security impact on affected communities

In southern Nigeria, intensified rainfall has resulted in the kind of floods that cause death and devastation. In the south eastern parts of Nigeria, heavier downpours have accelerated erosion that has destroyed the land and fertility of the soil, forcing members of affected communities to relocate. Further south towards the coast, communities are losing their lands and being displaced as a result of rising sea levels.

Although the nature of the impact of climate change on Nigeria varies from place to place, the net effect is the depletion of finite environmental resources in every part of the country. If we consider that these resources are crucial to supporting a rapidly growing population, then the conclusion is that we are confronted with a huge national development challenge.

There are two responses we can adopt to climate change, namely: Mitigation and Adaptation.

Mitigation involves reducing the impact that our human activities are having on climate change. Mitigation strategies include transitioning to cleaner energy sources for homes and businesses (to reduce emissions) and slowing down the rate of deforestation (to preserve the earth’s capacity to evacuate CO2). Mitigation response to climate change generates some scientific contention. Some scientists still disagree on just how much our activities contribute to global warming and if any effort we make could significantly slow it down. Because of this uncertainty, some argue that urgent calls for global commitments to drastic mitigation measures are alarmist – creating an unjust impediment for economies and businesses that are dependent on fossil fuels.

For Nigeria however, this contention is immaterial. Even without contributing to the cause of climate change, activities like oil spills, gas flares and timber cutting in Nigeria are destroying natural defenses to its already established effects. Furthermore, these activities are contributing to the depletion of crucial environmental resources at a rate sufficient to justify desperate mitigation measures.

Adaptation means anticipating the impacts of climate change and taking adequate steps to manage the effects on our way of life, economy and our national development aspirations. To adapt effectively to climate change, Nigeria needs to answer crucial questions like: With our forest resources reduced to 10% of what it used to be, how do we sustain the construction industry? How do we support the energy needs of 80% of our population who rely on depleting sources of fuel wood for cooking? How will communities manage the influx of people who are displaced as a result of desertification, erosion, floods and sea encroachment? How do we improve the productivity of finite land resources to ensure food security for a growing population?

Given that answers to questions like these will be critical to our continued survival as a nation, Nigeria needs all the help it can get. Therefore, the increased global commitment to combating climate change presents an immense opportunity for Nigeria. Nigeria can leverage the benefits of global action to accelerates its own local efforts.

Western countries have estimated a 30-50 year window within which adaptation has to happen if we are to avoid climate induced catastrophe. For Nigeria, this window is significantly shorter. The rate at which our population is growing and the decades of neglect our environmental has had to endure, have put Nigeria on a faster clock.

And with every additional cubic feet of gas flared, that clock ticks a little faster.

Exchanging the Future for Loaves of Bread

How Poor Energy Policies mean that Nigerians Have to Destroy the Environment to Make Food

Bread is a Nigerian staple – consumed as an essential part of breakfast in rural and urban homes all across the country. To satisfy the resulting huge demand for bread, there are thousands of bakeries operating in almost every community across Nigeria producing, distributing and selling bread on a daily basis. It is generally a profitable business.

But what is good for business and the stomach might not be necessarily be good for a sustainable future. Traditional bread making, as routine as it appears, poses a huge threat to Nigeria’s environment.

Most of the bread in Nigeria is baked in wood-fired traditional ovens. Before a batch of bread loaves can be baked, these traditional ovens are typically pre-heated for, at least, three hours to create the right temperature in the baking chamber. This process, in addition to creating uncomfortably high ambient temperature and unbearable indoor air pollution within the bakery space itself, consumes a lot of wood. A whole lot of wood!

A recent study in Jigawa State identified over 300 registered bakeries in the state. Each bakery was estimated to consume, on the average, one tree trunk a day as fuel wood. If each bakery did business as usual every day for one year, that’s 108,000 trees going into baking bread alone!

Bakery owners admit it is becoming harder to obtain firewood. They often have to go longer distances in search of firewood or source from suppliers at higher costs. This inefficient consumption of wood exacerbates the twin environmental hazards of deforestation and desertification. Diminishing wood supplies also threatens their source of livelihood, which may eventually leave families and communities desolate.

But wood guzzling bakeries are just a symptom, not the cause of the problem. In fact, the energy challenges of traditional bakeries in Nigeria help highlight the cause – providing one of the best illustrations of how seemingly innocuous activities inevitably contribute to deepening Nigeria’s environmental crisis in the absence of an effective energy policy.

Poor access to modern energy sources all over Nigeria has resulted in a majority of Nigerian homes and small businesses relying heavily on energy from fuel wood. According to the IEA, fuel wood still accounts for up to 80% of Nigeria’s energy consumption. This fact, combined with a large and rapidly growing population translates to an enormous amount of pressure on Nigeria’s forest resources.

As a result, forest and green vegetation have become Nigeria’s most endangered natural resources. According to the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Nigeria lost almost half of its forest cover in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010 (47.5%). In 2012, Verisk Maplecroft – a global risk analysis market leader – ranked Nigeria as number one among countries hardest hit by deforestation. Today, deforestation in Nigeria continues at an alarming rate – accounting for the loss of forest cover equivalent to four times the size of Lagos State (4,000sq km) annually.

In Northern Nigeria, the rapid advance of the Sahara Desert is perhaps the most devastating impact of Nigeria’s deforestation crisis. Experts say that the Sahara now encroaches southward at a rate of 6 kilometers every year, converting 2,168sq km of previously arable land to hot, dry desert. This desert encroachment has been closely linked with food shortages, insecurity, poverty, climate related migration and communal clashes.

Perhaps, one could argue that longer and more frequent droughts in the north and floods in the south – occasioned by climate change – are the major driving forces for the devastating environmental changes we are witnessing. But human activity sure has played its part. The felling of trees in such quantities for use as firewood destroys our natural defenses against desertification and erosion. It is therefore no surprise that the Federal Ministry of Environment has attributed the acceleration of desert encroachment in the 11 Frontline States in Northern Nigeria to “uncontrolled logging and tree felling”. Given the fact that registered bakeries in Jigawa state alone (one of the 11 Frontline States), consume over 100,000 trees annually, it is hard to argue against this assertion.

Nigeria’s worsening environmental crisis is indeed also an energy problem.

Therefore, in addition to the regulation of tree felling and the planting of trees in desertification frontline states, it is imperative that the Federal and State Governments develop and implement a holistic energy policy that will transition majority of Nigeria’s population to safer, efficient and more sustainable energy use. With a broad spectrum of energy alternatives available for domestic and commercial use – ranging from clean cook stoves, liquefied petroleum gas and renewable energy sources – such a policy would improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which Nigeria utilizes its energy and natural resource. It will also have a high chance of success.

The incentives for implementing a national energy policy are immense. Nigerians would be thankful to use energy in safer, healthier and more affordable ways. Also, if we continue the way we are, we are digging ourselves deeper into a mess that we might not be able to reverse.

In the meantime, when next we buy that loaf of bread, perhaps we should start seeing the price as higher than what we paid for it over the counter. And when we settle down to have it for breakfast, we might just be taking a bite out of our future.

 

 

The Opportunity Costs of Fuel Subsidies

It is unfortunate that the public debate over fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria is, more often than not, confined to the immediate negative impact it would have on the price of goods and services. Although these impacts are real, they fail to communicate the full effects of subsidy.
It was Frédéric Bastiat, a French political economist, who in 1848 posited the principle that any act of economic consequence has not only one, but a series of effects. The first effect is immediate and usually visible. Other effects are invisible, difficult to foresee and emerge only over a period of time. He concluded that confining ourselves to only the visible effects is bad because “it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa”. This principle would eventually be known as the important economic concept of opportunity cost.
When we expend a significant amount of public resources on fuel subsidies without actually lifting people out of poverty, we forego the alternative of using those same resources on interventions that will.
The opportunity cost of subsidies become even more apparent when one considers the huge disparities in fuel consumption patterns between rich and poor. When government subsidizes fuel, it makes a crucial assumption that the few who capture the largest share of direct benefits faithfully and equitably pass them on to indirect beneficiaries who are in the majority. It is the impact of this crucial assumption that we often overlook when evaluating the effects of subsidies.
The fact that the percentage of Nigerians living in poverty continues to rise even though our GDP appears to be growing suggests that our economy is not particularly good at passing on benefits from top to bottom. The structural inefficiencies inherent in our economy imply that most of the benefits of economic growth are captured at the top with very little trickling to the bottom. As a result, top-down economic interventions like subsidies have the unseen impact of widening the gap between the rich and poor.
It follows that even in the absence of corruption, the majority of the benefits of fuel subsidies will never reach the Nigerians who need it the most. And even though the little that trickles down makes a huge difference to Nigeria’s poor, this is only so because of the extreme levels of poverty they endure.
It is in light of this that we urge all levels of Government to engage Nigerians transparently about fuel subsidies with a view to collectively deciding how we can better apply the resources currently being expended on subsidies to lift our citizens out of poverty.
We believe that the majority of Nigerians, if engaged honestly by a morally upright Government, will inevitably support the conclusion that fuel subsidies do more harm than good.

Nigeria’s Economic Competitiveness Challenge

The drastic measures needed to defend the Naira following a prolonged period of low oil prices have once again highlighted Nigeria’s poor economic competitiveness. Despite its enormous potential, Nigeria struggles to produce anything worth exporting beyond crude oil and gas. As a result, “Africa’s largest economy” remains deeply vulnerable to external shocks.
Although the CBN is doing its best to respond to the situation, the measures it has introduced cannot and should not be framed as a solution to Nigeria’s economic vulnerability.
It is our lack of economic competitiveness, rather than an “addiction to imports” that best explains why import restrictions are needed to “protect our economy” at this time. A more competitive economy would need no such protection. Its production base would view a weak local currency and low oil prices as favorable conditions – leveraging the relatively lower input costs to increase the competitiveness of its products in markets at home and abroad.
It is little surprise that the World Economic Forum ranked Nigeria 127th out of the 144 countries covered by its Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-2015. A breakdown of the assessment of Nigeria by the same report ranked Nigeria 140 out of 144 in the basic requirements for national competitiveness. One of those basic requirements was primary education and health where Nigeria, perhaps most alarmingly, was ranked 143 out of 144 countries (only better than Chad).
It follows that an improvement in our national competitiveness will not arise from simply restricting what the local market can or cannot consume. An improvement will only result from a set of institutions, policies, and factors deliberately combined with the intent to increase the level of our productivity. It is this increased productivity that will lead to prosperity.
We note that Nigeria has made several attempts in the past to improve its economic competitiveness. These efforts have failed because government focused primarily on attracting foreign investment. A more effective approach would have focused on developing local capacity to produce what domestic and export markets are willing to consume. This is the approach we propose.
The election of President Buhari presents an opportunity for Nigeria to reposition itself on a path towards true prosperity. Taking advantage of this opportunity requires the President not only to articulate a bold vision that captures our competitiveness aspirations, but to also show leadership in galvanizing relevant stakeholders around a programme designed to bring the vision to reality.
Such a programme, to succeed, must recognize how gaps in areas like basic education and infrastructure negatively impact on our collective productivity and define strategies to address these gaps.
Without such a holistic approach, any attempts to fix the economy will be papering over the cracks and postponing the evil day.