Hope In The Horizon For Our Economy?
By: Fenny J. Fwa
What do we desire in our country? The area that lays the golden eggs- the Niger Delta is quite. There is relative peace and stability as militancy has been put on hold. This major achievement comes with a boost in crude oil sales reaching the level of 2.2m barrels by day. We have the minister of state on petroleum Barr Kachikwu to be grateful to ie in addition to advocacy visits of the Vice President as directed by the president. Kudos therefore to Mr president for selecting a competent team.
Although there are still security challenges, nevertheless the president has done well to decapitate insurgency to a minimal level. Militancy in Niger Delta is on the decrease. There is relative peace in Southern kaduna. What is still hanging is despicable attitude of the governor who is still persecuting the indigenous Southern kaduna and is yet to at least package relief materials and other mode of compensation to the people of the region that had their lives, properties and sources of livelihood destroyed by the marauding herdsmen while he had selectively paid the criminals not to attack which they never heeded.
The economy is recovering with the gains recorded in revival of our local currency with the modifications in the mode of allocation of FOREX. Our foreign reserves is appreciating as we have up to $30b in our reserves. With the recoveries of hundreds billions of Naira from corrupt public officials, the path to our economic recovery is set. What is required is summarized thus.
Funds be disbursed to critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture and solid minerals to generate employment and diversify our economy. These will grow the economy and generate adequate funds.
The money tied up in TSA should please be access by MDAS and utilized strictly to grow the economy under the strict supervision of the Vice President and a rejuvenated economic team. Let me give an example of the negativity of TSA to the economy. Bank for Agriculture for a long time has not been funded by the federal government, but they have N10b which they use to give out loans, but has now been locked in TSA account. So far for the past two years, farmers have not been able access the loans with its liberal interest rates. I have been patronizing the bank for the past 12 years, used the loans to improve my agricultural production and I have been paying with interest. I have qualified for another loan and for the past two years I could not access their facility as the federal government has suspended all loans. I was forced to patronize commercial bank with its high interest rates. Something must be done about this. The anchor borrowers loan scheme which is meant for ordinary farms has been unnecessarily delayed and that had impacted negatively on Agriculture.
Our comatose educational system needs immediate surgical operation. A high powered committee of experts on education ought to be inaugurated in order to proffer solutions, including funding and if possible look in to the possibility of merging some of these glorified secondary schools being designated as federal universities. This committee must have nominees of governors so that the solutions to the educational sector should be all encompassing.
Just like education, the health sector is in dire need of the surgeon’s knife. We must have some excellent medical centres with first class equipment, pulling our best brains abroad to come and run them with very attractive renumeration. Funds must be sought wherever to at lest upgrade the four premier teaching hospitals. In case we want a serene atmosphere to build a first class medical centre nothing stops us from building one on the Obudu plateau in Cross river state and another one on mambilla plateau. The weather of these two plateaus with their beautiful scenery will be ideal and we shall not be embarrassed with our President traveling abroad for medical services.
Finally there is the immediate need to overhaul the cabinet and inject it with competent hands from far and wide. Agriculture, finance, education deserve to have the people at the helm of affairs core professionals with vast experiences in those fields. Let the analogue Audu Ogbe be relieved to go back to his farm and import grass from Brazil for cultivation!
Mr president has only two years left from his mandate and has no time to waste unless he is not interested in second term or his party wining again or there is no longer patriotic blood running in his veins.
A stitch in time saves nine