Jobs, jobs, jobs (5)

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I was the keynote speaker at an economic dialogue on Nigeria organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK) on 23 May 2019. Titled “Road to Economic Development: Challenges and Opportunities”, the dialogue was aimed at shaping the priorities of the incoming second administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The following is the final and fifth part of the highlights of my speech.

 

Take a charge on bank deposits to raise revenue

For the authorities, the most pressing matter is revenue. When there has been a boom in the economy, it was largely because crude oil prices were high. I doubt very much that it was crude oil itself that caused the boom, though. After all, oil is just about 10 percent of GDP. My reckoning is that a buoyant public purse and consequent free-spending government tends to inspire confidence all around. In other words, when the government is “happy”, it tends to be contagious. As oil prices are volatile, the weight of that purse varies with the times. Thus, there is a need for it to be reliant on more stable sources of revenue. In other words, we need the government to be “happy” most of the time.

 

Nigerians in formal employment are already taxed automatically. Those in the informal economy are not. And while even those Nigerians would not mind paying taxes, there is a lot that discourages them. Taxing consumption via value added tax (VAT) tends to be an effective way to bring as many people as possible into the tax net. At 5 percent, Nigeria’s VAT rate is relatively low. (Kenya’s is 16 percent.) So, the Nigerian government could certainly increase the VAT rate. Judging from the … Read More...

Nigerians want Buhari to tackle security, economy, jobs 

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Security of lives and property, boost in the economy and job/wealth creation are the key among what Nigerians expect from President Muhammadu Buhari as he takes oath of office for a second term on Wednesday, May 29. Other expectations are in the areas of renewed fight against corruption, improvement in agricultural production, education, infrastructure, roads,…

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Jobs, jobs, jobs (1)

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I was the keynote speaker at an economic dialogue on Nigeria organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK) in the week just past (23 May 2019). Titled “Road to Economic Development: Challenges and Opportunities”, the dialogue was aimed at shaping the priorities of the incoming second administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

On the panel afterwards, moderated by Marc Lucassen of AHK and Vladimir Krech of KAS, were Obadiah Mailafia, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Onyeche Tifase, chief executive of the Nigerian subsidiary of Siemens, the German industrial conglomerate, Olaf Schmuser, senior representative of the Commerzbank franchise in Nigeria, and myself.

I started my speech with the one issue that is undoubtedly uppermost on the minds of Nigerians at this time: Jobs!

We have a jobs crisis in Nigeria. As I recall, during the 2019 election campaigns, when it became quite clear the prosperity messaging of “jobs” by the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was resonating with the populace, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) changed its broad emphasis on what it likely saw as an array of achievements in fighting corruption and building infrastructure, for instance, to one of how many jobs it had created in the past four years.

How is it possible that we have a jobs crisis with only about a quarter of the labour force not employed, you probably wonder? At 23 percent, the unemployment rate would probably be considered relatively mild; if our challenging circumstances are considered.

There is nothing wrong with the statistics. Because when the under-employment rate of 20 percent is added to the unemployment rate of 23 percent, totalling 43 percent, the statistics reveals what comes close to what you and … Read More...

Buhari to focus on job creation in next four years, Udoma says

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Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, has announced that the focus of the federal government second tenure will be on job creation as more work need to be done in ensuring a more stabilized economy.

The minister giving account of his stewardship of the ministry at the End-of-Tenure Press Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said that a lot has been done in the last three and half years but more need to be done especially in ensuring job creation for youths.

“We have done a lot in this tenure to achieve the key mandates of this Ministry which include preparing the annual budgets as well as the medium-term expenditure frameworks, rendering policy advice to the Federal Government on all aspects of national development, amongst others, however, the focus of  the next level will be on job creation, we  will concentrate more on the part of the economy that will create jobs”.

Speaking further, the minister said that efforts were put in place to ensure that the Budget Office was properly integrated as part of the Ministry by adopting the zero-based approach for budget preparation, which required justification of every budget item for funds allocation.

He explained that the online budget preparation was introduced to ensure that the identity of any person inputting any budget item can be ascertained adding that it has improved the integrity of the budget.

“Most importantly, we were able to ensure that our executive budget proposals are aligned with the strategic policies of government as set out in the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and other governmental programmes and plans”.

The minister speaking on the measures adopted to address the economic decline in 2016 said that the initiatives included: the introduction of an expansionary budget … Read More...