The Jonathan presidency
By Omoh Gabriel
The macro-economic goals any government seeks to achieve are full employment of human and material resources, price stability, economic growth, balance of payment position andÂ stable exchange rate.
These goals are prescribed and targets set on annual basis through fiscal and monetary policies. Yesterday fate entrusted on the lap of Goodluck Jonathan the presidency of Nigeria. He is taking over the leadership of the most populous country in sub Saharan Africa at a time when most of the economic indices are heading south.
One commodity that Jonathan does not have in abundance is time. He hardly has up to one year to do what he has to do.
The economy he inherited faces some daunting challenges that requires urgent attention before any substantial gain could be achieved in the desire to be one of the largest 20 economies of the world by 2020. As indicated in Nigeria economic strategy, an average growth rate of 10 -11 per cent is required between 2010 and 2011. The goal is desirable but challenging given the present socio-economic and political situations in the country.
The challenges facing Jonathan can be grouped in two: overarching and specific challenges. Given the presidentâ€™s background that he was the former vice president to Yar Adua whose economic blue print is Vision 2020, the ultimate economic goal before Jonathan is to position Nigeria as one of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020.
He has to lay a foundation of stable power supply, massive infrastructure development and security to life and property.
At the moment, Nigerians are well aware that there is weak governance in the country. Accountability, transparency and integrity have not kept pace with the flow of resources across the various tiers of government especially at the state and local government levels. Can a Goodluck Jonathan presidency in the next 12 months allow institutions to work without interference?
Another bane of the economy is corruption which has been a major development challenge to Nigeria. Corruption has become so entrenched that it is now a threat to the countryâ€™s development. Genuine growth cannot be achieved unless something serious is done on this.
In the next 12 months, how Jonathan handles corruption will determine his success or failure as President, because all along, the potential for economic transformation is constrained by inappropriate institutions that pervade the economic landscape. This takes many forms.
The existence of weak governance across the three tiers of government has created some state of hopelessness among many Nigerians. This is further compounded by high profile level of corruption in public places, which the fight against corruption in recent times has curtailed, to some extent.
There is also the argument that genuine private sector does not exist in the country. As such, the sector tends to be parasitic by depending on government for most of its activities. Part of the institutional milieu are incomplete market (information on market potential) and weak property right, which stifles innovation and profitable opportunities.
Others include weak regulatory arrangement, weak policing system, and weak contract enforcement, to mention a few. Can Jonathan change all of this in 12 months?
It is also common knowledge that there is considerable risk related to institutional capacity, especially for economic management at the federal, state and local government levels. This relates to capacity to formulate, analyze, implement and monitor economic development programmes.
It is the contention of Nigerians and experts that the current level of per capital income of about $1,000 cannot leap jump the development envisaged for the country. Appreciable growth is needed to finance sustainable development in Nigeria.
The key challenge for the President is how to foster the linkage between economic growth and employment generation. In recent time, the bankingÂ reforms has resulted in the thousands of job loses.
The President need to examine the banking reforms and the character of growth required to generate opportunities for the majority of the Nigerians who are currently out of job.
Equitabledistribution of resources
The success achieved in macroeconomic front has not been translated into equitable distribution of resources across the differentÂ income groups in the country.
This is a manifestation of high inequality and poor distribution of the benefits of growth in the country. This poses some threats to the achievement of rapid reduction of poverty and hunger by 2015.
The current sensitivity of the fiscal position to international oil market is a clear indication that the economy remains highly undiversified.
Jonathan ‘ll take us to promised landâ€”Osunbor
Former Governor of Edo State, Senator Oserheimen Osunbor, has described the swearing-in of President Goodluck Jonathan as substantive President of Nigeria as anÂ act that will take Nigeria to the promised land.
Speaking with Vanguard yesterday, Osunbor said,â€ I ‘m confident that the newly sworn-in President will definitely lead Nigerians to the promised land considering his precedence in the act of governance in Nigeria.â€
â€œWe are all aware that when fate lifted him from being Deputy Governor to Governor of Bayelsa State, he performed excellently to the admiration of the people of that state and now that fate has once again played his hand on him by making himÂ the president of Nigeria, I have no doubtÂ in my mind at all that similar to theÂ Bayelsa experience, he will also do well as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.â€
He explained further that “the reason for this confidence include among others, the fact that he has the requisite educational qualification, a richÂ wealth of experience in governance including the period he acted as Acting President, the moral character, honesty, respect for the rule of law and a sincere desire to see Nigeria achieving greatness and speedy development and full greatness.â€
â€œHe has already identified the key areas such as the desperate need for regular supply ofÂ power and his sincere purpose to actualize amnesty in the Niger Delta and readiness to take advise of the collective expertise and human resources that are abound in this country through the Presidential Advisory Council, PAC, Iam confident he will lead us to the promised land.â€