By Kate Henshaw
We were taught demand and supply in economics in my secondary school days. We were also taught about scarcity which occurred when the demand for a product exceeded the supply, and this is akin to the fuel crisis we sometimes faced in this country though “artificially” created due to mismanagement and greed.
We also had the knowledge of scale of preference,and this piece of information I garnered while in school helped me to prioritise certain things in my life as I grew older.
To be a good manager of resources and time, one needs a scale of preference or else one will head nowhere. You would look back and find that you have actually achieved nothing. Business owners or entrepreneurs will agree with me that the need to manage their staff and resources is paramount; starting from hiring of staff to the procurement of toilet paper.
The role my mother played in our upbringing suggests that she was a good manager.My two brothers and I went to the same primary school, St Mary’s Private School, Broad Street, Ajele, and my school shoes (Bata) and some of my textbooks were passed down to my younger brother. The need to be frugal (my dad’s favourite word to us) could not be overemphasized.
Nigeria is a grown man if we are to go by our age as a nation and we have witnessed a lot of wastagese in the area of our government’s expenditure which is believed to rank among the highest in the world. Recommendations from the Steve Oronsaye Panel report on the reform of government agencies and ministries propose the abolition of 38 agencies, the merger of 52 and reversal of 14 to departments in ministries. Also recommended by the panel was the scrapping of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Ministry of Police Affairs.
With the latter, I am in support of the panel’s recommendation. We have seen in countless situations the treatment of our security forces whom I believe, are quite poorly paid. The expose from Channels Television on the Police College Ikeja is still fresh in our minds. That put to rest any doubts one had about what thought processes went into the welfare package put in place for the different security agencies especially the police.
They are also at a great disadvantage in the area of weaponry at their disposal which they need to keep the citizenry safe judging by the sophisticated ones armed robbers use to carry out their criminal activities.
Our government instead has decided to focus on education which is already at a disadvantage. Teachers are poorly paid and students really do not have any choice when strikes commence in universities. The standard of education had dropped greatly and the crop of undergraduates we churn out these days are those who cannot sing our national anthem let alone be gainfully employed in any good corporate organisation worth its salt. It is an alarming state of affairs.
Universities and even secondary schools outside of our shores play host to thousands of Nigerian children whose parents are blessed enough to afford the fees and want a bright future for them. What happens to those who are not financially able to at least give the basics to their children? Your guess is as good as mine.
In one of my previous articles, I wrote about my secondary school in Calabar and how things were back then in the 80s. The school is now a shadow of itself and in dire need of so many things even as minute as chairs for the students to sit down and that is a Federal Government owned school.
Government’s reluctance to curb waste where it really matters is glaring. The functions of the EFCC and ICPC are overlapping; their fight against corruption in the real sense of the word is lopsided. If you are a big enough fish, you will get off with a slap on the wrist with no jail term at all. More needs to be done to show the rest of the world that we are paying more than lip service to this cancer.
Other wastes are in the allowances of the National Assembly members, the number of aides, assistants, special assistants… and the assistants for the President, Governors and local government chairmen.
I do not even want to imagine the huge cost implications these appointments inflict on our economy thereby depriving areas that are greatly in need like, healthcare, social amenities, roads, food, housing, security and of course education.
Government needs to apply a true scale of preference in order to secure the future of this great nation. We are an oil rich nation but oil will not flow forever. Dubai discovered their oil about 30years after we did; they made good use of their resources and are now a tourist delight.