By Moses Nosike
AYO Teriba Ayo is the CEO of Economic Associates. He has worked as an Economist at Lagos Business School, Lagos Chamber of Commerce,Â He holds B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Ibadan,Â M. Sc. Economics from Ibadan in 1990, and Ph.D. in Applied Econometrics and Monetary Economics from University of Durham in 2003. In this interview with Saturday Vanguard, heÂ is optimistic that the seven point agenda of Mr. President willÂ materialise with time. He also advised we become serious if we must actualise vision 2020.
On the realisation of vision 2020.
Well, weâ€™re in 2009, the year 2020 will be 11 years from now and I know the vision 2020, but nobody tells us what the position of Nigeria is now for anyone to seriously or sensibly assess whether we can become the 20th biggest country among the top economies in the world in 2020 in 11 years time. At least, itâ€™s sensible for us to agree on what position weâ€™re in now. I think we have about 200 countries of the world on top now. So the target is meant to be among the top 20 in 2020, but we should inform ourselves where we are now to know whether weâ€™re trying to move forward to the fifth position to the 20th in 10 years as it were. So we want to be jumping to fifth place to ten place position every year. We would begin to take ourselves very seriously.
If you know where you are proper and plain, itâ€™s then the journey will start, then you can now set meaningful objectives, ok if itâ€™s next year we want to be in this position or two years time. So we can break that 10 years into achievable bits, because if you donâ€™t break it that way, you might be saying what people want to hear.
On the actualisation of the seven point agenda of Mr. President.
Committing to specifics, specific believable is good as the president has done. A number of efforts are being made in different ways by the regime to try and deliver some of the seven points. The government is just two years old and asking for the whole agenda to be delivered overnight, youâ€™re asking for a miracle.
So the point is that the President certainly meant to achieve the seven point agenda and he had appointed different committees articulated to achieve that. So in two years he desolved the cabinet where he dropped 20 ministers, which means he is not satisfied before that time. I feel that as far as the President is concerned, heâ€™s making the best effort to see that he employed capable people who can achieve it. Therefore, I hope sooner or later some of the points will start getting achieved. I like the quality of some recent appointments. I like the idea of even those who are not in government but are given the opportunity to take part in politics and bring in ideas which government would need.
Having organised that within two years shows very convincingly that he is ready to deliver the seven point agenda. Every Nigeria should wish him well. It is not easy for a team to make an effort on the pitch, it is another thing to score the goals. He has genuine intention, even the deployment and employment towards the attainment of the goal is satisfactory.
On the problem of power supply that forced cost of production high
Itâ€™s a priority in the seven point agenda of Mr. President. I hope it will be tackled. Quite a lot of efforts is been made to get the power sector improved successfully. I think it has more to do with steady supply. The key thing is making sure that power sully is more steady, rather than cost. To make it more clearly take the issue of NITEL, before the problem of telecom sector were resolved, I donâ€™t think cost was the problem.Â Availability was the key thing, because we had NITEL lines then and they were cheap, but the fact that they were cheap made that the service couldnâ€™t be provided and government couldnâ€™t break that vicious psycho.
That for you to provide telecom services to the people who want to communicate, you need investment that will create the capability to deliver telecom services and for you to get the investment, people must pay. Government couldnâ€™t resolve it.Â Unfortunately, the issue of GSM license created the chances for private investors who are sure they could change to recover cost. It created the chances for them to made the investment needed to create the capability to provide telecom services.
Iâ€™m not sure that now that we have the GSM platform, nobody is sighting communication as problem anymore.
Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s cheaper to communicate on GSM compared to communication then on NITEL. Itâ€™s probably more expensive now, but you get value for your money. I donâ€™t think the emphasis is cost, the emphasis is generating and transmitting adequate level of power supply. Ensuring regular supply of power. The reason is that even generators have obstruction with the supply of petroleum products. Sometimes, you want to buy diesel, gas you canâ€™t get it. The thing is ensuring regular power supply. Even with that, I know of a few companies that removed themselves from the national power line and introduce generator for their production, but they would have hooked on the national power line if they were assured of regular supply. I donâ€™t think is about cost, is about ensuring regular power supply. And no way you can ensure a regular power supply if at least in the short and medium term people will have to pay the higher cost effect.