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Sanusi: Why Nigeria may remain underdeveloped

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If the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has his way, the nation would jettison the states, local governments and ministries which, according to him, are not viable.

To him, it has come to a time in the life of Nigeria that it must overhaul the structures that make the states spend about 96 per cent of their resources paying salaries and allowances as against making capital investments.

He also did not see the wisdom in the establishment of nine new federal universities when existing ones are crying for funds.

The CBN governor spoke yesterday during a book presentation in Kaduna, saying to retain the status quo is for Nigeria to remain underdeveloped.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

“Ultimately, we will have to be confronted with the task of taking the difficult step of overhauling the political structures that we have”, Sanusi said while delivering a paper entitled, “Reinvigorating education in Nigeria: An essay in honour of Professor Adamu Baike.”

He added: “Do we need 36 states? Do we need the number of ministries that we have? Is an economy where states spends 96 percent of their revenue paying civil servant an economy that is likely to grow in the long run? These are difficult questions that we need to ask.

“We have created states and local governments and ministries as structures that are economically unviable and the result is that we do not have funding for infrastructure, we do not have funding for education; we do not have funding for health”.

Speaking on the government’s expenditure portfolio, Sanusi said: “I don’t know how many people know that 70 percent of the revenue of the federal government is spent paying salaries and overhead; leaving the rest 30 percent for 150 million Nigerians”.

What this means, according to him, is that there is no money for the provision infrastructural facilities by the various tiers of government, pointing out that in an emerging economy like Nigeria, a well designed educational policy should be an integral part of its development strategy.

According to him, the present development strategies should include measures to invest in human capital that facilitates the upgrading of industries and engender the economy to attain optimal resource utilization.

Noting the growth in the number of federal, state and private universities in the country in recent times, Sanusi said that “the recent decision of the federal government to establish nine additional universities will further increase the number of federal universities by 2011.

“It is not the place of the Central Bank governor to comment on education policy. But one wonders the wisdom behind creating new universities when the ones we have built are still suffering from underfunding”.

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