By Franklin Alli
Former Vice-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Prof. Wale Olaitan, has said that the future can be bright for Nigeria again if Nigeria go back to production economy instead of continuous reliance on revenue from oil and tariff from imports.
Delivering a paper during the Third Anniversary Annual Lecture of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) in Osun state, he said.
“Every economy and its health would be much dependent on the nature and health of production, such that where production is not going on well, the economy would definitely be in stutters”
In the paper titled ‘Nigerian Workers and the Present Economic Crisis: Going beyond the Current Narratives’, he noted that all Nigerians are living at a lower level of production reality this year with the recession in the economy as the country is not able to reach its last year’s level of production.
He said: “How then do we face the future? It is about recognising and understanding what is ailing us now. Do we note the lack of production in our economy? Do we realise that the total production of the Nigerian economy belies the huge number or those of us who call ourselves workers?
“Do we know that even workers and citizens in South Africa have productivity that is almost three times what we have in Nigeria? Do we get disturbed by such realisation? Do we note that we have to restore production and productivity as the cornerstone of our economy?”
According to him, “Nigeria has unproductive and poor economy based on bonanza from oil sector. The bonanza from the oil sector is not showing enough capacity to pay for our profligacy. Nigeria has been so damaged by the free money from oil bonanza that we are not prepared for any hard work again.
“Even when the government talks about diversification, the expectation is to jump into another sector where free money could flow. Unfortunately, there is no such other sector.”
He added that any other sector that would bring revenue would need the hard work of production and this is what the government and the people of Nigeria do not want to engage in.
“We see the Federal Government setting out a budget with massive revenue expectation from the Customs and Ports Authority in an economy in recession as if there would not be a decline in importation under recession.
“And we see State Governments also projecting massive increases in tax collection even without any projected improvement in production within the States.”
Prof. Olaitan said ordinarily as production increases, tax accruing to government increases which is why government is always interested in helping to expand and increase production.
“But Nigerian governments would want more taxes even where production is plummeting because they are already so used to easy money,” he said.