By Victor Ahuima-Young
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, is gearing up for the retirement of its longest serving Director General, DG, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, at the end of this month. This has not stopped the umbrella body for employers in the country from adding its voice to the clamour for restructuring of the country.
At his valedictory briefing, Oshinowo contended that without restructuring; insecurity, poverty, unemployment among others, would remain challenging issues to the country.
He insisted that restructuring would allow states take full responsibility of their resources and manage same to create wealth for their citizens.
According to him, dependence of the federating states on the monthly federal allocations had made nonsense of the idea of a federal structure that Nigeria had set out to operate.
He said “Nigeria must restructure to allow states take responsibility for certain aspects of this economy. Even if you have zero-level corruption, best of economic policies, if don’t restructure so that you can create wealth for the people, those policies won’t work.
“Today, it is only Lagos and Abuja where things seem to be happening. There are no economic opportunities for the citizens in other states. So what you find is a situation where Nigerians are moving out of those states to Lagos to find means of survival. This is not good for the economy. The federating states must have opportunities to engage their citizens and fight poverty. This is why restructuring is necessary.”
The DG, who is retiring after 19 years of service in NECA, also decried perceived over-regulation of the Nigerian economy by multiple agencies of federal government, describing them as ‘killers’ of businesses.
He said it was unfortunate that most of the regulatory agencies of the government would see themselves existing only for revenue generation as against aiding the growth of businesses and the economy.
Oshinowo noted that the activities of some of the regulatory agencies alongside absence of infrastructure in Nigeria were key factors for investors.
Citing the gridlock around the ports and Apapa, Oshinowo said there was need for government to take the issue of infrastructure more seriously, saying “any president in the 2019 must focus on infrastructure development to attract new investments and strengthen the economy.”
He called for a change of attitude in governance, adding that “any government that has not lifted the people from poverty has no business being in government. Real strength for an economy is having a healthy income to support the economy.”
While commending the media for its support during his reign, Oshinowo solicited the co-operation of the media for the incoming DG, Mr. Timothy Olawale, who takes over on January 1, 2019.
In his remark, Olawale said the association under his leadership would continue to pursue his core mandate of protecting the interests and rights of member companies as well as sustain its human capacity building programme, weaved into a five-year strategic plan which starts from 2019 to 2023.