-As Lalong harps on reducing costs of governance
By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
National leader of the All Progressives Congress,APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said that while states and local government must shape their budgets to fit their revenues, the federal government should spend more to create more jobs for the youth in both the north and south which is key to eradicating restiveness and sundry criminality among the youth.
“Take a look at the world. Those nations that recovered most quickly from the 2009 economic crisis and now from COVID-19 are those nations that most engaged in government stimulus spending to revive their flagging economies,” he said.
Tinubu who was Chairman of the 2021 Sardauna Annual Memorial Lecture held on Saturday at the Arewa House, Kaduna,said the feat achieved by those nations was was not by accident but due to purposeful policy and the deeper understanding of the nature of money and the role of a national government in saving a flagging economy.
“Thus, America recently embarked on US$1.9 trillion stimulus to boost the economy. It was not said that this government spending would erode jobs but that it would create them. Thus, we should not be so against government spending. If it is for the right purposes, it can do essential things that the private sector cannot. What we should be against is wasteful government spending.”
“Building vital infrastructure such as irrigation and water catchment systems will help agriculture, arrest desertification and provide jobs. Only government has the power and resources to call forth such a program. Another readily available area primed for investment is the agro allied industry which, for the northern region is particularly advantageous.”
“Urban populations are growing but urban jobs are not. Here, government must implement a national industrial policy to encourage key industries that begin to employ this growing urban work force.Like I said in my recent statement on the pressing issue of the herder and farmer dispute, we must appreciate that martial security measures alone will not suffice. Problems that are essentially of an economic origin must also have an economic solution,” he said
“Enhanced security may be the necessary first step, but it cannot be the only step. We cannot resolve this problem by holding on to one-dimensional answers.
We must all be dispassionate in our search for solutions. These challenges are multi-faceted and so shall the solutions must be.The issue of insecurity, poverty, unemployment and extremism have many things to do with governance, over time. At bottom we must tackle our deep and widespread poverty. If we limit government’s role under the erroneous assumption that government spending is intrinsically unproductive then we tether ourselves to failure.”
“We would do well to more critically study how other populous nations such as the UK, US, Germany and China charted their course during their formative years. You will see that they did not adhere to small government or the purportedly free market. Government engaged in massive spending on infrastructure and education while also engaging in policies that protected industrial development and key aspects of the agricultural sector. Only when they matured and held advantages over other nations, did the UK and US begin to champion free markets and small government. We would do well to understand this history and learn what it means for our own pursuit of development,” he said.
Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum,Rt.Hon.Simon Bako Lalong who presented the lecture with the theme,REDUCING THE COST OF GOVERNANCE FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN POST COVID-19 NORTHERN NIGERIA,said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to lockdowns, fall in prices of crude oil, global and local lockdowns in business activities.
He said Nigeria is not excluded from these casualties, which have compounded the country’s problem of inclusive growth and youth development, especially in Northern Nigeria which hitherto has the lowest economic growth rate in the country and the most poverty stricken part of the country.
“Currently, the cost of governance is astronolmically high that so many sectors of the economy have remained underdeveloped. This is ostensibly attributed to the fact that the resources that are meant to be channeled to sectors like Education, Health, Agriculture, etc are consumned by overheads or administrative costs such as very high salaries of political appointee and the elected officials as well as maintenance of government structures. The resultant effect is exclusive or slow growth, underdevelopment and youth restiveness, particularly in Northern Nigeria.”
“This presentation seeks to establish the major indices responsible for the rising cost of governance in Nigeria and how it can be curbed. It also seeks to address the phenomenon of inclusive growth, youth developent and how these could be achieved in the post COVID-19 Northern Nigeria. In Nigeria today the cost of governance is astronomically high such that so many sectors of the country have remained underdeveloped. ”
The governor spoke on steps to be taken by Government towards curbing the high cost of governance, saying youths should be empowered with entrepreneurial activities to support their means of livelihood by Government through its Agencies like the Central Bank, NGO’s, critical units of United Nations Organization, World Bank, and the Private Sector.
“Governance in Nigeria at all levels has become very expensive that other aspects like social, educational, economic and political spheres are also feeling the negative impact of such high cost of Governance. This high cost, commonly attributed to factors such as high overhead cost, at the detriment of capital and developmental projects, high recurrent spending, multiplicity of ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), retinue of political appointees for political patronage.”
“The presidential system of Government with its attendant cost of operation where the legislature as the second tier of Government also come with a very high cost. For example, while the sum of One Hundred and Twenty-Seven Billion Naira (N127,000,000,000) was allocated to education in the 2021 budget, the sum of One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Billion Naira (N128,000,000,000) was allocated to the National Assembly. The tenets or antecedents of Civil Servants in relation to lack of integrity and accountability, according to Adamu and Rasheed (2016) are also major contributors to the high cost of Governance in Nigeria ” he said.
Earlier,President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented on the occasion by his Chief of Staff,Prof.Ibrahim Gambari extolled the virtues of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria,Sir Ahmadu Bello who he described as a visionary and transformational leader.
According to the President,Sardauna was an institutional leader per excellence who worked across ethnic and religious lines to build bridges.
Dignitaries during the occasion included were the governors of Jigawa,Kebbi,Kwara,the deputy governor of Kaduna state and some of her colleagues ,Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso,the CG of Customs,Col.Hameed Ali ( rtd),the Shehu of Borno,Senator Abu Ibrahim ,Hon.Faleke,ex EFCC boss Nuhu Ribadu,among others.