By Godwin Oritse
Prof Pat Utomi, a political economist, yesterday, warned that Nigeria runs the risk of a worsening economic situation and getting into another round of debt traps, if it does not stop borrowing.
Speaking on the morning show on Arise Television yesterday, Utomi said the leadership of the country was currently focused on power rather than on purpose, adding that the purpose of leadership should be building a strong, viable and sustainable nation for the benefit of all.
Utomi also said Nigeria’s major problem is the quality of leadership, noting that Nigerians need to ensure a good process of choosing people of quality for public office.
Utomi, who lamented that there is too much focus on power rather than purpose, explained that a group he currently belongs to is trying to look at quality leadership, competence and courage.
According to him, there are groups that are focusing on different challenges of the nation’s life, and another group he belongs is focusing on constitutional and electoral process reforms.
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Utomi said that Nigeria does not have a national economic strategy and that the government kept borrowing from all kinds of places with no clear strategies on how it will harmonize these commitments and how these borrowings would lead to real growth in the economy and provide millions of desperately needed jobs
He said: “What this country needs is a demographic dividends, we need to tap into this huge youth barge by appropriately investing in our young people and make it the basis for the new growth and the expansion that this country needs.
“Unless we see these things in this context, the obsession with power will just make us poorer, more miserable, create more insecurity and I think this is the real starting point purpose and not power.’’
“What are we endowed with in the first place, North Central Sesame seed, North West Gum Arabic, South South Hydro-Carbon value chains, South West Cocoa and other agricultural products, we can literally build economies around.
“Educate the people around these areas, by the time somebody who lives in North Central is leaving school, he already knows everything about sesame seeds, he can run a small business that can add value to his sesame seed through production and refining.
”There are people whose skill is to identify the use of sesame seeds in Europe, North America and aggregating what is produced in North Central such that they access international markets. We must move ourselves towards these organizational structures like light manufacturing.”
He opined that the biggest risk of doing business in Nigeria was regulatory risk, adding that he regulator was dangerous in Nigeria because of cultural problem.