The former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has said the cost of governance in Nigeria is too high, and urged that it should be reduced to have enough funding for critical sectors like education and health.
He also called on the FG to step back in infrastructure funding and provide the enabling environment for private-sector led infrastructural development in Nigeria.
Peter Obi disclosed this during an interview with Arise TV this morning.
He said, “The cost of governance in Nigeria is unacceptable anywhere in the world. I have operated it and I know that the cost is too much. People cannot put food on their table, whereas our leaders are still drinking champagne. These are the things we should be bothered about and reduced.”
He added that the cost need to be reduced to make way for more funding in education, citing the Covid-19 pandemic which exposed Nigeria’s deficit in human development spending compared to other developing nations as populated as Nigeria.
“We need to reduce it to have money for critical areas of education. What happened with Covid-19 has shown us the consequences of several years of bad leadership and not investing in the education or health sector. You could see it, countries spending billions on education, while we are spending nothing.
“Indonesia is investing $50 billion in education annually, and they are 250 million. We are 200 million and not even spending $2 billion on education. Comparing both populations, we are supposed to spend at least $35 -$40 billion on education, meanwhile that is our entire National budget,” he said.
He disclosed that as Governor, he cut costs of governance by buying government vehicles from local manufacturers, especially Innoson.
He urged for a focus on debt burden of the private sector, which is a sign that the private sector is taking the risks to grow the economy.
“We need to make the economy productive, and its not rocket science. All we need to do is check nations where debt increased in private sector; South Africa is $490 billion in the private sector compared to less than half of that for the public sector, which shows an economy that is working. In Nigeria’s case, its the reverse and we need to support the engine of growth,” he said.
He also added that the private sector be made to take off pressure from the FG in infrastructure debt by building roads and regaining revenue through means like tolling.
“For infrastructure development, the private sector needs to be brought in to drive the process of gaining funding from capital markets for infrastructure construction and get the revenues through tolls. Nigerians are willing to drive around in good roads that are tolled.
“It must be private-sector led to make it more effective, FG’s role is to support. It’s not rocket science, it has been done before in Anambra. What we need is to have people who are competent and wealth creators. Let’s do what others are doing to get their economy productive, we have people making money without doing anything,” he said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported last week that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in real terms declined by -3.62% in Q3 2020, marking a full-blown recession and second consecutive contraction from -6.10% recorded in the previous quarter, Q2 2020.
In an earlier report, Obi stated that Nigeria needs to trim the unnecessary expenditure on its budget and redirect the economy towards a production-based one. He also warned that that the current recession would be worse than that of 2016, because debt raised by the administration was not properly invested.
The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on Monday, November 23, 2020, said the country will exit recession by Q1 2021, as the Nigerian government is working towards reversing the declining economic trend in the country.