What Buhari’s ‘Next Level’ Really Means – Osinbajo

Osinbajo syas Buhari-led administration believe that Nigeria’s prosperity means a decent existence for all, ending extreme poverty, increasing productivity and ending corruption.

He says the Buhari-led government is working toward providing good healthcare and education to make Nigeria’s workforce relevant in the knowledge economy.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday said that Nigeria is on the path of taking its place among the comity of nations with various developmental programmes ongoing in different sectors of the country.

Osinbajo made the assertion at the 2017/2018 50th Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in Lagos in a lecture themed: “Nigeria Rising: The Path to Prosperity’’.

While pointing that the moost crucial pillar of any government’s economic policy should be the improvement of human resource, he said the topic of the lecture was informed by the curiosity of what people expect from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the next four years, or what “Next Level’’ really means.

He therefore affirmed that the Buhari-led administration believe that Nigeria’s prosperity means a decent existence for all, ending extreme poverty, increasing productivity and ending corruption.

He said the present administration believes in wealth creation system that is capable of taking millions out of poverty, while providing for those who cannot work.

Osinbajo added that wealth creation options must include access to cheap credit and must include job schemes for the unemployed and cash transfers to the most poor and vulnerable.

Nigeria’s GDP

He also said that the administration is working toward providing good healthcare and education that makes the country’s workforce relevant in the knowledge economy.

“In plotting the path to prosperity, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, we took into account the weaknesses of the Nigerian economy and the illusions that distort our real understanding of our economy.

“First is the focus on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth figures without the understanding of the underlying dynamics,’’ he said.

Osinbajo, who stated that a total of 60 percent of Nigeria’s GDP figures depends on oil, added that the oil sector itself contributed 10 to 12 percent, while the rest is contributed by the non-oil sector.

According to the vice president, between 50 and 53 percent depended on the oil sectors. This, he said meant that the country’s economy rested on a tripod, with two of the three legs depending on highly volatile oil prices and production.

Having understood that high oil revenue does not equal better jobs or better human development indices, Osinbajo cited an example of the period of astronomical high oil revenues when the country had high level of poverty, infant mortality and unemployment.

“Our economy was also being run on a consumption growth model, which is only advantageous if consumption is being met by domestic production of goods and services.

“However, our consumption was being met by import, and thus, though the GDP was going up, more people were going into poverty,’’ he said.

Current economic dispensation

According to Osinbajo, who is also a professor of Law, the only affluent people in the current economic dispensation were the professionals whom, he said, were able to plug into the rent seeking opportunities brought by high oil prices.

He noted that the average citizen could not because when the oil prices fall, not only does GDP fall, but the wealth of these affluent people is wiped out.

While noting that the place of corruption was also crucial, he addied that the same oil earnings that was supposed to fund education, infrastructure and healthcare ended up in private pockets.

He added that the combination of theft of public revenues, the consequent failure to invest in infrastructures and the largely rent seeking business class was what accounted for Nigeria’s current economic situation.

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