THE board of directors of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has directed the Federal Government to cut leakages and reduce governance costs.
The NESG gave the advice in a communique, with the headline, ‘Of Hope and Despair, Not Too Late to Turn the Curve’, which was issued after a summit the board held on July 26, 2022, but was made public on Sunday, August 7, 2022.
The communique focused on the state of the Nigerian economy, identifying what the board considered the economic failures of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, and suggesting ideas on the best way forward.
The document stated that Nigeria’s revenue challenges cannot be divorced from leakages through large-scale crude oil theft, difficult operating environment for businesses, and lack of innovation in tax collection/administration.
It warned the government to reduce Nigeria’s debt situation by reducing governance costs to reflect the times the country was in.
It said, “We must return to the path of debt sustainability in the face of dwindling revenues, not to create a debt burden for future governments and, indeed, future generations. We must prioritise our expenditure, limit our spending to items we can sustain, and eliminate wastage and graft in government.
“Governments, across all tiers, should lead by example through a drastic reduction in governance costs (such as running costs of the legislatures, the proliferation of government agencies, etc.) to reflect the austere times we face.”
Today, the country is stuck in an economic morass. Most macroeconomic indicators are spiralling out of control, inflicting severe hardship on more Nigerians. Read the full communique at https://t.co/QGaP4hpqPv 4/20 pic.twitter.com/MM2qSkf4Zj
— Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) (@officialNESG) August 8, 2022
It tasked the government to find viable solutions to ensure food self-sufficiency, while addressing the issues of multiple exchange rates in the country.
It also asked the Federal Government to explore a systematic subsidy removal programme that would cushion the impact on the most vulnerable segment of the population.
While urging the government to tackle the security menace, it said that the ongoing six-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), had degenerated into a national embarrassment.
It stated, “In order to signal the Government’s commitment to a speedy resolution, we now need direct and strong presidential leadership in the discussions and negotiations to get our students back to school.
“The frequency of this face-off indicates a failure in the current funding model for tertiary education. The NESG is willing to support Government’s efforts towards developing sustainable governance and funding strategies for tertiary education.”
The communique, signed by the NESG chairman, Asue Ighodalo, suggested to the government that a lot could still be done to turn the curve within the remaining 10 months of the Buhari administration.
It emphasised that turning the tides, though, would require tough choices and decisive actions, with no sacred cows. It asked the government to lay the groundwork for a legacy that a new government can build upon from Monday, 29 May 2023.
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