Gabriel Idibia, Kaduna
Former Central Bank Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, said Thursday, that any diversification of the economy that bypassed industrialization may likely not succeed in a country where there is huge capital flight, weak institutions among others.
He also disclosed that for Nigeria to reposition its economy, the federal government must hands off the control of states resources, as he explained that states must be given incentives to go out of their way to enhance their economic viability for effective development of the country.
Soludo, who was speaking in Kaduna, at the 4th Progressive Governance Lecture Series of the Progressive Governors Forum, said with the present economic recession, Nigerians should plan without oil by evolving other avenues for the overall development of the country.
Professor Soludo, who spoke on, “Building the economy of States: Challenge of developing inclusive and sustainable growth,” said if APC were to govern progressively, there should be a structure of how the government operates, stressing that this could be done by going back to the party’s manifesto.
He enjoined the APC-led government to stop reminding Nigerians of the problems they inherited but should evolve ways out of the present challenges with definite dates.
Professor Soludo expressed dismay that the current expenditure was more than the income, adding that the present situation was characterised by low production, corruption, terrorism, kidnapping and other social vices thereby posing a negative impact in the growth of the economy.
He stressed that it was an opportunity for the government to diversify the economy, adding that the country has very cheap labour to reposition the economy.
He observed that in spite of all challenges in the country, there was hope in the future of Nigeria, pointing out that a drop in the price of crude oil was a clarion call and a blessing for Nigeria to use the opportunity to rise its economic base without necessarily depending on oil.
He noted that most of the Northern states were suffering from poverty with desertification affecting the economy activities of the region, stressing that demography must be dealt with, and ways must be considered towards empowering the teeming youth to participate in the policy of economic growth.
Nigeria, he said, was a fragile state that needs leaders to distinguish themselves by taking the people out of the present economic woes, adding that the only way to do so is for states government to enhance their economic base and ensure standard structure that would be introduced to arrest the present economic situation.
Earlier, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, said Nigeria has the ability to improve on the present situation couple with the huge human and natural resources that abound in the country.
He said there was the need for Nigerians to go back to the round table by coming up with realistic framework that would make the country great, stressing that Nigeria has the resources to become great.
He called on civil servants to see themselves as the hope of making the possible change needed in the country.