Government Urged To Embrace Data Democracy To End Corruption

Data-DemocracyNigeria cannot be successful in the fight against corruption until it democratises data and breaks the wall of secrecy that surrounds public finance.

This was one of the strong messages at ‘The Platform Abuja 2016’ held on Saturday.

It is a global media event that focuses on facilitating growth in Nigeria through personal capacities and productivity.

Poor Data Culture

According to the Co-founder of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, Nigeria’s poor data culture had made diversification of the economy an uphill task.

He stressed the need for a data revolution, pointing out that corruption would remain unless data were made available and accessible.

Resource persons at the event, one of whom was the Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, also harped on tapping overlooked resources to shift the nation’s economy away from reliance on crude oil revenue.

Over three thousand persons attended The Platform Abuja 2016

While some spoke on agriculture which they emphasised could be a perfect option to oil if well explored others stressed the need to explore digital technology that could give Nigerians the number of employment government was unable to provide in the time frame Nigerians required them.

Alibaba stressed the need for rich Nigerians to invest in the entertainment industry

Arts and entertainment is another sector that a Nigerian Comedian, Alibaba, said could bring billions of foreign exchange to Nigeria through tourism.

For over five hours, they brainstormed to encourage more than 3,000 youths present, to finally rise up to the task of empowering themselves while waiting for government to do their bit.

It is not the first time that the fall in oil price would be tagged an advantage for Nigeria’s economy but an agro-business expert, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Emmanuel Ijewere, asserted that a crop like cassava could give Nigeria biofuel, ethanol and oil, but expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that it had remained untapped because the nation depended so much on crude oil sales.

The issues highlighted at the forum serve as a call to action to the youths of Nigeria to look around them, find niches to fill and build business that would create jobs for majority of Nigerians until government is set to play its part.

Stakeholder Suggests New Ways For Farmers To Obtain Long Term Credit

Emmanuel IjewereThe Chairman, Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria, Emmanuel Ijewere, on Thursday suggested new ways for farmers in Nigeria’s growing agricultural sector to obtain long terms loans, including pension funds and Federal Government Bonds.

Mr Ijewere who spoke on Sunrise Daily, at the 2nd edition of the Ogun Investors’ Forum, holding in Abeokuta, the State capital, stressed that the best way to encourage famers and boost growth in the sector is to make long term loans available to farmers.

To this end, Ijewere highlighted the importance of the Forum, which is aimed at promoting agriculture and urban development. According to him , players in the agri-business industry and other stakeholders, including the banking institutions are able to dialogue and resolve issues.

“Historically, we thought agriculture meant farming but we’ve learnt a lot more now,” he said.

Logistics, communication, banking and ready market are some of the issues Ijewere raised concerning the value chain, which he said must be fixed and made to work in synergy for the benefit of all.

“It’s in totality, bringing everybody together on one table, discussing agro-business as one unit of event.”

On issues raised by members of the banking sector, concerning the lack of structure in the agriculture sector, which discourages bankers from granting farmers credit, Ijewere said “if they get their monies from short-term sources, they cannot give it on long-term basis.”

However, he explained that 75 per cent of the farmer’s cost is used in preparing the land.

Hence, “when you prepare the land for the first time, you use that same land for a minimum of about 5 or 6 years, but the sunk cost is already there in the first year. The banks would want their money back within 12 months, whereas you have spread it out over five or six years.

“So, you have this mismatch,” he said, noting that members of the banking sector have no training on the internal workings of the agricultural sector, as they do of the oil and gas sector.

“They have trained their people for those highfalutin worlds and highfalutin businesses. Nobody is going to talk about agriculture.”

Although the Federal Government and some State governments are making efforts to ameliorate this, “the long term solution is looking for long term funds”.

The Community Chairman went further to suggest that pension funds, which are built over a long period of time, be used as credit to farmers. Other suggestions he made were Federal Government Bonds, international funds.