Professor Urges Federal Government To Engage Youths Creatively

Professor, Federal government, youths, As part of efforts to address the challenges of unemployment and increasing internal insecurity Nigeria‎ is faced with, Professor Oculi has advised the Federal Government to device ways to creatively engage the nation’s youths.

This was according to a Professor of Political Economy from Uganda, Professor Okello Oculi, while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Security Studies in Abuja.

He said the increasing number of youths engaged in road side hawking are potential tools in the hands of aggrieved politicians.

He therefore opined that engaging them more creatively would enhance productive ventures that would further increase the nation’s wealth.

On the sidelines, Mr Oculi advised the Federal Government to aggressively promote the culture of patronizing ‘made in Nigeria’ goods, as a means of reviving the manufacturing sector and also creating massive employment opportunities for Nigerian youths.

Economic Recession

In the face of the current economic recession, the nation has seen an increase in criminal activities over the last couple of months, as a number of youths in the society, have been engaged in various vices as a means of sustaining themselves.

With various experts, political as well as economic leaders, throwing up various suggestions on how to reflate Nigeria’s economy, the nation hopes to overcome the situation in short while.

nigerian economy

In a conference that recently took place in Abuja, a lack of political will, to develop the manufacturing sector of the economy, was one of the major reasons
pointed out for the recession.

Prior to that, many leaders have continuously harped on the need for the government to explore the manufacturing as well as private sectors.

While some have said that the recession may linger over the next couple of years, if the captains of the economic team fail to re-evaluate Nigeria’s economic policies, the IMF on the other hand, predicts that Nigeria could be out of recession by 2017 

This analysis which was contained in the October issue of the World Economic Outlook released by the IMF, gave the government as well as Nigerians a ray of hope while working towards national development.

MINT Countries: Nigerian Government Must Build Human Capacity – Economist

Financial Analyst, Pascal Odigbo, has called on the Nigerian Government to build its internal capacity in order to achieve its potential as one of the World’s emerging economies, tagged the ‘MINT’ countries.

The MINT countries, made up of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey have been categorized as emerging economies that would become super powers by the year 2050.

Odigbo said that the World is always looking for the next big thing and the rationale for such projection was for investors to take position as the evaluation is based on the demographics in those countries.

He noted that this is a major pointer to the fact that other nations are showing attention to Nigeria. He said, “If you don’t have a I won’t call you.

“I think very strongly that there is absolute need for politicians to understand that this is not about personal gains but about our nation and our destiny” as this kind of declaration brings focus on what the country is doing and the world is watching.

He laid emphasis on ‘Potential’ using an analogy from the principles of Kinetic Energy in Physics. He explained that with the availability of power, one still needs to press a switch to light a bulb.

Therefore, with the world putting so much attention on Nigeria, “you need to know that you are doing something right, but now we need to be able to dimension it rightly.”

In analysing Nigeria’s potentials, he said that the strength of Nigeria is in its population, and this makes it a major ground for retail business, citing the successes of the many shopping malls that have sprung up in recent times in the country.

The ‘Sunrise Daily’ crew drew his attention to the dangers this may pose to the service and manufacturing sectors, and he agreed that things were wrong in those sectors but commended the Federal Government for its Automotive Policy which he sees as a step in the right direction towards improving the country’s manufacturing industry.

He however noted that the most important area was human development. He said, “We need to develop the people, we are putting so much into the assets rather than the people.”

He admitted that nothing was wrong with infrastructural development but it is counterproductive to build roads and other infrastructure without building the internal capacity of the people to work with these structures.

He pointed out that over a million students sit for the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations every year, but admission into the universities are available to about 500,000 people. He warned that Nigeria’s lack of human capacity would force foreign builders to bring their own people to man the country’s infrastructure, consequently leading to second slavery.

He added, “Most of the people in leadership, whether at state or local government level do not have a clue as to why they are there.”

“Government must begin to see this as a mission, developing a country is not in the mantra but in the things that you do. ”

The Internet In Nigeria Will Be Even Greater in 2014 – Johnson

A financial Analyst, Yvonne Johnson, has predicted a boom in the rate at which internet and mobile technology influence the lives of Nigerians in 2014.

She cited the social media presence of the Nigerian President and the recently celebrated entry into Twitter of Nigeria born billionaire, Aliko Dangote, as proofs that there is indeed an increased application of the internet in communication and business.

She noted that the internet transcends different industries and Nigerians cannot afford to ignore the powerful platform as it is already “shaping how we communicate and interact with people” including, especially, how business is done.

She however said that Nigeria had a long way to go in terms of catching up with the rest of the world. Admitting that the infrastructure is good enough in the country, she stressed that there was need for more applications with local relevance to be developed.

Analysing the massive impact that internet has made on Nigeria in the year 2013. She commended companies offering financial services and retail stores for having really made good use of it and being at the fore front of the boom in Nigeria.

She advised that more sectors like agriculture and education should take on the internet.

With Ebuka laying emphasis on the slow pace at which the internet technology is growing in the financial sector in comparison to the growth of Mobile Money in Kenya, a fellow African country, Johnson believed that agent network was one of the major challenges in Nigeria especially in the rural areas.

She said that people needed to find it attractive for them to be willing to embrace being agents for getting the products out to the public.

She challenged the government to develop policies that would guide how companies operate their different services.

She expressed her confidence in the Cashless Policy introduced by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, stating that the impending retirement of the CBN Governor would not slow the system down. She said: “I don’t expect too much of a radical shift from what is happening now”.

She added that there were doubt about the policy initially “but we are more into it now and we are going to see it through” as long as issues like cost, accessibility, speed, and quality of internet are all addressed in the New Year, with a bulk of the responsibility at the feet of the telecom companies.

On the sustainability of e-commerce in Nigeria, Ms. Johnson said that she thinks Nigeria would experience more growth in 2014. She also expressed her eagerness to see more competition in the sector with more players coming into the business, rather than the talk about the likes of Jumia and Konga.com merging.

She, however, warned that getting people to be more comfortable doing business online is a key factor towards achieving the expected growth, emphasising the need to build a better level of trust for the available payment options.

Although she admitted that the current system whereby shoppers pay “cash on delivery” is a good idea, she insisted that tighter security measures would go a long way in building the trust, as well as improving digital literacy among Nigerians.

Ms. Johnson singled out popular online retail shops, Jumia and Konga.com as the strongest players in the sector, whose activities must be taken seriously. She added that the kind of investment behind them showed the level of seriousness of the owners and the level of belief that investors had in them. She reiterated: “They will be around for a while.”

When asked if online shopping would be a threat to regular retail shops, Ms Johnson stressed that majority of Nigerians’ buying are still open market oriented. She enthused: “I am not convinced that that will happen; they all have their space.”

She concluded by calling on Nigerians to come up with more creative ways to use the internet to help the education sector. According to her, Nigeria’s education sector is ripe enough to be able to come online, as the internet is an enabler that unlocks many values.

With the ASUU issues of 2013, e-learning would be a good alternative for Nigerian students, moving forward.

Nigeria’s Budgeting Process Is ‘Guess Work’ – Financial Analyst

A Financial Analyst, Bandele Olusegun on Thursday faulted the entire budgeting procedure  in Nigeria, referring to it as ‘guess work’ because the government does not apply analytics when planning the budget.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Olusegun supported the National Assembly in its stance against the executive arm of government regarding the current state of the 2013 National Budget, which is yet to be passed.

“If the 2013 was properly done, there wouldn’t have been any need to amendment” he said, adding that “the National Assembly is doing its job.”

Mr Olusegun called on the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to change the process of budgeting in the country. “A budget drawn up without data is not a budget, it’s a guess work”.

Nigeria is currently using cash based accounting system which he says allows for lapses in ensuring the completion of budgets.

He alleged that cash based accounting system allows for holes in the country’s accounts which in turn affects the budget. He said this is why there is ‘so much fraud’ in the budgeting process.

He suggested that the country adopts the accrual system which is the trend worldwide.

The budget was submitted in October 2012.

Analyst Says Polymer Notes Not ‘Environmentally Friendly’, Supports Scrapping

A financial analyst and a former Senior Bank Examiner with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Eghes Eyienyen on Tuesday gave reasons why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should go ahead with plans to scrap the polymer notes, insisting that the notes are not “environmentally friendly.” 

The CBN recently announced its decision to stop the printing of small denomination naira in polymer notes, stating that they fade easily, despite earlier experiments which showed that the notes could last longer than paper notes.

While speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning, Mr Eyienyen said the decision to scrap the production of polymer notes should have been taken three years ago.

He described the initial decision to use the polymer note as ‘unfortunate’ disclosing that none of the largest economies in the world were using it.

He defended CBN’s reason for introducing the notes confirming that they are indeed durable and cheaper to produce on the long run.

“The problem is with the ink… when a currency loses its acceptability then the role as legal tender becomes threatened.” He said.

He also stated that the weather in Africa may be blamed for the wear and tear the notes are currently experiencing disclosing that no other country on the continent uses it.

He suggested that the decision to use polymer notes may have been influenced by a money-exchange between the Australian printers and some government/CBN officials. He added that “it’s obvious now that possibly the decision to go polymer may not have been taken if the transaction was transparent.”

Expert demands sack of officials that awarded contract to Bi-Courtney

A Financial analyst, Pascal Odibo on Thursday called on the Federal government to sack every public service officials involved in awarding the contract for the repair of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to Bi-Courtney.

Mr Odibo, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the government did not have to wait for three years before terminating the contract if those in public offices had a mechanism to conduct proper evaluation of the contract.

“You don’t even in the first instance award the contract to an efficient institution,” he said.

“Public service persons and personnel must be held responsible for the offices and the responsibilities that they occupy. It is not sufficient to be an assistant director; it is not sufficient to be a director in any ministry, department and agency of government and things fail and all you just do is to say you terminate a contract.

“Who approved the PPP (Public Private Partnership)? Who bided with Bi-Courtney? If Bi-Courtney did not do well why did it take three years to get to this position? And if indeed Bi-Courtney have not done the work, who is the second best bidder?” he asked.

Expert blames FG for lack of diligence over Bi-Courtney

Following the issues surrounding the Federal Government’s cancellation of the concession of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to Bi-Courtney Consortium, a former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeazor Akaraiwe, Thursday accused the government of lack of ‘due diligence’ in the contract.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the legal practitioner said the Federal Government failed to carry out sufficient investigations to ascertain why Bi-Courtney fell short of the terms of the concession contract.

“The government is being made to look like a juvenile; today saying one thing and tomorrow doing another thing,” he said.