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Sanusi, Fayemi others knock FG’s incentives, subsidy schemes

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
27 October 2021   |   4:12 am
Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Ekiti State Governor, John Kayode Fayemi have said it will be difficult for Nigeria to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the government continues wasting funds...

Sanusi

Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Ekiti State Governor, John Kayode Fayemi have said it will be difficult for Nigeria to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the government continues wasting funds subsidising petroleum as well as spending on frivolous incentives.

The duo spoke yesterday, alongside other panelists, at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.

While Sanusi insisted that the Federal Government lacked the constitutional right to pay subsidy on behalf of the federation, Fayemi believes that the country needs to free up funds from subsidy, which according to him, only benefits the elite and channel such funds towards education.

Sanusi, who said there was no appropriation for fuel subsidy in Nigeria’s yearly budgetary provisions, regretted that government channels billions towards subsidy payment yearly.

Sanusi said: “Take the North for instance, you cannot address poverty in the North without proper census, you must address polygamy.

The rate at which poor people willfully marry four wives is worrisome; nobody takes responsibility for children in the North. The government must hold the parents of Almajiris responsible for poverty in the North.

“Electricity is a necessary input for poverty alleviation but nobody is paying attention to it. The government must take unpopular decisions and free up resources for the economy to work.”

On the way forward, Sanusi said there must be national consensus where the executive, legislatures will have to agree on ways to improve on education, healthcare and social services.

On his part, Fayemi, who called for urgent steps towards safe schools for kids, warned that, “If we don’t take immediate steps, children will stop going to school.”

Noting that 1.2trillion 2022 budgetary provision for education was not enough for education, he regretted that the country would never get to that point of getting enough budgetary provisions for education.

“We need to do something about the growing population. In all our states, we must make it compulsory for every girl child to have free education till secondary level to tackle population.

“We must find a framework to measure all areas of interest, if we can succeed in education, security and employment, we can succeed in all other areas.” Fayemi added.

Chief Executive Officer, Enhancing Financial, Ashley Immanuel expressed optimism that the country could actually attain the 17 SDGs, but it can only be realised when the Federal Government puts in place a clear accountability structure.

For the CEO, Incubator Africa ltd. Alero Ayida-Otobo, 90 percent of children in schools are unable to read and write when they are supposed to, because the yearly budget doesn’t reflect what has been agreed upon.

Earlier in his remarks, NESG Chairman, Asue Ighodalo, disclosed that young Nigerian entrepreneurs founded three out of four digital start-ups, valued in excess of one billion dollars.

Ighodalo maintained that Nigerian technology entrepreneurs were able to leverage the digital transformation to succeed and attract local and foreign investments.

“I am convinced that our path to greatness lies within our people, but we must inspire and support ourselves to believe in our country and trust our leaders, who must, by their acts, earn our trust,” he added.