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Nigeria must innovate, embrace data for economic sustainability, say experts

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Data. Photo: VERDICT

The Co-founder and Executive Partner at LoftInc Capital Allied Partners, Michael Oluwagbemi, has called on professionals to innovate so as to help the economy’s sustainability. He said innovation was the only strategy left for the country to create jobs and avoid penury, which stares the nation in the face.

While giving the keynote at this year’s General Assembly of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Oluwagbemi said professionals must be fully involved in the task of reconstructing the nation’s economy, noting that countries such as, the United States of America, China, Western Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia that had experienced crisis before we’re able to survive due to the intervention of professionals in those countries.

According to him, “a professional has an exceptional obligation in promoting public interest and in particular, advancing nation-building. We cannot imagine the United States rising without the dedication of the likes of Thomas Edison or the great contributions of Bessemer to the industrialisation of Europe.

“Innovation is, therefore, the only few lunches for us to create jobs and avoid penury. Hence for professionals to truly have an impact to drive innovation and these economic transformations, they must lead innovation,” he added.

He said subsidy for infrastructure and consumption, instead of production, as well as subsidy for educated illiteracy in the universities were all part of the hindrances to development.

“We make poor kids pay for primary education and leave children behind, yet we insist on a pittance as dictated tuition in our federal universities while we pay $9000 for our wards in Ghana.

“We need to realise that there is no pain without gain. We must show them that subsidizing consumption while we fritter away almost one trillion Naira yearly subsidizing way of living in the Benin Republic, Niger and Cameroon on petrol subsidy while our road crumbles in voodoo accounting and not savings,” Oluwagbemi said.

He stated the need to design and implement a framework for rapid concessioning of infrastructure as investments are good and not swear words.

The engineer stated that while the country works towards fixing its spending side of the balance sheet, it must also work at fixing the buying side. Stressing, “We must have the courage to look at the data since we passed the current procurement Act and note the mountain of failed or elongated projects that were awarded to lowest bidders. We must design a Nigerian system for the Nigerian clime to ensure when the governments budget doesn’t take 18 months to spend.”

Also, President, APBN, Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola, said all hands must be on deck to change the unpleasant narratives about poverty and the inability to meet infrastructure and economic needs of the country’s population, comprising a high percentage of unemployed youths.

He, therefore, called on the government to engage the nation’s professionals, as experts in the different fields that drive the nation’s economy, to enable them to infuse quality knowledge-based ideas and advice into its policies.

Ajibola said it was high time to look inward for solutions rather than rely on foreign entities “pretending to be our friend while merely piling unnecessary burden on our country.

“Our country clearly needs a truly professional based economic and developmental team to support the government in raising the quality of decisions on the economy.”


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