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Experts task government on infrastructure, jobs creation for economic growth

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An economist, Professor Olanrewaju Olaniyan yesterday underscored the need for all tiers of government to improve on infrastructure and jobs creation to enhance the country’s economic growth and development.

Olaniyan, a Director at the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that empowering youths and women would go a long way to fast-track economic growth in Nigeria.

His words: “Traditionally, if we want to improve economic growth, the most productive sector of the economy must work. Except people work, the country cannot grow. The level of unemployment is really having negative impact on the country’s economy.

“So, if we want to grow economically, then we must ensure every productive person is employed, and if you add the unemployment rate in the country it comes above 40 per cent.

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“This means that four out of 10 are not working, especially those within the working age, and this is a big minus. If we want to grow, we must make sure that everybody that has the capacity to work is able to get opportunity to work.”

He said for the productive sector to work, the business environment must be good and infrastructure has to improve substantially.

“People still have problems with transportation; they still have problems with a whole lot of other infrastructure, especially power, which is the most important input for manufacturing, even for the small-scale businesses.

“So, if we want to achieve economic growth, we must improve on infrastructure in the country. It is the availability of infrastructure that reduces the cost of production,” he said.

He explained that the cost of funds to an average producer in the country was expensive, adding that accessing bank loans always attracted high interest rate.

“Although the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture are providing job opportunities, they cannot do much considering the level in which the country is now. So, when you look at this, it constrains productive activities in the country,” he added.

Olaniyan argued that due to high cost of production, goods that were produced in the country were expensive and that was why other goods that came from outside the country looked as if they were better.

“If we are able to improve on the infrastructure, definitely the prices of the locally produced goods will become lower and it will become more competitive, and then economically we will improve,” he said.

Similarly, another economist, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, said for effective economic growth in the country, governments at all levels should focus more on youth and women empowerment.

Aziegbemi, a former representative of Esan Federal Constituency, Edo State in the House of Representatives, said the three tiers of government should be more concerned on how to get people back to work.

He stressed that people need to have jobs so as to contribute their quota to national development, adding: “We need to believe in Nigerians, every inch of this land is supposed to be a productive centre.”


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