How to invest recovered loot (2)
Continued from yesterday
THE economy now virtually relies on import of basic needs. The implication of this is manifold. Firstly, import stifles the growth of domestic industries. Secondly, Nigeria is creating employment opportunities for the citizens of foreign countries as we import at the expense of our unemployed youth. Thirdly, Nigerian economy cannot record capital formation without producing outputs. And lastly, in the event of external economic crisis, Nigeria would be more vulnerable Nigeria is already afflicted by the import dependency syndrome. As a result of the import addiction, the Naira continues to fall and insurgency becomes a viable occupation for the youth, wanton destruction of lives and property becomes the order of the day, and the socio-economic infrastructure rapidly dilapidating. The consequences of these are the increasing rate of youth unemployment, poverty, and frustration.
The youth are weakened economically. Majority of them cannot make their own homes. They have become adult babies- depending on their parents for basic necessities of life, despite their having reached working age. The youth have been circumstantially converted to a pool to be hired for insurgency at a ridiculous price by egocentric persons.
Corruption not only incapacitates the youth but also blights the future of our children. The children are not prepared for good education to take care of their future and the future is not prepared for them either because corruption has impaired the setting of basic foundation for economic development.
Investing the recovered loot
The recovered loot can be used to revitalize the key productive sectors of industry and agriculture as well as the educational sector. The weak nature of these sectors is responsible for our import dependency syndrome.
We should invest the loot to manufacture our basic consumables and refine our petrol to create employment and save the foreign reserve. The Agricultural sector in Nigeria which is supposed to go pari-passu with the industrial sector is still operating at traditional, non-mechanized, small-scale, and subsistence levels. The recovered loot can be invested in the agricultural sector to make it attractive for employment of numerous skilled job seekers, and ensure food security for the nation.
Despite the series of agricultural policies of the past, Nigeria still relies on imports of food products. In addition, the value of foreign exchange earnings by agriculture is insignificant compared to oil because commodity export is in the form of unprocessed raw material. Ironically, the raw material export creates employment for industries of foreign countries while Nigeria wants to import back the processed products at higher value in the form of clothes, shoes, bags, etc. This miscalculation drains our little hard-earned foreign reserve and results to the domestic pool of unemployed youth.
Nigeria should work towards feeding its populace and stop wasting hard earned foreign exchange on imports of food stuff by investing the recovered loot in the sector to implement a purposive mechanised farming to avoid farm fragmentation and to achieve large-scale output and derive the advantage of economies of scale.
These two sectors have the capacity to revaluate the Naira when carefully invigorated. All other sectors of the economy must also respond positively once these two primary sectors are made to take good bearing. Economic prosperity is a good antidote for economic crime.
Lastly, the recovered loot can be used to rebrand the educational system. Linking research with development is a global strategy in achieving economic growth. Retouching the educational system with modern infrastructure and re-training personnel is necessary so that children can be prepared to take care of their future with courage. The educational syllabuses should be reviewed to provide for a general studies course on the implication of corruption.
Corruption is a product of the combination of economic hardship, greed and lack of close monitoring by the previous regimes. When corruption was declared as not stealing, licence for it was actually granted. When the income of workers is demeaned by devaluation and import dependency, the seeds of corruption are sown. For this reasons, a sustainable war against corruption requires that the economy should be revived. The government must not only watch against corruption but also reinvigorate the key productive sector to diversify the economy and rebrand the educational system in order to create gainful employments for the youth to have a decent life.
As corruption begets corruption, it is high time to stop it and invest to prevent the breed of corrupt children. This is essential in safeguarding future generations from the vicious cycle. It is therefore, our belief that investing the recovered loot wisely is capable of intercepting the inter-generational transmission of corruption and its grotesque consequences.
• Professor Magaji is of the Department of Economics, University of Abuja.
No comments yet