Gimba: Cut cost of governance
Dr Victor Kyari Gimba is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University (KASU). In this interview with SAXONE AKHAINE, he spoke on the need for an economic team composed of experts to drive the nation’s economy.
What is your take on the position of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Federal Government should fashion out an economic blueprint to drive its actions.
From the beginning there is every indication that the present government was not really prepared for governance. As it is now, I don’t know if this government has an economic team that will drive its economic programmes. In fact, I have not heard of any economic adviser to the President. I think the one I heard of is that of the Vice President. And the Vice President, to the best of my knowledge is a lawyer. So, I cannot imagine the Vice President who is a lawyer being saddled with the management of the economy. The government needs an expert, somebody that has very solid background in economics, in order to be able to run the economy. You can’t ask a lawyer to run the economy without the input of experts.
Look at those in key sectors of government; most of them don’t even have the requisites of their offices. So, as it is now, to the best of my knowledge government doesn’t have an economic team to drive the country out of this recession. You cannot ask a Lawyer to anchor an economy of a nation like that of Nigeria, and this is why it is proving difficult for them to bring out any economic blueprint for this country. Obasanjo did it and Goodluck Jonathan did it. They had economic teams. But this government doesn’t have an economic blueprint and it has taken the government almost two years without any economic direction.
And the way out now, it is not too late; I think government should appoint an economic team, made up of mostly economic experts, to stir the affairs of Nigerian economy. You see, the President has so many things on his table. He cannot run the economy all alone, and by the way, he does not have any background on the economy. Therefore, government needs somebody with a solid background to be able to handle the affairs of the nation’s economy. We are in recession now, what is the way out? They are just gambling. They don’t really know what to do. See, Nigerians are suffering and what are the policies to be put in place, to see the country out of this mess? They don’t really know.
However, on the World Bank and IMF, I don’t think government should totally make our economy open for them to control. All the same, they should work together. Government, World Bank and IMF should collaborate. Of course we need them, but they cannot come to our aid if we don’t have good policies.
Therefore, my advice is that government should be more serious. Because for now, it is like the government is not serious in handling the economy.
Sometimes, I come to think that they come to power by accident. They didn’t really plan for it.
The Government has now decided to take external loans and this may have propelled the World Bank and IMF to ask for an economic blueprint of the Buhari’s administration. Do you think it is worthwhile for the government to depend on loans to revive the economy?
I always kick against the issue of taking loans. However, we cannot be independent, we need other external intervention, particularly other economies, to be able to run our own economy. Since the money is not there for Nigeria, the government can consider such sources. But, there should be a limit to external loans.
Government cannot fund its own budget by taking loans from external sources. It is not wise to do so. Government should look inward, they should think of diversifying the economy. You know, the problem we have now, majorly started from the past. We didn’t know how to manage the huge money we realised and accruing through the sale of crude oil. I mean the revenue generated from the crude oil then.
That is why we are suffering today. However, government should immediately look inward for solutions. We cannot fund our budget by borrowing money. Government should immediately start cutting the cost of governance to the barest minimum, in order to save this country. I think majorly, what is draining our resources is the cost of governance. Look at the National Assembly and look at the Presidency, is it really true that they have cut the cost of governance and the cost of maintaining themselves? This is part of the things killing the country.
If they should cut the cost of governance and the cost of being flamboyance, of course we would manage the resources we have. But, do you know what a National Assembly member takes home? Only God knows. If government should cut the cost of governance to the barest minimum at this time of economic recession, then we will know where we are going. The government is fighting corruption in a proper manner, but they need to do more by spreading it. And the money realised should be channeled into the economy.