As Nigeria faces its worst recession in recent years, various influential folks from different sectors have chipped in their two cents on how the Nigerian government can rise above the economic slump. The latest to dole out his wise words is former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
On Tuesday Obasanjo advised the Nigerian government, urging them to spend less and earn more in order to get out of the economic slumps.
His statements were made at the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Ogun state. The programme “Enhancing Revenue Generation and Obtaining Best Value for Money in Expenditure.”
Obasanjo accused the Nigerian government of spending more than the country earns, stating that the government needs to cut down on expenditure.
“We are spending more than what we earn, so we must borrow as quickly as possible. Let us meet with those who can lend us under reasonable interests rates.
“I foresaw it two years go. So let us find out the things we can do without, we should instil discipline to cut spending. Also, when we have inflation, it affects everything including local production.”
He added that Nigeria should broaden its revenue base as no nation is willing to part loans to a state that does not seem to be generating enough revenue that would enable it to pay back the loan.
Olusegun Obasanjo did not fail to emphasize on the need for Nigeria to diversify its source of income. The man, who is himself a farmer, urged the government to invest in agriculture.
Some days ago, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote suggested that the Nigerian government should sell off its assets such as the NLNG. He argued that these assets could help Nigeria get back on her feet.
Former president Obasanjo stated that he supports Dangote’s idea.
“We started NNPC about the same time Norway started Statoil and look at where we are. I said it this morning, two institutions that were not tampered with badly, or not tampered with at all in the last six years, is the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company.
“The second one are the pension funds which is going to hit N6 trillion and has captured only 7 million people out of over 20 million wage earners, if we can even double that, you imagine what that can be.”
“I see no reason why 49% of NNPC cannot be privatised; don’t give it out to cabals, friends, relations or kith and kin, let it go public so that even my driver can buy 10% of NNPC and if there is a limit to the shares any individual or any corporate organisation can buy, there is nothing wrong with that.”
Olusegun Obasanjo stressed that selling is not bad, and it has the potential to help Nigeria if the process is transparent and credible.
He also added that it is not enough to generate revenue from the sales of the assets, but how the revenue is used is necessary as well to making Nigeria’s economy better.