Countries that rely heavily on oil and have not saved enough money for the ‘rainy days’ are today facing serious economic challenges. Nigeria is one of them. These challenges are peculiar and require some painful and creative off-the-shelf measures.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic management system involves the application of the already known economic variables and some off-the-shelf approaches that are centered on what the masses understand most- money in their pockets and food on their tables.
Looking at the composition of the Buhari Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; one will see a shift from how the previous economic teams were composed. The Buhari economic management team does not only have a weekly meeting but consults with experts from various fields of knowledge and also seeks diverse opinion from the ordinary people. Speaking at the recent EMT meeting, Vice President Osinbajo said "we will continue to engage with experts and other stakeholders so we can measure progress of the economic policies that have been put in place. The challenges are many but the opportunities are much greater, we are clearly on the path to building an economy that will create jobs and ensure inclusive growth."
President Buhari’s approach to Nigeria’s current economic challenges is designed not only to achieve revival and diversification of the economy but also create productive jobs to replace menial jobs and develop skills for many young Nigerians. Noteworthy in this regard is the recently launched ‘N-Power’ programme, which will create not just thousands of jobs but productive and sustainable ones. It will help young Nigerians to acquire and develop life-long skills and acquire the right tools and equipment for their businesses. For instance, mechanics will have modern workshops with jumpers and chargers, tire care, pressurized air and hand tools. Welders will have solar and wind powered welding machines; fashion designers will have smart workshops etc. N-power will also facilitate the establishment of inventions and innovation centers for computer scientists, operations researchers, architects, engineers, lawyers, etc to form hubs for startups. Furthermore, it is heartwarming to note that one of the most important strategies of the Buhari government to tackle unemployment is through agricultural entrepreneurship programme for youths. Enthusiasts of agro-entrepreneurship are suggesting that the government should go into partnership with private sector to establish poultry, fisheries, dairy, snail farms, plantations, etc in various locations across the country. The pilot phase should start with youth corpers/graduates. They should be trained-on-the-job on how to manage the farms. After intensive training, the farms should be transferred to them for management as entrepreneurs. The scheme should involve local councils and state governments who are to provide land and local support, the private sector provides the fund while the federal government stands as the guarantor of fund. This can be done through the issuance of either callable, par value or coupon rate bonds. The private investors or financial institutions are not to give money directly to the governments in order to receive the bond-certificate. It would rather be a batter arrangement where the investors- either financial institution or private individuals would setup the farms and put in place all structures required in a modern farm. After this, a bond certificate equivalent to the cost, which will be determined by both parties and experts, will be issued to them.
The youths, to whom the farms are to be transferred, should gradually refund the fund back to the government; so as to make the scheme a revolving one, and to eliminate any form of mismanagement or corruption.
The Buhari government is facing unprecedented oil price crash; ripples from mismanagement of the past and high public expectation. Gladly, the government is painstakingly putting in place the building blocks for the right fiscal stimulus, diversification of the economy and creation of sustainable productive jobs.
Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, firstname.lastname@example.org 08036070980