Nigeria has failed to achieve high-quality economic growth because the country’s economy is managed mostly on an ad-hoc, reactive basis.
It is a “survival” economy in which successive administration have not been able to strategically execute its economic vision/ programmers/policies successfully.
A former Chief Whip in the House of Representatives, Hon. Samson Raphael Osagie made the assertion at 2019 National conference of the Public Administration and Management Development Institute, PAMDI, held in Abuja on Thursday.
According to Osagie, “In 2016, the country went into recession on account of a nosedive in global oil prices and the massive pillage that the country’s economy suffered previously. However, growth rate after economic recovery has been slow and most impactful. The results have been harsh economic realities for the citizenry.
“To build a sustainable economic future, Nigeria must now address the aching need for a clear economic vision, situated in a philosophical framework from which economic policy should be derived. Perhaps the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan undertaken by this administration needs a SWOT analysis to measure its overall impact.”
Osagie in his keynote address titled “PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND NEXT LEVEL GOVERNANCE: CHALLENGES OF INSECURITY, THE ECONOMY AND INSTITUTIONAL BUILDING” said the wealth of nations always has philosophical foundations, adding “It is these fundamental understanding and how we apply them, rather than managing our economy with no particular lodestar or compass that makes the difference between growth and stagnation.
“A National economic vision that is clear and direct is important because it sets out a national ambition to transform the economic structure and the lives of citizens against the canvass of both the medium and long term destination.
“It matters because, if communicated effectively, a national economic vision can galvanize citizens to work towards a shared goal, which builds national cohesion and wealth. A national economic vision anchored in a discernible economic philosophy makes policies derived from it more robust by imbuing such policies with internal consistency. And clarity of vision also matters because different and competing economic visions exist and have delivered prosperity to different parts of the world.”
He said the problem of insecurity in Nigeria is probably the most contemporary and debilitating to the health of the nation and its citizenry.
“Over a decade, Nigeria has been faced with huge security challenges in the form of terrorism, the result of which is evident in public and private sectors and industries, reduction in FDI and foreign partnership, increase in poverty and migration. The challenges of insecurity in Nigeria are a major setback for the effective governance and administration of the country,” he said.
He said despite various economic planning policies by different administrations in the country which were worthy efforts, they lacked a foundational worldview and any grand, unifying vision.
“Moreover, the “visions” were not embedded in the structures of governance and were not executed with consistency and discipline, with targets and milestones measured constantly against implementation. Their implementations were dogged by massive corruption and economic sabotage. No nation grows under such circumstances.
“The fundamental conundrum is that of getting right the balance between the role of the state and the market in the quest for sustainable economic growth and development.
“The challenge Nigeria faces is that a developmental state requires very strong leadership vision, political will, and a deep bent of intellectual and technocratic competence in economic management. This is what Nigeria and Nigerians must constantly search if we must get out of the woods,” he noted.
Osagie said it was eloquently clear that corruption impedes economic development and that it was a major obstacle constraining the process of change currently taking place in Nigeria. “Institutions are important to the macroeconomic performance of a nation. The lack of well-designed rules and effective institutions such as an independent judiciary, a police force worth the name and capable of enforcing compliance and maintain law and order or a professional civil service to implement policies of government in Nigeria has resulted in interest groups capturing the government easily and using governmental institutions for their own benefit at the expense of the society.”
He said Public Administration and governance are the lifeblood of every political system and consequently the public have both undergone a spiral of changes in this age of globalization.
Speaking earlier the Director General of PAMDI, Dr. Elijah Ogbuokiri said the institute has been working to actualize its objective through the process of advocacy in awaking the consciousness of Nigerian on the Important and need for sound practice of public administration as a vehicle of ensuring good governance and good leadership.
Ogbuokiri said that they also want to change the mental picture of the youths concerning public administration in the country to checkmate the old order through the oprganisation of seminar and workshops to bridge the knowledge gap.
The DG said a bill to give the Institute a chartered status has been sent to the National Assembly to be passed into law, hoping when this is done, the framework for its foundation would have been completed.
He said the resolution which will be reached at the end of the conference will be sent to appropriate authorities for their use.