Abuja- The Vice Chancellor, Veritas University, Abuja, Prof. Mike Kwanashie, on Monday advised the Federal Government to implement austerity measures in a way that would cushion the effect of the global oil price slide.
Kwanashie told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that one other measure the government could have taken to cushion the effect of the oil price slide was to cut out the fat in government expenditure by being efficient in the way limited resources were used.
Specifically, the don said the government needed to reduce spending in areas not related to the growth of the economy and the welfare of the citizens.
“I think we should be wise in the way we implement austerity (measures) because I am one of those who believe that the cost of governance is too high.
“I think it should begin from that point: cut down the cost of governance, cut down the cost of the political process and focus more on expenditure that will ensure that we minimise the level of poverty in this country.
“It shall be wise austerity if you do that, but if you do it the way we have always done, I think Nigerians are already pushed to the wall.
“If you implement austerity in an unwise way, you are going to create more insecurity in this country.“
Kwanashie said the marginalisation of the population had the capacity to breed angry young men that could undermine the state.
According to him, it does not make sense for Nigeria to say it is growing at eight per cent when growth is not inclusive of the welfare of the citizens.
“The rebasing exercise has shown us that we are more diversified than we think. If you look at the rebased structure of the economy, we are said to be better now.
“Up to the rebasing, we were told that oil and gas was the major sector of the economy, but after rebasing, we are now told that it is not the case; that agriculture now constitutes the highest – 22 per cent.
“They are telling us that industry is actually higher than we thought. So, the rebasing has now taught us that we actually have a more diversified economy than we thought we had.“
Kwanashie lamented that in spite of the diversification of the structure of the economy, public revenue still depended heavily on oil export, adding that the sector remained the driver of the economy.
He stated that if the government focused on other key drivers such as agriculture and manufacturing, growth would be inclusive and the poverty level lowered. (NAN)