The stabilisation of the economy of our country shall be our priority. It is not the duty of the Government to establishing and running industries but to set rules, regulation, control and collect fair taxes. Where the private sector is unable to invest or the area is not safe in private hands, especially in the key industries, our Government shall invest. However, the economy shall be about 30% Government and 70% private sector driven. Our Government shall ensure only capitalism with a social conscience and human face operates in Nigeria.
Some of the urgent economic measures our Government shall adopt in the first year of office and on a long-term basis to rescue the country are as follow:
1). There shall be a re-organisation of the formal and informal sectors of the economy. We shall determine the extent the country will be self-financing outside our main product, the crude oil. The infrastructure that propels the economy sustains functions and means of production in society are the primary responsibility of the Government. Such infrastructure as electricity, landline telephone, roads, railways etc. that are now dilapidated shall be quickly rehabilitated. The Government would ensure its availability. The responsibility cannot be delegated in privatisation, especially when private sector actual effectiveness, management and capital are still very weak in the country.
2). Incorporated entities shall be registered only at the Federal Government level. However, all the registrations shall be done from where you are and not necessarily for you to travel to the federal capital office at Abuja or where the office is situated. Particulars for company incorporation shall be submitted through your Local Government office. The Local Government shall then forward the particulars to the appropriate Federal Government office on an instant basis and the Federal office shall acknowledge receipt on instant basis.
3). Unincorporated entities (ordinary registered businesses) shall be registered only at Local Government level. Each Local Government shall forward the list of such its registered entities in its area to the Regional and Federal Governments for record-keeping.
4). The auctioning of the Naira that has been going on since 26th September 1986 shall stop. The Naira shall be restored as at its 25th September 1986 real value to its present-day value. It shall be restored as a convertible currency in the foreign exchanges at its realistic today value. The Naira shall again be an independent and international currency. The auctioning of the Naira over the years has been largely responsible for the economic problems, unnecessary capital flight, brain drain and a deterrent to significant investments in the country.
5). We shall evaluate all the public establishments in accordance with their utility and strategic importance either for retention or for privatisation. In fulfilment of our social responsibility, if there were establishments that should not have been privatised, were privatised or fraudulently privatised by any of the previous Governments, the buyers only held the establishments in trust for the public. They shall be returned to the public sector or re-privatise at their realistic structure and value.
6). All the current commercial establishments, industries such as breweries, hotels, newspapers etc. that are still owned, on behalf of the public, by the Federal, States or Local Governments in the country shall be privatised. All the proceeds of the privatised establishments shall be reinvested in different primary infrastructure.
7). The privatisation of some establishments was premature. However, the establishments that are to be privatised, not to have been fairly or have been fraudulently privatised shall be sold proportionately to subscribers in each Region or proportionately to subscribers in each Local Government Area in the country through shares acquisition.
8). The Federal, Regional and Local Governments shall, on behalf of the public, neither own nor allowed to invest in any bank or financial institution that is classified as private in the country. Any Government shareholding in any of them that are either held directly or by proxy shall be disposed of.
9). Every company shall hence be directed to disclose in its shareholders’ register where appropriate both the name of the proxy and actual owner of the shares.
10). There shall be no single proprietary or connected person control of any commercial bank in the country unless it is a subsidiary. All the commercial banks and many other financial institutions in the country shall be public limited companies (plc) and all shall be quoted at the Nigeria Stock Exchange.
11). The minimum lending rate (MLR), which shall be determined by the Central Bank, shall always be under 5%. The banks shall not be allowed to charge excessive interest on any loan, short or long term, above MLR plus maximum of it 50%. Banks do not need to operate in a very high-interest rate regime in order to stay in business and make a profit.
12). There shall be a guarantee by the banks of 100% return of deposit fund in the event any becomes insolvent or is in the process of being finally closed or liquidated. A deposit fund is not an investment fund. It is money given to the bank to keep on the depositor’s behalf. Therefore, during final closure, liquidation or insolvency, a bank must return the balance on the account in full within the month of its closure. What the banks can or can’t do with depositors’ fund shall be stated.
13). There shall be an independent body; a Financial Services Authority which shall control the Central Bank, Commercial Banks, other financial institutions and services in the country. The Central Bank Governor shall hence be a person with at least a master’s degree in economics or at least a first degree in economics together with a professional qualification such as accountancy. On appointment, the candidate shall be at least 50 year-olds with considerable professional, academic or banking experience.
14). The present cash and carry system of doing business in the country shall be eliminated. The amount of cash handling in society shall be reduced. Payments shall be effected generally in non-cash, monetary, instruments. A sustainable financial system shall be introduced mainly for the benefit of the ordinary people and the middle class who formed the bulk of the working population of our society. This is one of the financial systems that have, over the years, helped to sustain the economies and people of the advanced countries. This has nothing to do with social security, cash, payment.
15). All the newspapers in the country shall be privately owned. The Federal, Regional and Local Governments shall not own nor have any shareholding in any newspaper in the country. The Radio and Television in the country shall be the property of the public and controlled by the Federal Government. Private ownership shall only be allowed through licence/franchise. The two industries shall be reorganized. The Regional and Local Governments shall not be allowed to own or have a shareholding in any Radio or Television. They shall only buy in time in the available Television channels and Radio stations.
16). The Federal Government shall release the majority of the Radio stations and Television channels to the private sector on franchise or licence. Such licence, not a franchise, shall be for an irrevocable period of about 50 years. That is no authority would have any power to suspend or cancel a Television operator’s licence during the period. If the licence holder infringes any of its rules, no authority shall stop its operation. Such authority may only take the matter to the Court, etc. The Federal Government shall neither dictate nor interfere with the editorial policies of the minority public own Radio and Television. They shall be completely neutral.
17). As secured ports and borders are part of the security of the country, Sea and Air Ports Authorities of the nation shall be publicly owned and 100% controlled by the Federal Government. All the categories of staff of the establishments shall be employed on Federal Character basis but on merit.
18). The Post Office and Railways corporations shall be publicly owned and structured on a regional basis. The regional bodies shall be independent but nationally connected. They shall have a Federal body that shall handle some of the issues that are common to them as one industry such as research, development, staff training, international transactions etc. The Federal Government shall hold 50% equity and Regional Governments shall each hold the other 50%, only in the establishments within their individual areas.
19). Electricity and Telecommunication Corporations shall be both public and private ownership in a different structure. The public shall own the Generation and Transmission aspects of the Electricity Corporation, and the Cable aspect of the Telecommunication Corporation. Private sector institutional investors may only be able to participate in the shares of these public own aspect of the Corporations in the form of Preference Shares-holding. The private sector shall fully own the distribution aspect of both the Electricity and Telecommunication.
20). Electricity generated and transmitted in each designated zone shall be distributed by the licensed private distributors’ companies. That is the delivery of electricity to the final consumer and collection of the related revenue shall be the responsibility of the distributors. In effect, the distributors will buy electricity from the national grid and sell to their customers. All the telephone landlines of the Cable Telecommunication Corporation shall be leased to the licensed landlines, private telephone operators. All the licensed private electricity distributors and telephone landline operators shall be public limited companies (plc) and quoted at the Nigeria Stock Exchange. Individual or connected persons shall not own their controlling shares.
21). What this entail is that the public own Electricity Corporation shall handle generation and transmission of electricity while the private sector companies distribute the electricity. The public own Telecommunication Cable Corporation shall lay telephone cables throughout the country and in our territorial waters while the private sector operators distribute the telephone landlines. The current distribution arms of both the Electricity and Telecommunication corporations shall each be divided into a feasible number of companies. All their shares shall be sold to the public and institutional investors. Individuals would purchase a limited number of the shares each.
22). As adequate Electricity and Landline telephone facilitate the use of new technology which high productivity, steady and growing economy now depend, we shall ensure the supply of these at full capacity for the country from the onset. For example, if the requirement of electricity in the country today and foreseeable future is at full capacity of 50,000 megawatts per day, we shall from onset install this capacity. The same shall be done for Landline telephone. We shall not do these in piecemeal. As the infrastructure pays for their cost, we shall augment any shortfall from the available fund and fund to be raised from shares issue by the borrowed fund.
23). The current private investors in Electricity and Landline telephone industries should note. In order for them to hold on to their acquisition, they shall be obliged to meet their individual shares of the full capacity in the respective industries. Any of the private investors that are unable to meet their shares of the full capacity installation would have their acquisitions taken over, either into nationalization or by other private investors. Moreover, the private investors that now have holdings in electricity generation or telecommunication cable companies would have their holdings converted into preference shares in the companies. We must have full capacity of electricity and landline telephone in the country from the onset. We shall no longer go on haphazardly in these key industries.
24). Electricity and Telecommunication cables shall be laid under the ground. There will not be overhead cables in the country. The Federal Ministries, Regional and Local Governments shall get their electricity supply directly from the national grid and telephone landlines directly from the Telecommunication Cable Corporation at wholesale prices as the private distributors.
25). The water project is one of the cheapest to establish in a country. The maintenance is also very cheap. It is a local issue which falls within the ambit of the Local Governments. The water industry in our country should always be in public ownership. It should be established and run through the Local Governments, however, with the Federal and Regional Governments grant. But water plant can be established in few areas in a Region and be distributed to many Local Government areas from a single plant.
26). As part of our economic expansion and activity, we shall ensure that the seaport at Port Harcourt is well established and fully operational. The River Niger shall be totally dredged between its River Benue and Atlantic Ocean tributaries, for Onitsha ‘sea’ port. Our Abuja territory expansion proposal may be extended close to the River Niger and Benue tributary for the Federal Capital Territory to have a close large port, to be known as Abuja ‘sea’ port. All these would remove pressure, congestion and waste at Lagos seaport.
27). The country now has minimal external debt. Our Government shall within a short period, after the audit, reduce the genuine domestic debts considerably. There may no longer be any foreign borrowings by the Federal Government. The Regional and Local Governments shall not have the power to borrow any money other than the use of simple, arranged, bank overdraft, only when it is actually required. If there is any unavoidable reason to borrow, it is only the Federal Government that can do so. This shall be generally done at home.
28). There shall be an assessment of the actual industries and products we need in the country. Our Government shall give preference and assistance to the proven indigenous investors to establish such necessary industries.
29). The Bank of Industry shall be dissolved. This would give room for the Commercial Banks and Micro Finance Banks to reach out more to the individuals and industries on banking services and loans. Any finance the Federal Government has for the industries in the form of grants shall be channelled through the Federal Ministry of Industry.
30). There shall be a Federal Government enterprise initiative scheme which shall be implemented through the Local Governments and Micro Finance Banks (MFB). This would enable the Local Governments to train people for skills, in order to gain employment, set up own new or expand workshops either as individual or group of individuals.
31). The MFB shall be Local Government area based. There shall be about three MFB in each Local Government area. The MFB shall maintain local branches within its Local Government area base as it deems fit to do. The Local Government Councils shall be obliged to maintain a regular sum of money as deposit fund in the Micro Finance Banks to enable the banks to lend to small scale local entrepreneurs, people with the right skills within their localities to trade, expand or set up new workshops either as individual or group of individuals. This would enable them to have modern machines, equipment etc. to operate, as in the advanced countries. The MFB will not grant what can be construed as personal loans but strictly to those locals but small traders that are in the trade or to be in the trade.
32). We shall help to open other areas of the economy, which the people neither think about nor want to venture. Some of these are film industry and sports development, their privatisation and professionalism. For example, the professional football league shall be reorganised and for it to operate like those in the advanced countries. Any of the Government tiers shall not own or run professional football clubs, etc.
33). We shall introduce laws that spelt out the obligations of the landlord and tenant. That the first and subsequence rent payment by a tenant whether on a residential or business premises shall not be more than three months in advance. There shall be laws on mortgage facilities to enable people to easily own their homes. For example, the initial payment or deposition that shall be required by the lender shall not be more than 10% of the value of the property for which the loan is meant to finance.
Our Government shall reduce the today astronomical and abnormal cost of doing business in the country. We shall also bring down the individual high cost of living in the country. These shall be achieved mainly by restoring the value and purchasing power of the Naira, make it a convertible currency at the foreign exchanges at its realistic rate, improved infrastructure and use of latest technology. Please note that Purchasing Power = Productivity = Employment = Increased Public Revenue. With these, our Government shall ensure what now cost you about N10 shall hence cost you about N4 or less. That is, from our Government you will be able to buy more things with the Naira in your pocket as the value used to be.
The right management and efficiency our public utilities lack are not the prerogatives of the private sector. These can be met through the right structure, control, supervision and employment of the right people in the establishments. Food, water and electricity are essentials and necessities for life. They are human rights. Our Government shall ensure that they are fully provided at the right quantity, quality and affordable low prices.
As the economy of a nation starts from home; in as much as we strive for increased export products outside crude oil; we shall concentrate more on our huge domestic market by increased production and consumption at home; for domestic market lead economy and growth.
Therefore, the people must be prepared to help themselves, be productive, efficient, produce quality goods, render quality services and invest in the country. For example, we have very well educated people, engineers in particular, with many years’ experience in the country. This is notwithstanding the purported wealth some of our people tend to flaunt. Today and within these, we cannot even boast of a single indigenous engineering or construction company of continental standard let alone world standard that can undertake most of our heavy engineering or construction works and at least to preserve our foreign exchange. Our Government shall ensure that the people look more inwards in their investments.
In order to reduce capital flight, save our foreign exchange and as part of our privatisation strategy; our Government shall ensure near-equilibrium corporate control. To this end, every incorporated public limited company (plc) in the country that belongs to a foreign investor, not a foreign branch, shall have at least 40% of its equity controlled by Nigeria citizens.
To curtail dumping and influx of fake and substandard drugs from abroad into our country, Nigeria, public fund shall be invested in pharmaceutical companies for us to manufacture most of the essential drugs internally. Exporter and importer shall have all bulk and commercial drugs and goods sent to our country insured in the originating and exporting country against fake or substandard form. If the goods on arrival turned out to be fake or substandard, the cost shall be claimed from the country’s insurance.
We shall ensure that the country keeps up to date with new technology in the world, which we today lack due to the ignorance and ineptitude of the past leaders. It would not cost more than what we are already incurring for being behind. We shall ensure that every public establishment maintains, repairs, replaces, updates and deliver services where and when it is necessary to do so.
There shall be a Monopoly and Competition Commission which shall ensure that no individual, single entity, connected persons, a group of individuals or entities own too much of the corporate entities or control a particular industrial sector in the country.
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