Legal Nigeria

By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

Nigeria must move towards a single exchange rate to be determined by market forces to attract capital flow and foreign direct investment, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said.

He advocated tax reduction to make Nigeria more business-friendly.

Atiku said the financial and monetary institutions, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), must be free of the type of political influence that resulted in the prohibition of cryptocurrencies.

In a tweet yesterday, the former presidential candidate said it was alarming that Nigeria has become the world headquarters for extreme poverty, the world capital for out of school children, and the nation with the highest unemployment rate.

“There is a very real and present danger that we might slip into the failed states index – God forbid,” he stated.

He added: “How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single-digit unemployment rate) and implementing command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.

“And even with the paucity of funds, we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to the private sector, with the latest being the ill-advised $1.5 billion so-called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years.

“What this government must realise is that the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment.

“Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorized nation on earth”.

To address the challenges, Atiku restated a recommendation he made in 2020; that every family in Nigeria with at least one school-age child, and earning less than $800 per annum should receive a monthly stipend of N5000 from the government via their Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identity Number (NIN) on the condition that they verifiably keep their children in school.

“If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation.

“If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come. We can no longer say we cannot afford this. We can.”

In addition to privatising the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as was done the NLNG, Atiku added: “We must then incorporate those youth who are above school age into a massive public works programme.

“There was talk of 774,000 Special Public Works jobs for the youth, which was to have started in January of 2021. This is a commendable step, but it must be done with a proper agenda, rather than propaganda.

“Perhaps we may want to consider the Malaysian model, whereby except very few highly specialised jobs, foreign contractors are not allowed to import labour into the country.”

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