A lot of Nigerians are facing the future with fair. They donâ€™t know if they can trust their government or the so called corporate Nigerians, and private institutions. Because, they are not just faced with poverty, but an extreme poverty which goes beyond the World Bank narrow definition to mean low income. Nigerians poverty is beyond that, is about too many people having little access to health care, basic literacy, to sanitary arrangements or clean water and spending their lives fighting morbidity often succumbing to premature mortality.
Since independence, Nigeriaâ€™s economic policies under successive administration were seldom subjected to critical public discussion, an important ingredient of a good public policy. Most of our previous administration was under military regimes, which has no claim
to popular mandate. Only the last eleven years held hope for democracy as a system of government in Nigeria. Dictionary.com (2010), defined democracy as the government by the people; in which the supreme power is vested on them and a society characterized by social justice, equity, and fairness.
At the centre and heart of democracy is the opportunity it provides for us to discuss publicly and openly, the government policy of our nation, especially the economic policy direction of the nation, which determines the question of social justice- the ultimate objective of all decent societies. Social justice cannot be achieved by concentrating our minds on power rotation or zoning, but only by reducing and eliminating poverty and inequality.
The issue of public discussion and social participation is central to the making of a good policy within a democratic framework. We should begin this now, in the run-up to the next set of elections due in few months. It is for us all to determine the direction of the society we want to build and live in.
Those involve in managing our economy cannot be unaware of the change of professional, academia and economist opinion from the orthodoxy of the Washington consensus. That free market economy alone will not solve all the problems. The challenge facing us in Nigeria today, is balancing the acts. To decide where to draw the line; how to balance public and private spheres: public good and private interest: visible hand of the government and regulators: the invisible hand of the market-the balance between the government and the market.
In view of this, our major task is to order our priorities. In the first instance, we have to build institution of state; a professional and independent judiciary: a professional an incorruptible force, and well trained and professional civil service. Every economic model requires an effective state for itâ€™s to flourish. An effective state will then clearly stipulate the appropriate legal and regulatory regimes with a strong but equitable tax regime. We need an active effective state that will regulate the activities of the market to check the abuses of special interest corporate groups and financial interest. This is not to stifle private initiative but to ensure that the private sector does not escape regulation.
De-Colonise our colonised minds. The economic policies should be appropriately sequenced with objective of combining the pursuit of sustainable growth and human development strategy by devoting massive resources to education (education is a prerequisite for prosperity), and healthcare in order to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. In short, the government should put people at the centre of its reforms, economic policies, and development that would be about transforming their lives, not just transforming economies or sterile government statistics.
Growth should be about people and their lives and not statistical GDP growth figures. We should move from policies of trickle-down economies to a strategy based on a comprehensive development with equity which would enable us build a society where morality, justice and fairness would be an altered by time.
Msc Strategic IT Management,