How Nigeria can escape huge crisis – Peter Obi
Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi says Nigeria faces huge economic crisis if nothing is done to arrest the situation.
The billionaire businessman-cum-politician said the nation’s current situation was “extremely worrisome” and the government of the day appeared unserious to tackle the situation headlong.
Obi urged the Federal Government to emulate serious nations striving to rejig their economy after COVID-19 pandemic by creating jobs for their people and strategising on how to grow damaged businesses, and improve their health and education infrastructure.
He lamented the nation’s low budget-GDP ratio, adding that Nigeria with 200 million people should not be budgeting $30 billion while South Africa with 55 million people budgets $120 billion.
Obi noted that as many countries continue to grapple with the negative effect of the COVID-19 crisis on their economies, a substantial stimulus package would help Nigeria’s pick up steam.
The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disclosed these in an interview published by Sunday Sun to mark his 59th birthday.
He denied that he was picking on the nation’s shortcomings because he belongs to the opposition PDP.
Obi said, “Let me tell you; what we have on hand now is not an opposition thing. It is a serious issue on how to save the country and anybody who tells you that we are making comment because of where we belongs doesn’t even know what we are facing. We are facing a huge crisis and we are not giving it the right attention. It has nothing to do with the opposition. I didn’t see the stimulus package that will take us along this journey. From an economic standpoint, Nigeria already has a low budget compared to its population. Countries of comparative size, in terms of GDP or population, annually budget about a minimum of 20-30 per cent of their GDP. What it then shows is that Nigeria’s annual budget is not supposed to be less than $100billion equivalent given our GDP; but already our annual budget size is $30billion. Check it, you see how low we are.
“Let me use the second biggest economy in Africa, South Africa, as an example. Their budget is over $120billion. This means their budget is four times our budget, when their population is a quarter of our population; so you already have a crisis at hand. Our budget today, between 2010 and today (i.e. 10 years) is not up to the budget of South Africa in health for one year and they are about 55 million. So we are at the brink; that is what I am saying. What Nigeria should be doing now is to demonstrate enough will and seriousness required to pull ourselves out of this mess. It is not about leaving the real issue and be dancing around the opposition and deemphasising the danger that we have at hand.”