Weak Institutions, Poor Governance at all levels bane of Nigeria’s Socio-economic Development- Aganga
A two-time minister in Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Aganga CON, has attributed Nigeria’s socio-economic woes and underdevelopment over the years to the dearth of strong institutions and weak governance at all tiers of government-federal, state, and local.
Aganga, who was a former Minister of Finance as well as former Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, made this disclosure while speaking as a guest on Wednesday, June 2nd 2021 on a programme called “The Conversation” organised by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN)
“The Conversation’’ is a new advocacy program of the Institute centered around Governance and contemporary national issues to enlighten, educate and share knowledge with policymakers in the public and private sectors and members of the public.
Aganga, who pointed out some achievements recorded by the nation since independence as “cases of isolated success”, lamented that Nigeria was not where it was supposed to be in terms of industrial advancement and economic development. He, therefore, tasked the political leaders, governance practitioners in both the public and private sectors and other stakeholders to rededicate themselves by embracing some core ethical values and norms which he described as inevitable to nation-building, pollical stability, progress and development.
Aganga provided unflattering macroeconomic statistics on the nation’s debt gearing, Gross Domestic Product and unemployment to prove the point that Nigeria had not realized its full socio-economic potentials.
Speaking on the theme of the programme “National Planning, Governance and Economic Growth, Charting the road for the future” Aganga said, “We are not where we want to be. If you look at our revenue, it is not diversified. It is still over 90 percent foreign income from one source; that is oil.
“Furthermore, the quality of the revenue is very poor as it is still subject to the volatility of the oil price in the international oil market. If you look at the size of the revenue, it is still very small. The debt service to revenue ratio today is about 83 percent, and as you can see, that is very bad. By comparison, the debt service to revenue ratio in UK is just 1.9 percent.
“GDP per capita is only 19 percent. The level of unemployment is very high. There are about 87 million people in absolute poverty and that is about 41 percent of our population.
“The basis of our problem revolves around weak Institutions, Governance and Leadership. It is down to poor development and implementation of our national plans.
“Having mineral resources in the soil does not make you rich as a nation. What makes you rich is what you do with them, that is the value you add to them. Unfortunately, we are still struggling with that. That is why we have not diversified the economy.
“We need to do more to have value-based leadership. We need to have strong institutions. Our students need to learn leadership values right from the primary schools, through to the secondary schools to the universities. Upon leaving school they should attend leadership institutes”
Also speaking at the forum as the Chief Host, the President and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the ICSAN, Mr. Bode Ayeku, FCIS, briefly highlighted the contributions the Institute had made to the socioeconomic development of Nigeria over the years.
Ayeku added that the Institute would continue to contribute its quota to national progress by guiding the policy direction both in the public and private sectors through well-articulated and pragmatic recommendations on governance matters.
Ayeku said “If you look at the theme of this programmme, which is “National Planning, Governance and Economic Growth, Charting the road for the future” You will notice that there are three concepts embedded in the theme. These are National Planning, Governance and Economic Prosperity,
“The three concepts are interrelated in the sense that if you put a national plan in place, you have to put governance behind it to drive to actualization and if you get the governance right it will lead to economic prosperity.
“But if there is no proper planning and no good governance this will definitely lead to economic challenges. We need to strive to connect these three concepts together to achieve our desired economic prosperity as a nation.
“The main reason we organised this event is to engage issues affecting the nation in form of economic problems, insecurity and governance challenges among others. Our focus is to rub minds to find solutions to these problems”
The epoch-making event was moderated by former Acting Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Dr Waheed Olagunju who is the Vice Chairman of the Publicity and Advocacy Committee of the Institute. The programme was the first in the series of “The Conversation” programme initiated by ICSAN to garner top rate thoughts and ideas from seasoned political stalwarts, statesmen and governance experts with a view finding solutions to social, economic and developmental problems confronting the nation.
ICSAN is a leading, statutorily established professional body, dedicated to enhancing the status and practice of Corporate Governance and Public Administration.It is the only professional body authorized in Nigeria to conduct the examinations leading to the qualification as Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Over the years, the Institute has consistently promoted the ideals of Corporate Governance through periodic issuance of policy papers and Guidance materials on Corporate and Public Administration.