Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Save our Country
I wrote this essay in school recently and well....the results of the essay competition was not announced; logistic reasons maybe. Anyways I decided to post it here; soooo here it is, it is titled "Save Our Country"
Nigeria! The 8th most populous country in the world with an enviable supply of natural resources yet she remains a substantial member of the less developed countries (LDCs) category. Unemployment rates keep taking an upward turn, the standard of living is one of the poorest in the world, income per capita is considerably low and constant power supply has continually eluded us. Our technological base is definitely not one to be envied, abandoned projects trail the Nigerian experience, corruption has eaten deep into the society both at the higher and lower levels and the list goes on and on. However, as the economic adviser to Mr. President, I recommend the following economic principles which I am sure single out facets of the problems that plague this country and also provide solutions to these problems. These recommendations if implemented will set Nigeria on the path toward being one of the most desired countries to live in by the year 2025.
The quantity and quality of a nation’s labour force is one very crucial factor that contributes to permanent economic growth. Here in Nigeria, we have the quantity but we need to enhance the quality of the available quantity. For Nigeria to excel, she has to discipline herself and engage aggressively in investment as it regards the development of human capital. Education in Nigeria has been described as being “dysfunctional” largely because of the decaying infrastructures in the educational sector; the nation should therefore channel a reasonable proportion of public expenditure towards correcting this problem. Countries like China have taken advantage of their surplus labour and are engaging in numerous productive ventures, other nations even flock to their terrain to take advantage of the quantity and quality of their labour force, there is the fact that Chinese workers were able to build a 15-story hotel in just six days. Nigeria should not be left out of the league of countries that are making waves with their surplus labour force: we should improve human capital, remembering that “The most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings” – Alfred Marshall
Corruption! Corruption is one of the major diseases affecting virtually all countries in the LDC category. There is corruption in our schools, in our offices, in the government houses, on our roads, in our homes; corruption has become an integral part of the Nigerian society. Emphasizing more on the mammoth place of corruption in Nigerian politics, I propose that one can hinge the corrupt nature of Nigerian government officials on their future expectations. Future expectations simply mean that individuals behave a certain way because of what they expect to happen in the near future. Evidence shows that large-scale corruption began with the oil boom in 1970; Nigerian government officials knowing that in the near future, revenue from the export of oil will no longer accrue to them decide to take the share of the oil wealth that belongs to them and their family (immediate and extended families) while they can. I remember seeing a cartoon in the newspaper; the cartoonist was exposing the sort of dysfunctional reasoning that Nigerian leaders possess. The politician that the cartoonist drew was shown insisting that until he and his family had taken their share of the national cake there was no way he was going to relinquish power. You may ask: How do these, politicians take their so-called share of the national cake? Well, some of them channel huge amounts of money into projects that exist only on paper, others do not even bother to cover their tracks, and they just ship the money in large amounts overseas contributing to the development of other countries while the citizens they swore to serve continue to wallow in abject poverty. During elections these supposed reformers come forward with captivating manifestos, however when they occupy office all of these promises are forgotten in the euphoria of the benefits of such an office and any of them (if any) who may still have good intentions upon occupying office are overwhelmed as they realize that they are not equipped, not prepared for such a position, and that they lack feasible and logical means of carrying out their intentions or plans. This should not be so; I propose that Nigerian leaders should have credible accolades that signal to the market, which is the electorate that they are capable of handling the job assigned to them and the demands of the office they intend to occupy, Job Market Signaling should become an integral part of the electoral process here in Nigeria. Also for development to take place corruption has to be eradicated, if not all of the increase in growth will still not translate to the grassroots and the standard of living will remain poor.
Furthermore, let us look closely at the concept of the invisible hand and the free market system in economic theory. These two concepts propose that individuals seek to fulfill private interest and in so doing social interest will also be fulfilled via the invisible hand mechanism. If as individual Nigerians we seek to develop ourselves; and by developing ourselves I mean developing our personalities, expanding our knowledge base, breaking new grounds, we would individually contribute to societal development. If we develop ourselves well enough, along the line we would also be developing our society. Let us remember that the developed countries are not necessarily developed because their economic policies are better than ours, no; their development can be traced to the large number of developed minds existent in their societies, in America there are over five million self-made millionaires, self-made in the sense that their wealth was not inherited or transferred via won competitions and the like, these people worked for what they have and their wealth is reflective in the society as a whole. In order to develop Nigeria into the Nigeria of our dreams we must channel our private interests toward the fulfillment of societal interests.
Economic Planning, planning is a crucial factor for success be it individual success or collective success, success is a function of strategic planning. For Nigeria to be tagged as desirable to live in we must not neglect the important role that economic planning has to play. Economic planning is simply the mobilization of resources toward achieving well-defined goals, economic planning in Nigeria has largely been unsuccessful due to many factors including corruption, bureaucracy, lack of professional economic planners and so on and so forth. Despite the long trail of abandoned plans and projects trailing the Nigerian experience I believe that there is hope for planning in Nigeria, we should not simply adopt economic planning but strategic economic planning, which is economic planning that is characterized by milestones, commitment, transparency and continuity. There should be physical evidence that the plan is being carried out; this will boost the confidence of the electorate in the government, it will also induce private companies to participate in the development process.
In all, for Nigeria to be the one of the most desirable countries to live in by 2025, each and every Nigerian should be ready to shoulder some responsibility. We should hold our leaders accountable and ensure that those who are elected into office are those who have signaled that they can take on the job, we should consciously channel our private interests toward the fulfillment of societal interest and in all we must believe strongly that Nigeria has the capability to develop, remembering that “Development is impossible if it does not first take place in the minds of men” – Carnicross