…Says Nigeria Must Build On Foundation Laid By Founding Fathers
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Saturday advocated more spending by the Federal Government to refloat the economy.
He also said Nigeria must build on the solid foundation laid by her founding fathers for her to achieve her manifest destiny and realise the promise of greatness
Tinubu, who spoke as the chairman of the 2021 Sardauna Memorial Lecture in Kaduna, said with the private sector currently too weak to spur the growth that Nigeria needs at this point in her development, government must come in to fill the void so as to eradicate restiveness and criminality in the country.
He spoke on the topic “Reduction of the Cost of Governance for Inclusive Growth and Youth Development in Northern Nigeria In a Post-COVID-19 era.”
The APC leader said that it is always important to look at cost of governance against the benefits derived there from, noting that most developed countries like the US, UK, Germany and France did not adhere to small government free market as their governments engaged in massive spending on infrastructure and education while also engaging in policies that protected industrial development and key aspects of the agricultural sector.
He said: “The development of any populous nation has always been dependent on the ability of government to allocate sufficient funds to projects and programs that create and encourage enduring growth and employment. We must reject that mode of thinking that assumes government expenditure is inherently unproductive as well as harmful to the overall economy.
“It is not the fact that government expenditure is intrinsically wrong any more than one can say all private sector activity is economically positive.
“Government can be wasteful or it can be the key component to growth just as a private sector business can function profitably or spend itself into bankruptcy. The issue is not whether government is spending money or not. The real issue is the economic utility and quality of the expenditure.
“For example, one can pay a high cost on a productive enterprise but reap a higher benefit. Such would be considered a good investment.
“However, one can pay a low cost but reap no benefit at all because the endeavour was inherently unproductive. This would be a waste. Thus, we must be careful in what we say and truly mean when we talk of the costs of governance.
“While states and local government must shape their budgets to fit their revenues, the federal government can and should spend more to create more jobs for the youth in both the north and south which is key to eradicating restiveness and sundry criminality among the youth.
“Take a look at the world. Those nations that recovered most quickly from the 2009 economic crisis and now from COVID-19 are those nations that most engaged in government stimulus spending to revive their flagging economies.
“This was not by accident. It is due to purposeful policy and the deeper understanding of the nature of money and the role of a national government in saving a flagging economy.
“The years have shown that the private sector is much too weak to spur the growth we need. If the private sector could manage this feat, it would have already done so.
“Where the private sector is too weak or unable, the government must fill the void. This means government must not be afraid to embark on an activist fiscal policy to create jobs, build infrastructure and develop our industrial sector as well as continue to improve agriculture.
“This means government must spend money but spend it on those things that bring the requisite economic returns for the nation.”
Tinubu reiterated that building such vital infrastructure as irrigation and water catchment systems will help agriculture, arrest desertification and provide jobs.
‘Only government has the power and resources to call forth such a program.
“Another readily available area primed for investment is the agro allied industry which, for the northern region is particularly advantageous,” he added.
He warned against the continued rise in urban populations without commensurate growth in urban employments, even as he advocated for the implementation of a national industrial policy to encourage key industries that begin to employ this growing urban workforce.
Tinubu said the late Sardauna stood strong among the fathers of the nation, noting that he was more than just the Premier of the northern region.
“The nation-building contributions made by Sir Ahmadu Bello can never be overstated. More importantly, they should never be forgotten.
“He laboured tirelessly and with great tact and intelligence. Working together with other shining lights such as the late sage Papa Obafemi Awolowo and the esteemed Nnamdi Azikiwe, this great Sardauna of Sokoto helped establish Nigeria as one indivisible and independent nation.
“He was one of the chief architects and builders laying the foundation for the nation destined to be the leader of Africa and a model for the black race.
“It is upon the foundation laid by these extraordinary men that we must continue to build so that Nigeria may achieve its manifest destiny and realise the promise of a greatness too long deferred,” the for Lagos State governor said.