The African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage) has noted that compulsory education, skills acquisition and improved infrastructure will stem poverty among the people.
It stated this in a communiqué on Thursday in Enugu after the Big Ideas Podium Conference with the theme: ‘Ending Poverty in Nigeria: Using What We Have to get What We Want.’
The communique, signed by the Executive Director of the institution, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, said that poverty would greatly be reduced if government ensured that every Nigerian was skilled, had access to
healthcare and infrastructure to further their aspirations.
Okeke-Uzodike said in the statement that the people should also be equipped with basic technological know-how to function in a digital world.
“Education is a very important tool of tackling poverty. The abundant human resources should be empowered through education, training and retraining, while the material resources should be properly utilised.
“This is because there is a strong relationship between illiteracy and poverty,’’ it said.
According to the statement, to reduce the rate of inflation, Nigeria’s economic managers should properly redistribute wealth and cause more people to be income earners.
It stated that management of the economy was not only measured by how low the government could keep the exchange rate, as this was mainly beneficial to mostly very wealthy people.
It called on government to create more jobs in the real sectors of the economy; adding that this would help in the redistribution of wealth and also enable citizens to earn a living.
“To further remedy the situation and bring about a reversal of the level of poverty in the country, Nigeria needs to design an economic blueprint that can ensure a growth rate in the real sectors of the
economy of about 15 per cent annually.”
It said this could be consecutively for 10 years, to bring the country to terms with its projected population growth, its need and place in the comity of nations.
“With a projected population of about 230 million persons by 2030, this economic blueprint will ensure a minimum of 2.5 trillion dollars economy, averaging a per capita income of 10,500 dollars that would
generate growth in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, intellectual property and information technology.
“Nigeria should take a cue from the Asian Tigers which have succeeded without as much human and material resources as Nigeria is endowed with. Our material resources should serve as a catalyst to fast-track the process.
“Nigeria should change from running a top-down economy to running a bottom-up economy.
“This will enable the citizens to be gainfully employed and thereby helping the government to generate its revenue largely through taxation. In other words, the well-being of the government is to be dependent on the productivity of the people,’’ it said.
The statement called for discontinuation of the wasteful practice of gas flaring; as government could process this flared gas and pipe it nationwide as a subsidy (even free) for productive investment, helping
to ameliorate hardships experienced in running businesses in the country.
It said that proper utilisation of the flared gas could help to fuel economic growth, catalyse productivity and increase GDP, increase employment and make goods made in Nigeria globally competitive.
“To strengthen Nigeria’s finance sector, the tax system should be streamlined and strengthened, especially at the local government levels.
“Presently, it is so haphazard, discretionary and confusing that it is a major disincentive for investment. An effective tax administration system will create more revenue for the government,’’ it said.
Afri-Heritage is a think-tank institute that specialises in research and analyses of socio-economic and political issues and trends in Africa with Nigeria as a focal point.
Charles Onyekwere, Abakaliki