The president of Nigeria Economic Society and a World Bank consultant, Olu Ajakaiye has stated that the economic growth recorded from 2010 to 2014, under the leadership of Goodluck Jonathan, was fictitious in nature.
He further stated that the Muhammadu Buhari-led government and subsequent Nigerian governments must develop the country, even if it means stealing from other countries.
Ajakaiye, who was the keynote speaker at the 2017 edition of The Bullion Lecture organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism, said many first world nations have stolen their way to development.
Ajakaiye said the government must not leave development for the markets to handle, but combine all instruments, positions, variables and policies to drive growth and development.
“Let us therefore not be under any illusion and say the market will do it. They have to make sure they provide the market, whatever it takes, including stealing from other countries,” he said.
“The developed systems that we have now were as a result of resources taken from here, and they are ahead. Their government didn’t say we would be nice guys, we would not go and steal.
“They carried our people, young people, valuable people, and they now established the first world.”
Ajakaiye dissected Buhari’s economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP), and applauded it as a good plan, if properly implemented and funded according to targets.
The development economics specialist said the ERGP has set out 21 clear programmes, with 60 strategies and 365 key activities, which has been assigned to lead agencies across the public and private sectors.
He said N75.03 trillion will be needed to implement the plan, which runs from 2017 to 2020.
“When the economy was growing in a fictitious way — I regarded the growth of 2010 to 2014 as fictitious. Why is it fictitious, it is growth that is driven by government just deploying oil revenue into the economy.
“The structure remained dis-articulated and we are actually deceiving ourselves in a very interesting way by saying the economy leaped-frog, we have now got to a stage where we are arrived, because in advanced countries, service sector is now dominant.
“They call it tertiarisation of the economy. Our economy was prematurely tertiarised, and this was the harbinger of poverty.
“I always tell people, when you go to Europe where their economy is already tertiarised, do you see anybody running after you in traffic to sell you recharge card? Do you see anybody hanging pure water in front of you? Do you see people running 140? That is our tertiarised service sector.”
He said government must pave the way for private sector players to fund the economic recovery and growth plan.
Other panelists who spoke on the ERGP include Ibim Semenitari, former information and communications commissioner in Rivers state, Biodun Adedipe, a financial consultant, Bukar Kyari, chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group.
The all called on the federal government to stay focused on the implementation of ERGP and not be distracted by the coming elections.