Economy Uduaghan Calls For Stimulus Strategy

BY ANDREW IKEHI
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has called for a stimulus package for states and local governments of the federation as a quick measure to bail out the governments from the present economic quagmire.
Besides, he has enjoined the in-coming government at the federal level to forge a national consensus on economy direction, if Nigeria must move forward.
Speaking in Lagos at the presentation and launch of a book entitled, “Delta Beyond Oil: A legacy of Sustainable Development” written by Mr. Sam Omatseye, at a forum organised by Nigeria Institute of Directors, the Governor said that the stimulus package, however has to be discussed and attended to quickly.
According to him, this has become necessary because currently, about 30 states including the federal government were either not able to fund recurrent cost including payment of salaries or have to borrow money to pay for it.
“I stand with those asking for stimulus package for the states and local governments. This has to be discussed and attended to quickly”, he stated.
Dr. Uduaghan said that the failure of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the centre to grow the nation’s economy to the desired result was attributable to lack of national consensus.
His words: “I am sure many of us in the audience will recall several attempts that were made by the PDP government at the centre to ensure that we build up our fiscal buffers, reduce our foreign debt, invest in foreign assets through sovereign wealth fund and have something for the rainy day but somehow, lack of national consensus made that impossible”.
“Is it a PDP failure alone? No, it is not. It is a collective failure. Many APC chieftains who are basking in the glow of winning power at the centre were main actors in the politics that stalled further progress in the direction highlighted”, he added.
However, he stressed that it was important that whatever APC does, it must forge national consensus on economic direction, if Nigeria is to move forward.
“Some of what I have said will test APC. APC must prove it’s a party to be trusted. Nigerians are anxious to see how the party conducts itself. How they act in power. Is APC in power better or different from APC in opposition? The answer is blowing in the wind. Though, it might be too early to judge but I have my deep doubt”.
“So far, I do not think they are taking the right steps. They have jettisoned zoning. They are sounding unsure of themselves about how to manage the economy. General Buhari wants tips from President Jonathan, some outlandish promises have been made, one of which is naira/dollar parity”.
“APC is obviously worried about weight of public expectations it raised from the propaganda it fed Nigerians with, the party is obviously trying to distance itself from the promises they made, which under current situation is impossible to fulfill”.
“With a growth rate of 6.08%, Nigeria’s GDP value represents 0.84% of global economy. This is quite small. I think, therefore, the change APC wants to make should be their ability to double the size of Nigeria’s economy. Under current growth rate of 6.08%, it will, by some estimates, take 11 years to accomplish.”
“I don’t know how many Nigerians that will be patient for that to happen in 11 years. To create prosperity, APC must work hard to double the national growth rate and hence, double the size of Nigeria’s economy at a shorter time. Otherwise, Nigerians are going to show APC the door in 2019”.
Meanwhile, as part of the ongoing commissioning of projects in the state, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan will today commission the multi-million naira State-of-the art Shoe/Leather works factory in the state.
The event which is billed to commence by 9:00 in the morning, according to a statement by the Media Assistant to the Executive Secretary, Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (DSMSMEDA) and Commissioner for Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Antonia Ashiedu, will hold at the factory site, along Benin/Asaba Expressway, Issele-Uku, Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state.
The POINTER reports that as at yesterday, Sunday, the centre was already a beehive of activities as officials of the DSMSMEDA, the coordinating agency for the project were seen putting finishing touches to ensure a hitch-free event today.