By Moses Uwagbale
Experts have proffered short and long term solutions for economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, recommending reduction in governance.
They made the recommendations during a virtual session tagged ‘The Great Debate on COVID-19 Lockdowns: Assessing the economic implications’ organized by the South East Human Rights Group, a coalition of NGOs.
Dr Joe Abba, former Director General, Public Service Reform, urged the Federal Government to cut governance rates and some agencies that were no longer relevant.
“We have too many agencies performing duplicating functions; agencies that are not adding any value with tax payers’ money.
“Do you know there’s an agency that keeps relics from FESTAC 77? We finished FESTAC in 1977 and we pay a DG to run the agency. We need to cut down on waste.
“I am happy that the federal government has decided to implement the recommendations of Orosanye Report. I look forward eagerly on government doing that, though some of the recommendations are out of date,” he said.
Abba, who is also the Country Director, Development Alternatives, DAI, an international organization, called for review of the revenue sharing formula.
According to him, we need to look at revenue sharing formula where the federal government controls 52 per cent of the federal allocation while the states do the most important thing.
“We need to give more resources to the states and make them accountable. The COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to have a rethink and embark on restructuring, building infrastructure. We should not waste a good crisis,” he said.
Contributing, Prof Stella Madueme of Economics Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) recommended proper reforms of the health, education and agriculture sectors.
“We need aggressive diversification of economy with respect to non oil sector so we don’t depend on oil.
She expressed regret that Nigeria was never proactive in handling certain issues like the coronavirus.
“In the past, we had Ebola and Lassa Fever and we did little or less to provide infrastructure to deal with it and now coronavirus has come, we are running helter skelter.”
Prof Joy Ezeilo, Dean Faculty of Law, UNN, stressed the need for proper coordination of palliative to reach the vulnerable and downtrodden.
Ezeilo pointed out that no one should be left behind in the palliative and stimulus and called for inclusion, fairness and equity.
The online conference was moderated by Dr Joy Onyenso, Country Director, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Nigeria (WILPF) and Rev Fr Ambrose Ekeroku of the Carmelite Prisoners Interests Organisation (CAPIO).