The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, has said the country’s socio-economic woes are likely to continue unless the structural defects are addressed.
Sanusi said this in a lecture titled: “Challenges of unemployment and its implication for national development,” which he delivered at the 2012 annual dinner/lecture of the Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association in Abuja on Sunday.
He explained that the nation had a major structural problem in the composition of the labour force, adding that Nigeria’s value chain had totally broken down.
According to him, there is a serious problem when a country is growing at a rate of seven per cent annually but is not creating jobs.
Sanusi said, “The economic problems of Nigeria can be reduced to one word, value-chain. A country that produces crude oil but imports refined products; a country that is the number one producer of cassava in the world but imports starch and ethanol; a country that has a large cotton belt but imports textile fabrics from China; a country that has a tomato belt, but is the world’s biggest importer of tomato puree; a country that imports rice, five-year old rice from grain reserves from Thailand and India.
“In every sector of the economy, the value chain is totally broken down.”
Sanusi stressed the need for the country to pursue a proper structural adjustment programme, which would move it from being a primary producer to a secondary producer.
He said “An adjustment that moves us from being a primary producer – because we depend on primary industries like oil and gas, into secondary industries where we will build refineries and petrochemical plants, manufacturing plants for textiles and plants for tomato puree; it is only in creating these industries that we create opportunities for jobs.”
The CBN governor said he always laughed whenever the government said its priority was job creation because, “I have never understood what it meant, because how do you do that by employing civil servants? How does government create jobs? ”
He reiterated that the best the government could and should do was to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
Sanusi also said there was no way the nation’s economic growth could be matched with an equal amount of employment for those ready to take up jobs without a revival of the manufacturing sub-sector.
The apex bank boss said while it was true that the nation’s challenges could not be reduced to the issue of economics, it was noteworthy that it was contributing substantially to the challenged.
Earlier, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who was represented at the event by Alhaji Ahmed Shanshuna, said the alumni association had a huge role to play in returning ABU to its former glory.
Sambo, himself an alumnus of the university said, “I must also call on us to all reflect on the current state of the university, which is certainly unsatisfactory, and urge us all to make useful contributions and sacrifices to ensure that our Alma Mata is restored to its pride of place as a foremost centre of learning and research in the West African sub region.”
Also speaking at the event, Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, decried the dilapidated state of infrastructure in the school, adding that a lot needed to be done to save it from total collapse.
In an address of welcome, the Abuja Chapter President of the association, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, said the occasion provided a platform for members to contribute their quota to the improvement of facilities at the university.