One of the criteria to assess any government in power is its effective implementation of policies put in the ‘economic blue print’. The ‘blue print’ of any government in power will state what it intends to achieve at a particular point in time say, at the end of four-year term, how it intends to achieve them in clear terms and what is going to be the role of various economic agents at various levels of government.
Apart from the fact that it will give direction which government and private sector operators will follow in order to arrive at a destination, it will tell them where and when to come in to do one or two things to assist the government of the day to achieve the common objective.
For example, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in government in 1999, he announced National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) to ensure an all-inclusive economic development at various levels of government-federal, state and local government.
Former President, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua announced seven-point agenda to move the nation forward. These include: power and energy; food security and agriculture; wealth creation and employment, mass transportation, land reforms; security; qualitative and functional education and pursuance of the rule of law.
In the same vein, former President Goodluck Jonathan launched ‘Transformation Agenda’ as his economic blueprint to promote social and economic changes through the optimization of economic growth; develop a knowledge-based economy and enhance security of lives and properties; accelerate growth, provide employment and reduce youth restiveness.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari came in on the mantra of change in May last year, he has been fighting corruption and recovering looted funds but little has been heard on the programme to develop the economy except some statements from certain ministers such as the minister of works, power and housing, Raji Fashola, who had announced 13-point agenda to lift the economy.
Many chieftains of All Progressives Congress (APC) had been mentioning agric development, fight against corruption and recovery of looted funds as the major policies of this government but business organizations and private sector investors are yet to agree with the government on where and when to intervene to move the nation’s economy forward. For example, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development- Chief Audu Ogbeh, transportation- Rotimi Amaechi and Solid Minerals- Dr Kayode Fayemi are yet to unfold their strategies to develop their sectors.
Lack of economic direction by the government of President Buhari is not only discouraging private sector investors on what to do (such as when to invest, where to invest and how invest), it is frustrating foreign investors and preventing them from injecting fresh funds into the system to boost aggregate investment through the capital market and industrial sector development.
The result of this has been the shortfall in the availability of dollar in the local markets, sharp depreciation of naira to major currencies of the world and high inflation and unemployment rates in the system.
Because of low level of assurance on the government’s economic policies, there is low level of investment as investors are being very careful so that they don’t put money in the wrong direction and companies are retrenching to reduce cost of doing business because of lower productivity level.
It is high time President Buhari’s team sat down to draw economic blue print for the nation so that local and foreign investors could have something to examine for investment consideration. We need to know the type of agric system we are looking at-whether we are still holding to subsistence farming of hoe cutlass or we are going to attract mechanized farmers to embark on large scale farming. Which type of incentive is government going to give those farmers and for what duration, we need to know. Also the contribution of state and local governments to agriculture must be stated to allow proper assessment of governors to agriculture while each sector of the economy such as the banking, insurance, energy and housing should be given certain benchmark to evaluate their contributions to agric and nation’s economy.
Already, the leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been bragging that the ruling party, APC does not know how to govern because there is no blue print to show direction and to assess its government, it is therefore necessary that President Buhari empowers his team to release a blueprint that will guide the nation and her economic agents on what to do, where to go and when to act.
It is also true that many nations may find it difficult to know where to come in to partner the government on bilateral trade arrange-ment for foreign investments to flow in if the economic blueprint is not available.