Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, presented his country’s 2012 budget on Tuesday and while on the surface there are some positive numbers, dig a bit deeper and the picture gets murkier.
By Nasir el-Rufai, former minister of Federal Capital Territory and former director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises
Nigeria, a nation of over 150 million people, generated only 2,000 megawatts of electricity this week. Ethnic, religious and political crises have claimed thousands of lives and displaced countless more. Maternal mortality is among the highest in the world. Not a single university in the country appears among the top 5,000 universities in the world. Infrastructure, where it exists is broken and neglected.
Yet, this year, government will spend more to subsidize petrol (about USD 5 billion) than on roads, education, health and power combined. This prioritization is symptomatic of the political economy of today’s Nigeria.
By Bismarck Rewane, Managing director of Financial Derivatives Company
As the losers lick their wounds and winners share the spoils, Nigerians are waiting in nervous anticipation for the impact of the 2011 elections on the economy and quality of their lives.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s new administration has an opportunity to implement an economic reform agenda that will be transformational in overhauling the structure of the Nigerian economy whilst positioning it for accelerated and sustainable growth.
By Atedo N A Peterside, President/Founder of ANAP Foundation, Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC and Chairman of Cadbury Nigeria PLC.
Notwithstanding his deft management of the constitutional crisis that erupted following the incapacitation of his predecessor, the jury was still out on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) after he became President following the death of Umaru Yar’ Adua in May 2010.
What a difference a year makes; a landslide victory at the Party Primary of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was followed by credible general elections and an emphatic personal triumph in the Presidential elections. It is clear now that there is more to GEJ than good luck. This time, he is the architect of his own destiny.
Nigeria is on the verge of takeoff. So said Jeffrey Sachs, the development economist and advisor to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after a visit this week that coincided with the swearing in of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sachs is not alone. Many foreign investors eyeing African growth see the continent’s most populous nation, with its market of over 150m people, its oil and gas supplies, human resources and vast unmet demand for goods and services as the greatest opportunity.