News / Africa

Nigerian President Takes Charge of Economic Planning

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (front),  May 12, 2011
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (front), May 12, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he is taking charge of the country's economic planning.  

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he will lead Nigeria's economic team in his new Cabinet, replacing the finance minister as the country's chief financial planner.

Jonathan says he will push to raise import tariffs on rice and sugar to better protect domestic producers, with the goal of ending all rice imports within four years.  The president says Nigeria will never be a leading economy if it continues to import basic commodities such as oil and food, and does not increasing the local value added to agriculture, solid minerals, and oil and gas.

In a meeting with business leaders, Jonathan recommitted himself to improving the supply of electricity.

Former military leader Yakubu Gowon says more reliable energy will help both Nigerian consumers and producers.

“I think Nigerians will feel they have been offered a better deal when the energy situation improves and security of lives and property is guaranteed across the federation,” he said.

Gowon says the new Nigerian government must also attack what he calls the “canker worm” of corruption.

Delta State University Political Science Lecturer Benjamin Agah says there are plenty of investigations into official corruption, but not yet sufficient prosecution.

“Once somebody has been established to have been guilty of an offense, he should be tried.  And when he is found guilty, he should be dealt with.  Corruption, without fighting it to the barest minimum, there is no way we can develop,” said Agah.

Public affairs analyst Kole Shettima says the biggest problem for President Jonathan is the disconnect between nine percent economic growth and the living conditions of the poor.

“The president has to intervene decisively in terms of either public work activities or in terms of redistribution policies that will aim at improving the quality of the life of ordinary people,” he said. “Otherwise we have a situation whereby the gap between the rich and poor is increasing.”

That gap is especially prominent between northern Nigerians, most of who voted for President Jonathan's opponent, and southern Nigerians, who guaranteed his election.  With per-capita GDP in the north, half that of the south, Shettima says greater economic equality would go a long way to resolving this often-violent division.

“This phenomenon of a country which is so widely divided is going to be one of the major challenges that is going to be facing the country, as well as the income differential among the rich and the poor are certainly issues that the president has to address,” said Shettima.

Agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of Nigeria's gross-domestic product, but output remains low.  So Shettima says greater federal investment in the north, including timely access to fertilizers and more stable prices for farmers would help diversify a largely oil-dependent economy.

Higher crude prices are helping fund public infrastructure.  But President Jonathan says Nigeria must be careful not to overspend.  He is cutting this year's federal budget from $31 billion to $28 billion.

Financial analysts believe the new Jonathan administration should get off to a strong start with the stability of a sovereign wealth fund, solid returns from the banking sector, and progress on long-delayed legislation to restructure the national petroleum corporation.   


You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid