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

    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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.