Mixed Economy solution to poverty, insecurity in Nigeria – VON DG

By Aanya Igomu, Abuja

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The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu has said that Nigeria needs to revert to the Mixed Economy model to reduce the wide economic gap between the rich and the poor and also stem the tide of growing insecurity in the country.

Mr Okechukwu stated this in a press statement released in Abuja in reaction to the rising insecurity across the country.

While blaming the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) for bringing extreme poverty to Nigerians in 1986, Mr Okechukwu maintained that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is working hard to address the security challenges currently bedevilling the country.

“Yes, we of the APC pledged to fix security in our dear country in every particular matter. That’s our pledge, and to be honest, we are deploying billions of Naira and every material and human resources to contain it. However, we are confronted with Extreme-Poverty planted in 1986 by the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). The day SAP was born was the day the gross economic inequality and insecurity in Nigeria was born. It has badly mutated since 1986.

“Economic inequality breeds extreme-poverty, hate, division and hostile insecurity in countries wherever it is allowed to thrive throughout history.

“To be exact, no matter how much trillions of Naira we spend on military hardware, or how many times we change Security Chiefs, with Extreme-Poverty security will remain a mirage.

“Whereas am neither canvassing for Marxism nor Socialism; we must accept that ours is a primitive economy which requires primary solution.

“Our primary solution is to return to Mixed Economy model; clearly stated in Section 16(2)(c) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria interalia, “that the Economic System is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of Wealth and Means of Production and Exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group.”  Mr Okechukwu said.

Mr Okechukwu called for more involvement of the government in business to ensure the provision of better services to the citizenry.

“We violently breached the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of our Constitution. Regrettably, every day we widen economic inequality because government-owned enterprises we privatised like Electricity failed.

“The Electricity Distribution Companies we privatised rather than improve electricity distribution still siphon billions from government treasury. The glaring result is the paradox of a nebulous economic system which produced the richest African and produced World Poverty Capital.

“Truly, Nigeria’s security problem is that we run an artificial economic model, where there is an ocean of poor people and an island of rich people. The opaque system created banks that make billions of profit annually and operate poverty induced Shylock Interest Rates.

“Government has business in business because we the people are the business in a primitive economy like ours. As long as we live under the illusion of a developing country, so long our inequality widens, so long our poverty widens and insecurity widens.” Okechukwu said.

He called on the leaders to quit laying blames and focus on restructuring the economy adding that federal, state and local councils need to invest heavily more than is done presently in electricity, roads, railways, agriculture and social infrastructures like education and health even if it entails more borrowing.

 

Zainab Sa’id

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