‘What does it really take to have real economic growth translate to real impact on populace?’ ‘Where is the evidence of growth trumpeted by local and international bodies?
These are some of the questions many Nigerians are asking, including the Finance Minister.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, affirmed the worrisome growth pattern of the Nigerian economy at a recent breakfast discourse organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for the organized private sector in Lagos saying that despite encouraging economic indices such as stable exchange rate, manageable inflation rate and increasing contributions from non-oil revenue sources, the widespread poverty persists and continues to grow at an alarming rate. One ought to find out if the birth rate has more to do this than meets the eye.
She however identified two main challenges for the trickling effect of the economic growth as inadequate job creation and rising inequality between the haves and the have-nots. She said that the sectors that seem to record the biggest growths are those that are not high employers of labor and that accounts only about 10 percent of the population. These groups appear to be enjoying the benefit of this economic growth and the remaining 80 or so percent stuck at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder continue to wallow in poverty.
The minister noted that Nigeria is creating wealth but not creating jobs.
This is coming on the tail of the presentation of the 2014 budget. The self-assessment could not come at a better time as indices gives the wrong impression and delude agencies and ministries responsible for better living. The difference must therefore be evident in the lives of the populace; the resources must indeed trickle down.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Adeshina Adewunmi has been recognized as Forbes African Person of the Year because he translated his ideas and theories into real life solutions seen in the lives of the farmers and the economy. It is time for reflections and the Minister must realize the need to put up infrastructures and systems that will bring about real measurable effect.
Again, the 27 per cent allocated to Capital Expenditure in the 2014 budget ought to be revised if this situation of creating jobs for the populace is to be taken seriously as ‘Massive’ recruitment into an already over-bloated civil service will only increase recurrent expenditure. The government needs to invest in infrastructures to enable populace create jobs for themselves and others as well as reduce overhead cost for existing businesses.
The case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer brings about a widening divide and soon might result to a revolution. The Boko Haram menace in North-East Nigeria is not entirely a product of grievance but connected to poverty and illiteracy.

Article by Unen Ameji.
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