Turn youthful population into positive energy – AFDB
. .. Warns against incessant foreign borrowing
The Federal Government has been asked to end the handout of funds to youths in the name of empowering them.
Rather, the Government has been told to make youths the centre piece of the nation’s developmental agenda.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, AFDB, said in Abuja Monday that Nigeria’s youthful population could be turned into a huge economic asset if properly managed.
Describing the practice of gifting youths with funds as mundane, Adesina said it is time to arm the younger generation
with skills and investible funds which would turn them in the long run into drivers of the national economy.
Adesina took a swipe at the Nigerian government over what he said was a reversal of agricultural policies which could have enhanced food sufficiency and impacted on the overall growth of the sector.
He equally thrashed arguments which suggest that Nigeria is not in any danger as a result of its borrowing programme.
“The issue is not about debt to GDP ratio. At 35%, it is actually still moderate. The big issue is how to service the debt and what that means for resources for domestic investments needed to spur faster economic growth.
“The debt service ratio for Nigeria is high at 75%. Things would of course improve as oil prices recover, but the situation has revealed the vulnerability of Nigeria’s economy.
“To have economic resurgence, we need to fix the structure of the economy and address some basic fundamentals.
“Nigeria’s challenge is revenue concentration as the oil sector accounts for roughly 75% of export revenue and according to statistics of the Central Bank, 50% of all government revenue.
President Muhammadu Buhari… Presides over a regime of foreign borrowing
“What is needed for sustained growth and economic resurgence is to remove the structural bottlenecks that limit the productivity and revenue earning potential of the huge non-oil sector.”
This may not have been what the authorities wanted to hear from the top manager of the AFDB.
But, Adesina’s warning largely indicates danger may be lurking in the wings if the nation does not consider a more resourceful approach of supporting its ambition to provide necessary infrastructure.
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