FORMER Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has advised the Federal Government to make hard decisions that the country had postponed in the past in order to pull the country from the looming economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now is the time for Nigeria to make those hard decisions it has postponed for far too long otherwise the alternative is an apocalyptic scenario we would rather not entertain,” Abubakar said in a publication on Thursday.
In the publication titled ” How To Pull Nigeria From The Brink,” the former Vice President said the Federal Government must “begin to invest our resources wisely in order to maximize dividends.”
He said the time has come to liberalize land tenure system to make it possible and easy for some of the 27 million unemployed Nigerians to become farmers, even as sharecroppers.
“Last year, Ethiopia mobilized its 100 million strong population to plant 350 million trees in 12 hours (a world record). Nigeria can similarly mobilize its population of twice that number to plant billions of cash crops through the planting season. It is possible. I have repeatedly charged my farm associates to sow seeds and they have done so successfully,” he said.
Abubakar posited that when the huge opportunities of agriculture are combined with a rejuvenated manufacturing and MSMEs sectors, a new era of sustainability and prosperity beckons for Africa.
Lamenting the current economic reality, he said Nigeria is at the lowest point it has ever been as a nation noting that the nation has over indulged on seemingly cheap loans which according to him have quadrupled its foreign debt in just four years.
Taking more of such loans, he argued, would just sink the country deeper and deeper into a quagmire.
“What is certain is that we can not continue with things the way they are now, except we want to ensure an implosion of our dearly beloved nation,” Abubakar said.
“We must cut our coat, not according to our size, but according to our cloth. Our Presidential Air Fleet of almost 10 planes should go. Our jumbo budgets for our legislature must go. The planned $100 million renovation of our Parliament must be cancelled.
“We cannot be funding non necessities with debt and not expect our economy to collapse. Our civil servants must come to the realization that Nigeria cannot sustain its size and profligacy. The same cost saving measures must be adopted by the states and councils government.
“From henceforth, our energies, resources and focus, must be on how we can diversify our economy, not on how we can increase our expenditure.”