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Nigeria currently running a system creating jobs overseas, frustrating graduates—Duke

Former governor of Cross Rivers State and latest entrant to Nigeria’s 2019 presidential runs, Mr. Donald Duke has picked strong holes in series of figures regularly churned out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Nigeria’s unemployment and inflation rates, saying the figures are unreliable.

He insisted that several data from NBS do not align with current economic realities in Nigeria especially as they concern employments and inflation rate.

In his paper while declaring his intention to run for the 2019 presidential election at the 2018 Dinner of the Law Students Association (LAWSA), University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), in Enugu, Duke argued that federal government adjudged its ability to manage the economy on the basis of how low it can keep the exchange rate stable, which was attractive to their wealthy acolytes, rather than how many jobs were created in the real sectors of the economy.

In his paper titled; ‘Nigeria in Clear and Present Danger’, Duke averred that Nigeria currently runs a rented economy laced with dysfunctional system programmed to only create jobs and opportunities in foreign countries.

According to him, “Comically, the NBS states the national unemployment rate at 14.2 per cent. This is comical because even the uninformed knows that perhaps seven out of 10 folks you meet are either unemployed or underemployed. Would the NBS claim the hawker on the street is employed? These are the sort of statistics we bandy around that make us look delusional. Another is Nigeria’s inflation rate.

“The same bureau states that our national inflation rate is at 15.25 per cent, which is considered too high. In other words, there is too much money in circulation. My question is, where is this money, because most folks I know don’t have a dime, while a very few have too much”.

Continuing, he observed that the economy is import driven as the wealthier people who usually go for the less volume of consumer goods purchase indulge in luxury goods that are usually imported and of no multiplier effect or impact on the economy.

He said “If the amounts of money in circulation were properly distributed and more people were income earning, there would certainly be a deflation and desperate need to reflate the economy. And to my mind, inflation in the context of Nigeria is a fancy word for government’s failure or inability to properly distribute wealth.”

“We all agree that we can do better than we are doing currently. The ideas are not lacking. What is lacking is the sincerity of purpose and the determination to get it right. The three things I believe we require are the vision, the will and the attitude.

“The essential element is the will. Agriculture cannot go beyond processing level if you don’t have good policies tied to it; if you don’t have the requisite infrastructure tied to it. For our education, from 1990, we have not updated our curriculum to match the realities of the world. Our healthcare methods are still the way they were in the 60s.

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“Our infrastructure is deplorable. Our financing system is wrong. We cannot grow an economy, where in my estimation seven out of 10 persons are unemployed, underemployed, with interest rate regime in the upper twenties.”He lamented that while a lot of young folks would like to start businesses, the system will not allow them do that, stressing, “We need a leadership that is determined to solve these problems.”

“The country is getting more and more competitive and if you don’t put your best foot forward, you will miss it. Nobody will step aside and say young people should take over. You must work for it. It will be more competitive in the next 30 years.”

Duke revealed that jobs are now exported because forex access are far from many manufacturing and allied industries who cannot withstand the takeover of Nigerian market by imported goods mainly from China and Asia.

He noted that many industries are now struggling to survive due to forex crisis and endless introduction of unexplainable kinds of taxes in an economy that is almost import dependent.

He however assured that if elected, he will redesign Nigeria economy with a growth rate in the real sectors of about 15 per cent annually, consecutively for 10 years to bring it to terms with the projected population, need and place in the comity of nations.

He was however, silent on efforts he is making to get the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket and who will run with if elected at the party primaries.