The Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections, Peter Obi, has faulted the latest National Bureau of Statistics report which stated that the country’s economy has recorded a five per cent growth to Gross Domestic Product growth, reports Jude Atupulazi.
Obi, immediate past governor of Anambra State, who added that growth with rising poverty in the country was meaningless, spoke last Sunday evening when he featured on a Channels Television programme, ”Politics Today”.
He specifically said rather than celebrating growth in GDP, which, he said, had no impact in the citizenry, the Federal Government should stop borrowing for consumption and face investments.
Obi said the fact that the Federal Government had been borrowing money and spending it on consumption had not made the NBS report to make significant impact on the lives of an average Nigerian.
Obi advised the Federal Government to rather concentrate on the small and medium enterprises, education, as well as target its citizens in the diaspora if it really wanted to make a significant impact on the lives of its citizenry.
‘The type of growth I want to see is the one that will pull Nigerians out of poverty by making the people to have disposable income and be able to feed themselves.
‘We need the type of growth that will educate our children and provide primary health care for all the communities. We don’t need growth based on speculations that government officials are celebrating all over the place,’ he said.
Obi insisted that growth in the GDP could only be celebrated in a country when people were happy with their disposable income and be able to take good care of themselves and members of their family.
He said, ‘The biggest engine for economic growth is the micro, small, medium enterprises. That is the practice all over the world.
‘That engine today is not being supported in Nigeria. Nigeria has a total of 40 million SMEs but there is no properly articulated fiscal and monetary policy to support the critical sector.
‘The entire loan to private sector in Nigeria today is about N30trn. Less than N1.5trn is going to the SMEs. This is less than five per cent of the entire loan. This means Nigeria is not supporting its engine that can enhance the nation’s economic growth.
‘The SMEs are the biggest employer of labour in many advanced countries of the world. We need fiscal monetary policies that would invest in this engine of growth in order to create jobs.’