Weak Institutions, Infrastructure Continue To  Hinder Economic Growth– Rewane

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Yemisi Izuora 

Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, has emphasized the imperative of building strong institutions if Nigeria must achieve the desired economic growth. 

Rewane gave the insight as the keynote speaker at the 2019 Time Management and Productivity/Nigeria’s Employee of the Year Award Summit (TAMS/NEYA Summit) held in Lagos yesterday. Other stakeholders at the summit equally stressed the need for an urgently overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure, particularly in the education sector. 

The TAMS/NEYA summit is organised yearly by SB Telecoms and Devices, a provider of time management-focused human resources management solutions to organisations. Rewane spoke on the theme Charting Nigeria’s Path to Growth. He said there are three variables necessary for a sustainable economic growth: good leadership, sound policies and strong institutions, the most critical being strong institutions. 

“There are three variables of economic growth. These are good leadership, sound policies and strong institutions. Any two combination of the three will still produce a level of growth. But where institutions are weak, whatever growth is achieved is not sustainable and will eventually come back to zero,” Rewane said.

According to him, it is regrettable that Nigeria continues to trumpet its abundant potential due to the richness in human and natural resources yet little is being done to harness this richness. He admonished the country to urgently start to work on the famed potential to achieve economic growth. Rewane stated that labour productivity in the country is very poor and that if that must be corrected to achieve GDP growth that is commensurate with our size and resources, then the economy must make hard choices. 

“GDP growth can be achieved if we fix our weak infrastructure. The power sector problem, for instance, continues to be a huge burden with the sector hampered by enormous debt overhang and the inability to attract fresh financing. But this can easily be corrected if the debts are converted to equities,” he said. The financial expert also called for a review or the elimination of the fuel subsidy regime and the restructuring of the exchange rate management to make it more efficient.

The education sector was singled out as a critical sector that must be fixed urgently. According to the participants, without a comprehensive overhaul of the education sector, which is characterised by decayed infrastructure, dearth of quality instructors, obsolete teaching methods, and out-of-date curricula, it will be difficult for the country to achieve an inclusive economic growth. 

They contended that education, as an enabler, helps the individual hone critical thinking skills, which is a key ingredient, in an increasingly complex world, in solving problems and providing solutions in an efficient and cost-effective way. Chief Executive Officer, WhyteCleon Limited, Mrs Nireti Adebayo, who chaired this year’s summit, while giving her speech, said there was an urgent need to review the country’s educational curriculum to reflect current realities. She said it would be highly impactful and more beneficial to learners and the economy if the curriculum could be fashioned in a way to encourage high achievers in the corporate world or in industry to teach class occasionally and avail students of their wealth of experience and expertise. “Imagine if a Bismarck Rewane, for instance, were to take two hours of class weekly. One can imagine the quantum of knowledge and information that would be impacted,” Mrs Adebayo said. She underlined the necessity for constant retooling through self development and acquisition of new skills to remain productive in today’s and the future’s workplaces. 

A panelist at the summit and founder/managing partner at L5Lab, a venture development firm, Mr Chika Nwobi, said the failure of the educational system is such that many of our youth are not prepared for the workforce of tomorrow. He therefore called for a stronger educational system as well as encouragement of mentorship.

The TAMS Ambassador Award (as NEYA was known) was conceived four years ago by SB Telecoms and Devices as a platform to reward hard working and diligent workers across the country. A summit was also instituted, the TAMS Summit & NEYA Awards to, among other things, highlight issues around employee performance, workforce productivity, and time management, and how they impact service delivery, operational efficiency, and resource optimization across sectors in the economy. And most importantly, the summit also publicly acknowledges the contributions of awardees to the productivity index in the country.

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