A University don, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu of the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assign the Ministry of Finance to an economist or accountant among the 43 Ministers designate.
The don who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).on Tuesday in Abuja stressed that “the right people should be put in the right positions to move the nation forward’’.
Anyanwu said the ministry of finance was very crucial to the advancement of the nation in general, and there is the need to assign a qualified, competent professional to man it to salvage the nation’s economy.
NAN reports that the 43 ministers designate will be inaugurated and assigned portfolios by the President on Aug. 21.
“You cannot have an engineer or lawyer in charge of the ministry of finance or Budget and National Planning.
“What does an engineer or lawyer knows about the economy?
“We have too much mismatch in terms of staffing in Nigeria and we do not put round pegs in round holes.
“We should learn to put the right people in the right positions and at the right time for things to work,’’ she said.
The don also advised the prospective finance minister to continue with policies and initiate new ones that will help in blocking leakages at all level and ensure revenues are judiciously utilised.
Specifically, she said the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy should be continued while budget releases should be timely and monitored to ensure effectiveness.
“The nation’s finances should be managed prudently especially at this crucial period where revenues are dwindling’’.
Mr David Ibidapo, an economy and financial analyst, said the incoming finance minister must focus on economy diversification by ensuring aggressive concentration on other sectors away from oil,
“About 80 per cent of our export is in crude oil sector and we know that it is a volatile market.
“If the price of crude is below the budget benchmark, it reduces earnings, coupled with the fact that our production capacity is not optimal.
“There is the need for aggressive concentration on other sectors of the economy to ensure that we will not be largely exposed to shocks in the oil market.”
He said that the fiscal and monetary policies must be harmonised to drive the economy in the same direction.
Ibidapo said that the economy “is currently in a very precarious situation and if the fiscal and monetary policies are going in different directions, it will be counter-productive’’.
He also expressed the concerns over the multiple exchange rates the nation was experiencing.
Ibidapo, recommended the elimination of multiple exchange rates, adding that the rates should be moved closer to a market determined rate.
“If you move exchange rate from N306 per dollar to N360 per dollar, we will see more money for the government.”
Ibidapo also advocated for the privatisation of some government owned assets to bring about healthy competition which would drive growth in the economy.
On his part, Mr Umaru Baba, a statistician, advised the incoming minister of Budget and National Planning to study the Econmic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He said the minister must work out possible and effective ways of gathering data that would support the plan.
“If the plan is achieved, the Nigerian economy will be one of the big economies in the world,’’ he said.