Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, a former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, has warned that the Nigerian economy risks crashing if the economic space is not widened and fairly regulated to accommodate all players.
Mailafia, also a former Chef de Cabinet, African Carribean and pacific Group of States, Brussels, similarly said that about one percent of the nation’s population controls over seventy percent of the nation’s economy.
This represents 1.9million of the current population figure of 188,996, 757 million people, as at December 2016, based on the latest United Nations estimates.
The former CBN chief made the submissions at a one-day roundtable on “Social Market Economy – A Tool for Economic Development for Nigeria,” organised by a German organisation, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “We need to ensure a fairer system of taxation that makes the rich and affluent pay their due and promote SMEs as the backbone of the national economy.
“ What I am saying here in essence is that there should be income distribution and equity. Those well-off should contribute to the economy. In Nigeria today, about one percent of the population controls over 70% of our economy. I stand to be quoted. I am not saying this out of envy.
Of course, I will be much happier to see a one thousand Dangotes emerging in our economy.”
The resource person who said the world economy was no more oil dependent, called for diversification, explaining that it was the only way to save a looming danger in the country.
“Like I said, German economy thrives on SMEs and we should endeavour to do same here. The idea of people diverting resources to personal use must stop. As it is now, Nigeria is sitting on a time bomb. There is need to diversify the economy and develop a strong international trade networks. Oil , which some people brag about is now found in Niger, Cameroun and even Ghana. So, we must diversify desperately, persistently, efficiently , urgently, assuredly and accurately,” he added.
Speaking on the applicability of the social market model to Nigeria, Mailafia noted that although both Germany and Nigeria “are wide apart in terms of economic and technological development”, the two countries nevertheless share some similarities.
“Both are populous nations and regional powers in their respective regions. Both countries also operate the federal system of government and both have endured some traumatic experiences in their history. Both countries also have close economic, trade and diplomatic relations.
“Unfortunately, while Germany has succeeded in its nation-building efforts,
Nigeria , is at best, a work-in-progress. I am persuaded that there is a lot Nigeria can learn from German social market model. The lessons of world development make it clear that markets matter, and so do institutions.
What I take away from the German market model is that there has to be a healthy mix between state and market,” he further explained.
Kick-starting the event, KAS Country Representative, Mrs. Hildegard, traced the history of
social market economy in Germany, and urged Nigeria to buy into it.
While noting that the economic system dwells much on “effective and equitable allocation of resources,”, the KAS boss said though “it might be slow, but certainly steady to achieve the desired goals for the overall benefits of the people.”