By Nsikan Ikpe
Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN has carpeted visiting IMF President, Christine Lagarde over her prescriptions that Nigeria should move on to phase out subsidies from her system.
Agbakoba who was speaking as a guest on the Channels TV breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, took exception to the IMF boss’ recommendations on how Nigeria should grow its economy saying that she was indeed missing the point.
‘The challenge of the Nigerian economy is wealth creation. We should be asking the Dangotes, Adenugas and the business players in Nnewi how come they are making money in this economy even when government is struggling to keep pace,’ he said.
Alluding to the IMF debates of the mid-1980s, he noted that over the years a slew of uncreative economic policies and a hamstrung legal environment had combined to stifle the wealth creation abilities of the Nigerian people, advocating reforms in mortgage and property laws, attitudes to the exploitation of our littoral maritime assets and an expansion in the resource cultivation basket within the oil and gas industry as some immediate quick-wins that would boost the national economy.
‘Our present ‘pure water budget’ of N6trillion is still a huge joke when we put it side by side our population of 170m Nigerians. If we change the legal environment for example to make our estimated $7 trillion housing stock a fundable resource and open up other wealth channels, we can now begin to talk of a N100trillion budget and above.’
On the present administration’s handling of the national economy, he commended President Buhari on his resolve to deal with corruption but counselled that it was high time to begin a serious and systematic implementation of policies that would generate the wealth that the nation so critically needs.