Stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to channel its economic development policies to impact positively on the wellbeing of Nigerians and reduce the incidence of poverty.
The stakeholders made the call during a Policy Roundtable on “New Economic Policymaking for Equitable Growth and Social Inclusion” in Abuja on Thursday.
The roundtable was organised by the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) in partnership with the Centre for Public Policy and Research, Social Action, and the International Institute for Journalism.
The event was supported by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation to deliberate on policymaking for equitable growth.
Dr Sam Amadi, Chairman, Centre for Public Policy, and Research said that the event was organised to ensure that the new public policy framework for Nigerian economic growth promotes social inclusion.
Amadi, who was the keynote speaker at the event, lamented that only a few get rich in the country, with no specific economic policies designed to improve the wellbeing of all citizens.
He urged the federal government to design citizen-oriented policies that would improve the economy and welfare of individuals.
He added that the policies should ask questions as to whether the policies were reducing or increasing poverty, unemployment, and equality.
Amadi said that beyond building skyscrapers, buying helicopters and private jets where only a few businesspeople benefit, development should be all encompassing.
According to him, economic growth and development should be about the people.
He urged President Bola Tinubu to modify his administration’s economic policies to focus on creating real economic growth from bottom up.
Dr Chido Onumah, Coordinator, AFRICMIL, said that the roundtable was organised in continuation of AFRICMIL’s efforts to promote democracy, good governance, and orderly society.
Onumah pointed out that many Nigerians were unemployed and faced many economic and social hardships.
“The country has a youth bulge which means that many of its citizens are young persons but cannot find work to earn a living.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor, lacking access to basic education and sanitation among others,” he said.
Onumah said the dialogue was designed to have a conversation on key issues of economic and social policies that affect the social and economic wellbeing of Nigerians, especially young people.
He identified the issues as the removal of subsidies, unemployment, minimum wage, wages and income, corruption in public procurement, social protection, and social safety net.
Others, he said, included labour union and protection of workers’ rights, and access to basic education and health services.
“These issues will be discussed in the context of how civil society advocacy could guarantee that policymaking was anchored on social and economic wellbeing of Nigerians and not on special interests,” he said.
Ms Hauwa Mustapha, a social activist, stressed that Nigeria’s economic policies for growth and development should be targeted toward improving the living condition of the Nigerians population and not the privileged few.
“If there is growth in economic policy, if there are benefits, who benefits from it, why should we be having economic growth and at the same time having increasing poverty?
“Democracy is said to be a government of the people, for the people and by the people and so, the economy should also be about the people,” she said.
Mustapha called for a collective citizens action to demand accountability and transparency for equitable distribution of resources to leave no one behind, particularly youths, women, and persons with disabilities.
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Usman-Shehu, Director, International Institute of Journalism, called for equitable development through inclusive economic modules that affect every community.
Usman-Shehu said the modules should include healthcare in every community, housing, sustainable transportation and encourage talents and creativity. (NAN)
Source: News Agency of Nigeria