Obi urges constitution review to boost national savings
The Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has condemned the sections of the nation’s constitution that allowed government revenue in the federation account to be shared among the three tiers of government without making provisions for a savings plan.
Obi, who spoke at the Association of the Stock Broking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) second Yearly Capital Market Summit in Lagos yesterday, said the country had witnessed significant drag, especially in infrastructure development in the last few years.
He pointed out that this was due to the absence of a competitive savings plan that would mop up a larger pool of funds to be deployed to specific sectors for sustainable economic growth.
He added that such deficiency has made Nigeria become less competitive in the global market. “Our constitution says we cannot save. There is no constitution in the world that does encourage savings. We have the federation account where all government revenues are paid and shared among the three tiers of government but there is no provision for savings.
“That sharing is what we have been doing all the while. And it is worst when you are getting your money from an extractive industry, which is a diminishing asset.
“If the country was savings since we started exploring oil, we would have been better. But forget about the past. It is gone. So, what can be done about the future? We have to start saving now,” he said.
He criticiåsed the nation’s privatisation model, which he said, failed to provide a clause for the privatised firms to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Obi, who is also former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the size of the capital market was too low for the nation’s GDP and urged government to introduce policies that would deepen the market through assets privatisation.