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Okonjo Iweala - I Can Help Buhari Achieve Lasting Economic Development

Nigeria’s Former Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has enumerated how the government of a developing country can
attain sustained development.
Speaking in a recent interview, the ex Finance Minister identified structural reforms, institution
building and the need to achieve macro-stability as

the requirements to achieve sustainable development
in any nation.
She stressed that any policy maker that wants to
sustain development, and leave a lasting impact,
really needs to put in systems, processes, and
institutions that would drive development going
forward.
Responding to a question on how the immediate past
government she worked under was able to drive
growth, she said they looked at “the missing
pieces,” and resolved that in order to drive
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “you need to
diversify your economy away from one resource, you
need to strengthen your revenue management
framework, you need to present leakages.”
“We put into place financial management systems
with biometrics that really began to build a
framework that would take us away from cash
management with the problems of corruption and
leakages to electronic management systems for
finance.
“The second thing we tried to do or beginning to do
was some of the structural reforms that would be
necessary for the economy. We tried to look at what
were the biggest sources of fiscal drain, we looked at
enterprises, and we looked at those places in the
economy where we needed to tackle issues that could
unleash private sector investment.”
She explained that the Development Bank of Nigeria
was established to support operators of small and
medium scale enterprise (SMEs) so that they would
be able to grow.
“This is another trend that is critically important:
how do you foster growth within an economy, how do
you help informal enterprises to grow and create
more jobs, because often it’s not the huge businesses
that create the most jobs. So, building an institution
that can begin to plug the gap and be sustainable –
the same as many countries have done: the German’s
have KfW, the American’s have the Small Business
Administration.
“We don’t have these kind of things in our countries,
and because we’re missing these institutions that
means we continue to struggle. So the second lesson
that I’d say we learned that is important for
development is to really look for what is missing
institutionally from your economic landscape, and try
to put them in, because without those institutions
built, you will not be able to develop. And then
undertake the right structural reforms in those
regulatory reforms, freeing up space for business that
will enable your private investment to take place,
because the government create the jobs needed,” she
added

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