Nigeria’s democracy fails to improve lives - CNBC Africa

Nigeria’s democracy fails to improve lives

Western Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Nigeria has come under attack for its failure to translate democratic rule to bettering the lives of its citizens. PHOTO: Getty Images

“If you look from 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, you will find that the democratic experiment coincided with global economic recovery and improved liquidity in the financial system that should have improved lives of citizens,” Ayo Teriba, chief executive officer at the Economic Associates told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE: Nigerian economy expected to keep rising this year)

“We would have thought that would have given the Nigerian government space to translate these positive global developments into concrete domestic outcomes such as reduction in unemployment,” Teriba added.

Teriba explained that, the democratic regime had found it difficult to translate the gains to improve employment as unemployment has surged from eight per cent in 1999 to 30 per cent in 2014.

(READ MORE: Nigeria still faces vast unemployment)

“You would have expected the employment situation to be improving but the failure to translate economic growth to employment requires further probing," lamented one of the country’s leading economists.

Teriba also urged the government to capacitate data agencies noting that the collection of accurate data was useful in policy formulation.

“The government cannot continue to be indifferent in the supervision of data agencies, the elected officials need to ensure that adequate data is provided in a timely fashion,” he said.

“Unless you know the facts you cannot claim to be pushing for strong solutions to economic problems. The president and the National Assembly should do more to ensure that data is gathered.”

Teriba added that, at the moment Nigeria does not have any agency working on checking the effectiveness of government policies, a forward looking agency and the neutral national economic intelligence agency which are all necessary.

“Nigeria used to have a national economic intelligence committee that should be revived and empowered as to provide insight into current challenges facing the economy and oversight on what the relevant ministries are doing,” he said


Teriba urged Africa’s biggest economy to appoint a committee whose role will be the supervision of economic performance of the country.

“In the past 15 years of democratic rule, the successive presidents of Nigeria have not assigned anyone with specific responsibility of running the economy unlike what is done by the USA through council of economic advisors.”

The USA have the council of economic advisors provides much of the objective empirical research and also helps the president with reporting developments in the economic sector, challenges and opportunities for growth.