By Garba Umar
Just like every other seasonal activity, it is predictable that the 2019 election cycle will dawn. What was not predictable, perhaps
However, if popular opinion amongst Nigerians is anything to go by, the 2019 election will be won and lost on the merit of the plan of
A press release from the campaign organisation of the PDP
The entire compendium is tied around the JOBS acronym of Atiku’s presidential campaign, which essentially entails employment generation, creating opportunity for all-inclusive prosperity, being united and security. The plan supports the encouragement of the private sector to create employment through an initiative called National Entrepreneurship Development and Job Creation Programme. It also provides specific finance and strategic support for job creation in the entertainment industry; transformation of the culture and tourism sectors into one of the big earners of foreign exchange and job creation and review of corporate tax rates and capital gains tax in order to lower transaction costs in the capital market.
Under infrastructure, the policy proposes by increased investments in road and rail construction, water supply and sanitation, power and oil refining; reforming the power sector with goal of producing 20,000 megawatts by 2030 and 50,000MW by 2050; create Special Infrastructure Office to help speed construction and implementation; using private sector, establish an Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF) with an initial funding of US$20b, mobilising domestic and international private resources to finance and deliver large projects across all sectors of the economy; build small refineries in the northern parts of the country, increase oil refining and oil products from under 0.5% to 2% of GDP; construct up to 5,000km of modern railways through privatization, PPPs, and public investments; more than double investment funding from 15% to 35% of GDP in addition to licensing of mini-grids, including solar as solutions for power generation. On infrastructure, the policy seeks for an ambitious increase of the nation’s stock of infrastructure from $150bn to approximately $600bn (contrary to the $90bn being reported in a section of the media), which will require a commitment to invest a minimum of $35bn annually for the next five years. However, funding for infrastructure development will not come from public budgets only. Government will incentivize the private sector to set up an Infrastructure Development Fund with an initial funding (privately mobilized) of $20bn while many more projects will be birthed via PPPs.
In agriculture, the policy suggests the construction of farm to market roads; improved farming with modernization and mechanization of small-scale agriculture; transforming agricultural sector into a viable enterprise creating rural wealth and farmer prosperity; investment in local
There is also a plan to mobilise the legislature to effect
constitutional amendments to allow greater powers to states and local
governments. Relocating the Niger Delta Ministry from Abuja to the Niger
Delta making it closer to stakeholders and beneficiaries.
There is also a recommendation for an increase in the number of government appointments made to young people and women to 40 per cent. It also targets youth, including graduates, early school leavers, and the massive numbers of uneducated youth not in schools for employment or training and provision of microfinance and financing schemes specifically targeted at youth and women. The education plan of the PDP presidential candidate includes the development of an all-inclusive nationwide educational system with focus on young girls and special needs students.
There is also a provision for the utilisation of technical colleges
and vocational schools to produce skills and competencies for innovation
and idea creation. Also, the development and promotion of science and
technical education to create skills for the new economy. On a general
note, the Atiku policy document dubbed the ‘Peoples Policy’ appears
robust and well articulated. It is however expected that policy experts
within and outside the country will begin to interrogate the policy
which, according to the PDP presidential candidate, had taken 18 months
of rigorous brainstorming to incubate, on its merits and demerits. But
beyond the narratives that will trail the review of the policy document
is that its very existence has set the ball rolling for an issue based
campaign in the 2019 election season and that is a very welcome
Dr. Umar wrote from Abuja.