By Ejikeme Omenazu, Lagos
AS the year 2015 draws to a close, former bank executive and cleric, Rev. Dr. Moses Tunde Elebute, has called on the Federal Government’s economic team to come up with a national economic blueprint to give a policy direction to President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent, Elebute, an agro-economist and Chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Lagos Mainland Province, told the Buhari’s economic team that such a blueprint should focus on agriculture and remove emphasis from the petroleum sector.
He said: “Agriculture has a multiplier effect on the economy. The economic team should also focus on the construction industry. Both agriculture and construction sectors are high employers of labour.
“We need houses. Accommodation is a problem in this nation. The government should encourage mortgage facilities.”
Elebute, the General Overseer of the International Christian Faith Mission (ICFM) also took a look at the economic situation in the states and advised that the state governments should seek how to be financially strong.
According to him, state governments should also be involved in agricultural projects that can yield money, and should shun white elephant projects which they may not complete.
He said: “I don’t know what Ekiti and Osun states have to do with airports. How many people go to these places? The governors should engage in projects that have high returns, are self sustaining and can employ people.
“Their educational system should be able to bring out people who are employable and can employ people themselves. Governments should have institutions that can raise graduates who are job creators and not job seekers.
“They should also make taxes and charges reasonable to encourage more people to pay. If the taxes are too high, many people will avoid taxes.”
Elebute also called on Buhari to look closely to the provisions of Section138 of the Constitution and see if it is legal for him to continue to occupy the position of Petroleum Minister, adding that if the constitution does not allow him to hold such additional executive position, he should relinquish the position to the Minster of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who he described as competent to hold the post.
“Having held that portfolio before, Buhari is in a position to guide anyone holding such a position and supervise him well. He should give a term of reference to the Petroleum Minister according to what he wants to achieve.
“He should not break the constitution by holding to the office of the Petroleum Minister himself in addition to being the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation,” he added.
He stressed that as the minister, Buhari will always be away for the meetings of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and when he is not available to be there, the Minister of State, Ibe Kachikwu, will not be given full recognition by the other OPEC ministers.
Elebute added that as a minister, President Buhari will also be asked to appear before the National Assembly to clarify issues concerning the oil sector, a development which will not be palatable to the Presidency.