I am not a candidate for the presidency of Nigeria, but I wish to be a federal minister in our country. There are many ministries that I can transform. If I arrive at the Ministry of Education, I will work to rethink the architecture of our education systems.
My number one priority will be to deepen the success and quality of primary and secondary education. China has nearly 99% enrollment in primary education with less than 10% university education. They put all their money into basic education because it is the foundation of any nation. America does the same (90% achievement).
In Nigeria, we have largely reversed it, massively subsidizing university education (which is great) but, sadly, paying little attention to basic education. That’s why an elementary school teacher earns $50 a month!
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Under the direction of the soon-to-be M. Mr President, we will invest massive resources in basic education, drawing on the current budgetary structure. But as the money is used, we will measure results and drive accountability.
There are many areas that we will fix. Looking at the universal fund for basic education, you see disparities; some states have literacy rates below 20% while others are over 90%, but the funding mechanism is largely the same per child, across the country. So what happened in some states? We will close this loophole. If Nigeria sends the same amount per child to states, we expect the results to be correlated and balanced.
Looking at this government conspiracy, published a few years ago, there is no way we could spend the same amount per child and have this type of result. It would be settled.
At the university level, we will work and introduce a bill to adjust the Nigerian tax system with special deductions for education. Every partnership or donation to universities will become tax deductible, rather than just an expense. My goal will be to use this vehicle to attract at least $5 billion in the university system scholarship, facilitating local and global business collaboration with Nigerian universities (overall we can reach $10 billion at all levels of our education systems). If Huawei works with UNN and commits $10 million to research in partnership, it can deduct 100%; if Microsoft partners with ABU for $20 million, it will deduct, etc. Our tax model will activate interests to partner with schools, stimulating new incentives for businesses.
My strategic objective will be to encourage companies to partner with universities by integrating taxation into their planning models. In other words, if Microsoft wants to set up a design center for $100 million, can they spend that money in Nigeria and still deduct it working with the FUTA, FUTO, FUTMinna consortium instead of there go alone?
More so, I believe we can unlock billions of naira internally through local businesses through tax structuring. If we do these things and other ideas that I will present to Mr. President, the university system will be resourced and our economy will become more vibrant as university-industry relations deepen.
think of it this way: if Innoson Motors wants to hire 1,000 technicians for its plant in Owerri Naze. Today, the company must recruit and train them outside the university/polytechnic system. Suppose the training will cost $2 million; it will be an expense in the balance sheet.
But according to my plan, Innoson Motors can partner with The Polytechnic Nekede to train these 1,000 young people. He will spend that $2 million with the school, but on his tax form he can still deduct that, which essentially reduces his taxable income. As if by magic, you got Innoson to partner with Poly Nekede, and then the school will have the resources it needs.
You can also see this in the tax credit window which will offset corporate tax even though it is not deductible from taxable income.
Restructuring our tax code will unlock millions of dollars, and as your minister we can rebuild many fundamental architectures in Nigeria. The ASUU will have resources but it has to work. We will have no more strikes because our educational system will become a virtuoso circle of innovation and human development. Today’s structure doesn’t make sense and we’re going to replace it!
Full and complete ideas are contained in my 3T2030 diet for A Greater Nigeria where I explained how to grow the Nigerian economy from its current level of less than $500 billion to $3 trillion by 2030. I will share my insights piecemeal across sectors.
In my paper, I explain how common sense policies can rewire the structures of our market systems. Under my plan, Microsoft’s planned $100 million investment in Nigeria would not have been pure spending at Redmond USA; I will make it work with the FUTO-FUTA-FUTM consortium (for at least $20 million) and use the tax code to make it tax deductible. This way, these schools will have resources, etc. If we do that, Microsoft can even commit $200 million to Nigeria because the more it commits, the more it saves!
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Comment: What about the introduction of the federal student loan.
My answer: In primary and secondary education, education must be FREE. But at the university level, we will provide ways to help people who cannot pay. But it cannot be a “pure loan”. If you borrowed N1,000 in 1995 to attend UNN and you have to pay it now, I’m not sure you are fair to the lender. N1,000 in 2022 is not the same as N1,000 in 1995. (In FUTO, my tuition was N25 in 1998 to give an idea of how things crashed.)
So as far as currency is concerned, you need to ensure that the loans follow inflation plus the prime rate set by the CBN, at least from the 4th year of the loan. With this you will see lenders showing interest unlike today where no one wants to do this because it makes no business sense. We will have policies and executive orders (plus fixes in the National Assembly) to make sure the system works. It will be real leadership from those who understand the markets.
Comment 2: To reach US$3 trillion by 2030, growth rates must be nearly 25% per year over 8 years. I would be interested in getting an overview of your economic policies.
My answer: Of course, we’ve lost a few years since I designed it. But if I document all farmland in Nigeria and make it possible for 100% to be easily transferable, I can unlock over $100 billion in assets that can be used for credits within 6 months. If this happens, those who are classified as “poor” by the World Bank will become lower middle class, as most have agricultural land they have inherited. My model is that banks will move into rural areas, and by using these new assets, these men and women will be able to access credit. This translation will anchor a massive boom in stimulating rural economic opportunities. Nigeria’s wealth remains latent because wealth has no velocity (easy to buy and sell). We will correct this.
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