A Professor of Finance at the University of Ilorin, Muftau Ijaiya, has suggested that government should channel the freed funds from the oil subsidy removal to improve the quality of life of citizens especially in the rural areas.
He also urged the government to intensify its war on corruption and reduce excessive spending on governance.
These were contained in the recommendations made by Ijaiya in his paper presented at the 245th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ilorin entitled: “money matters in all matters”
Ijaiya of the Department of Finance, Faculty of Management Sciences of the University of Ilorin said, “Illustrated across the critical sectors of the economy, money matters in all even in the rural setting. Due to the difficult terrain, there is a need for the government to improve infrastructural facilities (roads water supply, electricity, etc.) in rural areas in order to attract people and improve economic activities in rural settings.”
He said, “Government should increase its spending in the agricultural sector to maintain infrastructure and institutions (for research and training) critical to agricultural output and complement this with stable macroeconomic policies (such as inflation, internal and external debt, and exchange rate management.)
“The Financial institutions, including most especially banks, should be encouraged to supplement government efforts at financing agriculture through the disbursement of loans at appropriate interest rates and at the appropriate time”.
“The Commercial banks should accept joint liability among farmers as collateral and also introduce agricultural saving schemes in their rural and urban branches. This would enable the banks to mobilise savings from the farmers and, as a policy, such savings should be extended based on the savings of the farmers.
“The Banks should design a small loan mechanism that would take care of small farmer holders from their consolidated pooled savings since small farmer holders cannot meet the credit requirements of commercial banks,” he added.
Ijaiya maintained that the Government should support informal microfinance activities, most especially the savings and credit clubs with cash and training, especially in the areas of continuity, financial reporting, defaults, etc. All these would go a long way in improving the membership strength and the economic activities of the rural dwellers.
He emphasises that the Government should increase its budgetary allocations to the education sector. This could improve the financial literacy ranking of the country, and reduce the money citizens pay on their children’s education and strikes in tertiary institutions.
“Furthermore, there is a need for government to provide minimum healthcare services in rural areas especially to reduce the rural dwellers’ spending to meet their health challenges. Such freed money can be used for transaction purposes.
“Government should establish a rural regulatory body that would ensure the quality of houses, remove risk involved in the purchase of land, and security of tenure. This would reduce their spending on house repairs and channel their money to improve their economic activities and in effect, their standard of living.
“Finally, the government should also intensify the war on insurgents and provide continued support to the farmers so that the millions of people displaced in the North-East and other parts of the country can return to their homes and farms to boost food crop production,” he said.