New Homes Industry: The Key To Job Creation And A Better Economy in Nigeria
At her recent swearing in as Finance Minister for the second time around, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reportedly declared, “I am here to create jobs.” That is music to the ears of all Nigerians, including the reported and staggering 40 million job-seekers and those who know that lack of employment is a major contributor to the high crime Nigeria wave in all corners of our Motherland. Combined with passage of indigene law, Nigeria will foster deeper housing roots and policies capable of ameliorating sectarian crimes, such as the ones that often occur in Jos and other parts of our “One Nigeria”.
I understood Mrs. Iweala’s “I am here to create jobs” comment to mean that she will work hard to create an economic environment that is conducive to the private sector creating good paying jobs for Nigerian citizens and immigrants. I will come back to why the “immigrants” part is critical to Nigeria’s development and prosperity.
It will not be easy!
President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for the heightened emphasis he seems to be according to the improvement of Nigeria’s economy. I hope both the President and Finance Minister succeed for the good of all Nigerians, but like many Nigerians, I will hold further praise until I see measurable results even as we support only their worthy efforts. Nigerian history is full of false starts and wasted opportunities.
However, the President and the Minister cannot and should not be expected to do it all by themselves without our support. Nigerians everywhere should get all hands on deck and contribute to worthy causes of any administration. Both job seekers and the employed must have strong work ethics and provide superior services that make their employers’ businesses prosper so they can hire more people and stay in business for a long time. Every employee should work it as if it were his or her father’s company.
In the world’s more efficient economies, the private sector is the engine of growth and job creation. Nigeria does not need more government or public sector jobs. It needs more sustainable private sector workers.
This and every administration should be vocally criticized when they pursue the wrong agenda. That is constructive and good for all. Each administration should be judged by how it improves the lives of the people in the short and long run with the people asserting their responsibilities along the way too.
For the first time ever, I wrote to Nigerian President in May 2011 to ask him to put development of Nigeria’s new housing industry at the top of his economic agenda for the betterment of all. I stated the potential externalities of the new home industry for the Nigerian economy. In that missive, I expressed my willingness to contribute pro bono to that effort. I made it quite clear that I neither seek any monetary/political reward nor do I desire to return to Nigeria permanently any time soon.
Being content in America does not preclude me (or others) from making trips to Nigeria (at personal expense) to help organize seminars and tours for educating Nigeria’s budding homebuilders who wish to learn the American new housing methods. Certainly, I do not have all the answers but since this is my passionate profession (new homes) here in America, it is my wish to give back by contributing the little I know to new homes development in our beloved Nigeria.
I respect Mrs. Iweala’s decision to return to Nigeria to serve. I believe she will perform well in her encore as Finance Minister. After being at the top of one’s career overseas for many years, it can be tough to uproot one’s family. Leaving one’s family abroad and returning home to work in Nigeria is a heavy commitment too, regardless of how much one earns there.
Nigerians inside and outside the country should respect those who go down this path to help, and not to loot the coffers. The leaders who ask these professionals to return to their homeland should be recognized and praised based on positive results, not lip services.
It was reported that President Jonathan recently formed the National Economic Management Team (NEMT) to spearhead his economic agenda. The names and agencies that make up the team appear impressive. If egos are checked at the door, and bureaucratic inertia is not allowed to engrain, monumental good can come from this team. Nigerians everywhere have been waiting for the “coming” to come.
It will be to the welcome credit of the Jonathan administration and all the NEMT members if they achieve tangible success. Nigerians should be cautiously optimistic.