Experts have stated that inefficient government spending is driving the below-average growth of the social economic indices in Nigeria, rather than the amount of funds being spent.

This was the consensus of stakeholders at the webinar where the Analysts Data Services and Resources unveiled its report titled ‘Socio-economic Scorecard of Nigerian States (2023 Baseline Edition)’ on Tuesday, which revealed that the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory performed below the average in the 12 segments measuring socio-economic growth.

In all, 57 relevant indicators were used in the construction of the scorecard across 12 key socioeconomic segments namely Economic Output; Government Finance; Financial Sector; and Capital Importation, Land, Housing and Sanitation, Transportation, ICT Infrastructure, Energy and Environment, Industrialisation and Business Competitiveness, Education, Health, and Citizens’ Livelihood and Welfare. In the presentation done by the Managing Director/ Chief Economist, ADSR, Dr Afolabi Olowookere, said the overall average of the states across the different indices ranging from finance to transportation, was 45.65 per cent with ICT and Finance emerging as the best performing segments at 58.31 per cent and 51.96 per cent respectively.

Also, Lagos, Oyo States and the Federal Capital Territory emerged as best performing states in the socioeconomic scorecard, followed by Rivers, Kano, Ogun, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Edo, Osun, Ondo, Imo, Enugu, Kwara and Cross River States.

At the bottom of the scorecard are Yobe, Taraba, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Jigawa, and Bayelsa States.

Olowookere, who is also an economist revealed that while national average was 45.65 per cent, the best-performing states; Lagos, FCT and Oyo scored 62.5 per cent, 58.9 per cent and 58 per cent respectively.

“The national average of 45.65 per cent is below average with 50 per cent being the benchmark for average. Industrialisation is something that is very important to the country. When we look at all these segments and put them together, Lagos performs better.Lagos is strongest in infrastructure and poor in health,” Olowookere said.

Commenting on the report, Professor of Economics at Pan-Atlantic University, Bright Eregha, said “It is showing us that the leading segments are driven by private sectors. The sectors doing poorly are driven by the government, whether subnational or even the national government. This speaks to the fact that the government need to be more efficient.

“In other parts of the world, government provides leadership in efficiency but in Nigeria, the private sector is taking the lead. Generally, what I see subnationals should do is be efficient in their spending to ensure that sectors, where the government should take the lead, improve.

An economist from the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Dr Seyi Vincent, harped on the poor performance of the health sector and its relevance to the people.

She said, “Health sector is important. We have some schemes set up by the government. However, there are issues with the effectiveness of spending. That can be contributing to the issues that we see. It is not just about the amount of money that is spent but also how the money is being spent, that it is spent on the services that most of the people need and that requires data to support it.”

Also speaking on the report, an economic development and governance reform specialist, Dotun Seyingbo, said, “The indicators are not that great. It shows that there is room for the states to improve. You do not see results that are influenced by deliberate policy, it is more of an endowment effect. When you check these sub-nationals, they are merely benefiting from the circumstances of their heritage instead of deliberate policies. We need to move from being a child born in a rich family to being able to translate those advantages into real growth.”

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