By Stanley Iwuoha
A former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu has faulted the overcrowding of people at the various National Identity Number, NIN centees across the country in the face of deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it was not sensible to force millions of Nigerians to obtain NIN registration in the middle of a massive pandemic as people are massing at various centres, super spreading covid
Moghalu spoke while speaking on the challenges of the economy at a TV live programme.
He said, though, there is no question on the need for biometric data in any 21st century situation to be able to secure citizens but the overcrowding of the enrolment centres is unacceptable.p
“When we were at the Central bank, we executed a lot of reforms in the payment system. And as deputy governor of operations, I led the team that conceptualized and introduced the bank verification number (BVN).
“Why did we do it? It was because we were frustrated with the pace of the national identity number rollout. We were not satisfied and we said o.k, but we control the financial system as regulators.
“So within that space, we will do what we have to do to make financial transactions more efficient, more secure with unique identifiers.
“That was why we developed the BVN and it worked. There are 40 million people in Nigeria today who have it.
“If the same efficiency and effectiveness were used by the wider government, we would have been at a far better place by now.”
He however said it was not sensible to force millions of Nigerians to obtain NIN registration in the middle of a massive pandemic as people are massing at various centres, super spreading covid.
He advocated a reform of the education system, which he said was not structured to drive an economy for a 200 million population country like Nigeria.
Continuing, Moghalu said: “We also need to invest in human capital and that level of investment is not taking place. We focus on the shiny bright object of infrastructure but who is going to use that infrastructure if half of your youth do not have jobs, half of them do not have skills?”
Moghalu also called for c0³reation of a N1 trillion venture capital fund where the government will invest N500 billion and the private sector will contribute the rest but the private sector will administer the fund.
“In Nigeria, you have government running everything and once you have that situation, politics, corruption and rent seeking will take over.
“That is why the country is not moving because government has too much control because politicians want to make money from all these so-called schemes.
“The Federal Government must create an enabling environment for private sector investors to come in and do these things on an economic basis, people would be serious,”he added.