How Nigeria can reform its economy – Ex-Georgian PM

Former Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri

A former Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri, on Monday urged the Federal Government to step up the Public- Private- Partnership (PPP), Tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) income and the anti-graft campaign if Nigeria desires to reform its economy.

Gilauri said the country must overshadow its competitors and use “out of the box ideas” to help the reform process initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He spoke at the 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos.

Using his country as a model, Gilauri said Georgia previously ranked as the 112th worst place in the world to do business but climbed to eighth place in the world after reforms were implemented.

He said finding the right formulas in measuring performances are pivotal to the economic growth of countries like Nigeria.

On the PPP, Gilauri said: “Depending on the right formulas, if PPPs are done properly, it can bring about amazing results.

“In Georgia, we did a huge and successful healthcare reform based on PPP, in a small country like Georgia, it was an amazing feat.

“It is hard to get Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in oil rich countries like Nigeria because of the perception of foreign investors who feel that such countries are wealthy.

“For Georgia, we were able we were able to lure investors by saying we were poor and in dire need of funding. Investments were one of the driving forces for the reform in Georgia.”

The former prime minister noted that Nigeria’s tax to GDP income rate of one to six percent was “significantly low.”

He added: “Nigeria needs to increase tax revenues to GDP by simplifying the tax process; this is something that I believe the Nigerian economy can improve because they are a lot of investments to be made in the country.”

Gilauri said if his country which had gained notoriety for corruption was able to become one of the least corrupt nations in the world, Nigeria could achieve the same feat.

“In 2004, we were the fifth most corrupt country in the world, in 2010 Georgia became the eighth least corrupt country in the world; there is nothing like innate or cultural corruption.

“This transformation happened in five to six years. It was an amazing transformation and we have seen the measures the government of Nigeria is taking to fight corruption,” he said.

Gilauri noted that Georgia’s anti-corruption fight was based on three pillars – outsourcing and privatisation, simplification and attracting new people by giving good salaries.

“We tried outsourcing to get rid of possible corrupt practices, at a stage we even outsourced tax audits.

“Government policies have to be simplified and you have to attract new people as well as give good salaries.

“You cannot expect a civil servant to behave properly if he is not paid properly, so we introduced a performance based bonus system into the Georgian civil service,” he stated.
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