The Ogunmupe Full Employment Plan (OFEP)
BY CHIEF BAYODE OGUNMUPE
THIS year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the post war German economic miracle. When World War II ended in Europe in 1945, Germany was in shambles with millions of its citizens unemployed and in abject poverty. Through the application of the social market economy, Dr. Ludwig Erhard, the German Economic Affairs minister, restored Germany to prosperity and full employment within a decade. With Nigeria being ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency and large scale unemployment, we believe we can replicate the German economic miracle in Nigeria too. Our faith in Nigeria’s recovery is all the more tenable given the economic advances achieved by other countries like Bangladesh, South Korea and Japan since World War II.
This is why we have crafted the Ogunmupe Full Employment Plan. The programme seeks to eradicate poverty and unemployment in our land. The underpinning ideology behind OFEP is the middle way between a truly free market and socialist planning. We believe a national welfare state is necessary and desirable to ensure social harmony. This means government must regulate the size and composition of import substitution industries. Also, there shall be urban and rural planning. Government must encourage income redistribution through the participation of trade unions in the decision making bodies of businesses. State and federal governments must intervene in the marketplace. It is necessary that the state interfere in the market whenever and wherever the free play of the economic forces results in conditions that are socially undesirable. That is to say, it is the duty of government to interfere in the market for the good of the people. There is no third option between government control and free markets. Government must guide the market from the laissez faire capitalism where the rich continues to get richer and the poor, poorer. Thus, employment for all who want to work is the antidote to poverty. The ensuring welfare state shall be funded by workers taxes and the natural resources of the nation.
Like U.S. President Harry Truman appointed Paul G. Hoffman to organize the Marshall Plan through the Economic Cooperation Administration, the President shall appoint someone sympathetic to the issue as chair of Ogunmupe Full Employment Plan. We should run it like the Independent National Electoral Commission. It should have a training arm possibly the National Directorate of Employment.
Government should appropriate six billion naira per year for the project. The Ogunmupe Full Employment Fund (OFEF), should also be instituted where foreign institutions and governments would be lobbied to help. But government policies can frustrate as well as foster the innate energies of a people, so we should avoid excessive government planning. Which is why a department of utilities providing electricity for OFEP infrastructure and sustenance shall be established within OFEP. Another department of OFEP shall be the National Directorate of Employment. It will be its training arm. Also, OFEP shall have a Reconstruction agency, which shall see to the reconstruction of areas ravaged by insurgency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
For administrative convenience, there shall be six zonal headquarters and 360 offices, one in each federal constituency in the country. The creation of states and local governments in Nigeria are inequitable. The only just standard of distribution in Nigeria is by the federal constituency which is based on the delimitation of areas by equality of population. The governing council of OFEP shall comprise 17 members with executive chairman and secretary, 12 members constituting two from each of the six geo-political zones and three executive consultants who are experts in electricity, infrastructure and small-scale businesses.
Created by gazette executive order, OFEP shall be appointed by the President for a term of five years, with another five year tenure when in good conduct. This means, it is estimated that full employment for any who wants to work throughout life may be achieved in ten yers. That in ten years we would have conquered poverty, unemployment and poor electricity supply. The OFEP is expected to complement or takeover power supply in Nigeria. However, the National Assembly shall have power to amend and repeal the enabling presidential order by an Act. The States shall be encouraged to organize their arm of OFEP. The OFEP is so named so as not to confuse it with the failed and repealed National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP). The OFEP is the outgrowth of the study of the economies of Germany, Bangladesh, South Korea and Japan. We may gain greater inspiration from them during implementation. We may turn to any of them for elucidation. A tax based social security system could evolve from the participants of this plan.