By Olubunmi Samuel-Adeyemi
The Nigerian 2016 Budget proposal is finally here. I received with great joy, the news that the President has considered, as part of activities for 2016, financial literacy education for market women, traders and artisans. This is indeed cheering news for many reasons.
For many years, I have been fascinated by the concept of managing finances by keeping records and making sense of the data generated. Then, in the course of my career, I started to learn that Personal Finance management went beyond analysing expense data.
Mainly by self-study, I began to see the extent to which we could go with taking position early with regard to our financial lives. I learnt that this area of study is all-encompassing, including a focus on Savings, Investments, Tax, Insurance, Retirement and Estate planning. This knowledge is what prompted me to return to school for a PGD in Banking and Finance at Covenant University in February 2014. I needed to expand my knowledge base, carry out research and generally, be better equipped to teach the benefits of Personal Finance to everyone, regardless of his/her current economic or literacy level.
Because, think about it, what better way is there for a vast majority of the citizens of a country to climb out of poverty?
Oil prices are falling, necessitating a diversification of the economy. The unemployment rate is still very high. Employers are struggling to pay the salaries of their workers and have had to retrench them in droves. The cost of doing business is high, no thanks to the current exchange rate; hence, business owners are forced to review their pricing upwardly or their businesses will die a natural death.
The end result? A mass of idle, frustrated youths - a recipe for disaster, thanks to the large population that Nigeria is blessed with.
With President Buhari’s initiative to train Nigerians on financial literacy, many will be better equipped not just to look for jobs but to create jobs that will employ more people.
The president’s proposal will ensure that people will acquire the information they need to NOT get into the rat race. I’m certain that there will be an eruption of entrepreneurs in the country, building businesses that will solve global problems.
The president should, as a matter of necessity, extend this training to the Nigerian youths. If the youths are trained, they will leave school with a clear idea what problems they will like to dedicate their lives to solving.
They will know beforehand, how to spend the monies they will be earning, should they choose the path of paid employment. They will value time and examine every activity in the light of whether it is a waste or an investment of their time. They will take investment positions early, so that compound interest can work for longer for them.
Several home-based businesses will spring up, such that the number of streams of income of the average Nigerian will increase. Nigeria will be a country of people not merely talking about the harsh conditions they are confronted with. Rather, Nigerians will come to see every challenge as an opportunity to create a solution for Nigerians, and one that can be exported, as well.
The impact of this policy on financial literacy will be visible in Nigerians in paid employment, who will learn how to multiply their monthly remuneration while keeping their day jobs. They will save/invest part of their earnings, making it available to the financial sector, and thereby to businesses, as capital or for business expansion.
Professionals will go to work more fulfilled and excited about their jobs, knowing that their future is taken care of by their investments. With human resources as the most valuable assets of any business, one can only begin to envision the impact of this state of mind on the bottom-line of existing businesses.
No longer will the government need to restrict daily spending limits on spending abroad, because the dollar will no longer threaten the Naira. The Nigerian people will have transformed our economy from being a consuming/import-based one to being a producing and exporting one.
Now, you know why that portion of the speech delivered by President Buhari earlier today is cheering news to me. Without doubt, it will lead to a financial ‘revolution,’ with evidence in all areas of the economy.
Olubunmi Samuel-Adeyemi (Twitter: @itsOlubunmi) is a LIMER™ Personal Finance Coach.