If a man cannot manage a salary of 20,000 Naira well, there is a tendency that he will not be able to manage 100,000 Naira well too should his salary be raised. 

We are at a time that the Nigeria Labour Congress is demanding for a raise in the national minimum wage of workers. In fact, it has downed tools to push this desire or force the sweet, yet bitter, pill down the throat of the government. 

One thing that has placed a limit to the meagre salary of workers in Nigeria is a poor saving habit, but it appears it is not their fault. 

In the eastern part of Nigeria, a saying goes that when a finger gets in touch with oil, it finds a magical way of spreading to the other fingers.

This was what a former Minister of Education in Nigeria, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, implied when she presented a paper on the "Oil Sector Reform, Revenue and Stability" at an event organised for presidential contenders in Nigeria and held in Lagos.

The system is skewed in a way that it does not encourage savings. 

Highlighting the needed reforms in the oil sector in Nigeria, the former minister said that when the management of oil revenue was fundamentally faulty, it could manifest in different shapes and forms. 

She advocated for a petroleum sector that was fully deregulated. 

Explaining that the activities happening in the sector had made it a milk cow for a few people, Mr Ezekwesili was also certain that “the day that the petroleum sector is fully deregulated, there are people who will never think of wanting to be president of Nigeria”.

Oby Ezekwesili speaks on Nigeria's saving culture
Oby Ezekwesili says Nigeria's constitution needs reform to encourage revenue saving 

"Stop wanting to have political control of the oil sector. You don’t need it, except you are inclined towards certain kinds of things.

“You become the president who governs over easy rent and that is not the kind of leadership that a nation like Nigeria deserves,” she told the aspirants. 

On why Nigerians find it hard to save from their earnings, she explained that the habit had been passed on to the people by those in governance and the constitution of the oil-rich nation.

“A constitution that does not encourage saving. 

“We have a constitution that does not permit you to save. It simply has a provision, I think in section 82 that once it enters, it should be distributed.

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“We must be people that discusses and entrenches in our constitution the necessity for automatic transfer of a certain amount of revenue from oil into our Sovereign Wealth Fund. 

“The truth is, saving by a nation can also be a trigger for savings culture by a people.

“A nation that is consumptive will breed citizens that are consumptive. 

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“We consume everything, and our own people also learn to consume everything. 

“Our children have no financial literacy. They consume everything,” the former minister explained.   

She pointed out that China’s economic growth and development came on the back of a lot of national savings and urged Nigeria's leaders to learn from the world power.

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