Economic Experts Advocate Collaborative Approach To Resuscitate Nigerian Economy

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By Lydia Ngwakwe

Economic experts have emphasized the need for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to reviving the Nigerian economy, ensuring its long-term stability and prosperity.

The experts made the emphasis at the 2023 maiden edition of the City Business News summit with the theme, “Repositioning Nigerian Economy: 2023 and Beyond,’’ on Wednesday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting highlighted the urgent need to address the challenges facing the economy and chart a course for sustainable growth.

It also underscores the importance of stakeholder engagement, innovative solutions, and a shared vision for a stronger and more equitable Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer, of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Mr Oscar Onyema, while speaking on the topic from a Capital Market perspective, highlighted the adjustments that could be made to get a well-functioning system.

According to him, investors believe that the government has started off on the right footing.

He said that the removal of fuel subsidy and the hike in petrol prices had taken a huge toll on households and businesses.

However, he said that the Federal Government has projected the future benefits of the subsidy removal and the positive impact it would have on the economy.

“The removal of fuel subsidies would create opportunities for the Government to redirect funds to other priority areas that require national development.

“The unification of the Naira exchange rate by the Federal Government offers investors favorable opportunities for possible investments. It will also close unnecessary leakages in the system.

“Revitalizing the economy would require a critical review of our security architecture, optimization of the energy sector, monetary and fiscal policy coordination, and policies rooted in market fundamentals.

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“We note that the government is already moving in this direction, so quality execution will be key,’’ Onyema said.

The NGX boss also said, “From the Nigerian Market Update for Aug. 2023 by PWC, one of the macro-economic activities of the Federal Government to improve its fiscal position and increase revenue is setting up of Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms to improve revenue collection efficiency, ensure transparent reporting, and promote the effective utilisation of tax, alongside the planned sale of about 20 state-run companies to raise funds and improve governance in these entities.

“These opportunities would enhance the growth of the capital market and further improve the overall state of the economy.’’

Onyema, represented by the Group Chief Investment Officer, NGX), Mr Tony Idugboe, said that revitalizing the Nigerian economy was imperative for the nation’s development.

He stressed that a well-developed domestic capital market would enable governments and companies to access long-term finance in local or foreign currency, increase investments directed toward innovation, and promote sustainable growth with greater employment opportunities for a growing middle class.

The Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, said that there was a compelling argument for taking proactive measures to restore and stimulate the Nigerian economy.

He said the Nigerian government was taking steps to address the country’s foreign exchange shortages and make it easier for businesses to access forex.

This, he said, was a positive step that could help to boost investor confidence and attract more foreign investment into the country.

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Yusuf named other strategies for repositioning the economy as, “Boosting reserves through enhanced crude oil production, deepening of import substitution to ease forex demand pressure, especially with regards to petroleum products importation.

“Leverage government assets to enhance inflows through equity investments, incentives FDI and FPI flows, curbing speculative activities through better oversight and surveillance of the deposit money banks, among others.

The Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Aminu Maida, said that the commission was looking to create a pipeline of three million technical talents.

This program, he said, had commenced already with over one million applications by potential trainees and was expected to increase the level of digital and technical skills among Nigerians, especially young and middle-level talents, to 70 per cent by the end of 2027.

He said that the program would position Nigerians to productively contribute to the economy and place the country in the top 25 percentile of research globally in the key areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), IoT, Robotics, Blockchain, and Additive Manufacturing in keeping with the strategic plan unveiled by the Minister.

Maida was represented by the Director of Research Development, NCC, Mr Ismail Adedigba.

The Chairperson of Women in Logistics and Transport, Mrs Khadijat Ifelola Sheidu-Shabi, expressed optimism that there are still opportunities for growth and progress despite the challenges facing the logistics and transport sector in Nigeria.

“The logistics and transport sector which plays a critical role in the conveyance mechanism of the supply chain of the economy is also not left out of the economic situation of the nation.

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“The sector has witnessed a geometrical increase in the cost of its operations as a result of the removal of subsidies and other economic measures,’’ she said.

Sheidu-Shabi, who noted that the situation was not hopeless, said that there was still reason to believe in the future of the sector.

She encouraged stakeholders to remain focused on finding solutions and taking advantage of emerging opportunities.

She said, “It is not all that gloomy and despondent, I want to assure you with ideas and solutions arising from patriotic gatherings such as this, and that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.’’ (NAN)

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