Nigeria Dwindling Economy: Experts proffer recoverable/revivable rescue elements
Political activities have mopped up the available foreign exchange, leading to scarcity and tremendous pressure on the naira that eventually crashed to an all-time low of N710/$1, last week. This among others are the challenges the Nigeria economy is battling with.
Nonetheless, to tow the country out of the basement of ruins, an economist and 2019 Nigeria Presidential candidate for Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Mr. Tope Fasua, told one of the dailies, that the federal government should immediately build an elite consensus to save the country. “This will mean getting elites to make tangible and visible sacrifices in monetary terms and otherwise including paying their taxes and making good amounts owed to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and other government bailouts. Enforce recovery of AMCON outstandings.
“Technically close down the economy by imposing higher tariffs on luxuries and also introducing a luxury tax that has long been in abeyance. More items should be added to the CBN no-fx list”, he said.
Fasua also tasked government leaders to devise tech-driven means of tackling corruption especially in the Customs, tax agencies and other parastatals. He further called for the commissioning of an independent audit of all revenue agencies and discipline those found culpable of detaining or diverting government funds, while a process of recovery of funds must commence.
“Commence incentivization and financing of cottage industries all over Nigeria targeted at ensuring zero post-harvest losses and adding value to all agricultural products.
“Get students in higher institutions to be part of the infrastructural building, especially in the power and works sectors by being part of construction to obtain practical knowledge and be part of the solution to pressing national problems.
“Start a massive programme of mass mobilisation of Nigerian youths around the security challenges by employing millions into intelligence and security services as well as reorientation and peace building.
“Launch a rescue fund by the elites and other contributors, targeted at specific projects in the economy. Also raise a N30 trillion rescue bond side by side for 5,10, 20 and 30 years for infrastructure and cottage industry establishment targeting AfCFTA”, he advised.
In his own submission and suggestion, Nigeria’s first Professor of the Capital Market, Prof Uche Uwaleke, reckoned that the Nigerian economy was currently challenged by rising inflation, tepid economic growth, exchange rate volatility, widening budget imbalance/deficit, increasing poverty, unemployment among others.
“The way forward is fiscal and monetary policy synchronisation involving: ensuring increased power supply through decentralization and encouraging mini and off-grid solutions.
“Ensuring availability of petroleum products by decentralizing refining, encouraging modular refineries and privatising government refineries.
“Actively engaging the private sector in massive infrastructure projects especially roads and railways.
“The CBN to scale up its development finance interventions in agriculture and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) after a thorough evaluation of existing ones.
“Reforming the education system with emphasis on technology and skills acquisition”.
Dr. Oni Gbolabo, university lecturer, who also weighed in on the rapid naira depreciation said it was nonsensical for a country where over 500 industries died within 30 years to complain of depreciation of her currency.
“We keep killing local industries and expect policies to make it up. It’s a joke. A country where someone carried $2+billion simply to be shared is already a doomed one in terms of monetary policy and value.
“A country that favours importation over local production is doomed because it creates employment for another country while sacking her own citizens. Some people are working in Michelin and Dunlop somewhere, yet we use the tyre here. Don’t tell me about the principle of comparative advantage here. It’s not applicable.
“A country that exports all raw materials without adding value is shameless to talk of depreciation of currency, to later re-import finished products of that material is the peak of daftness. A bag of cocoa will go for like N1 million but when it is processed it will be worth around N7 million. Even farmers who produce raw cocoa can’t buy chocolate.
“A country that has arable land, teeming idle youths and still complaining of hunger should not talk about currency depreciation. It’s annoying”, he said.