The experts advised the incoming president to implement policies that will grow the Nigerian economy.
Nigeria’s dwindling economy was characterized by high inflation, security challenges, widespread poverty, and unemployment, among others.
Unemployment and underemployment rates are quite high and the challenge in the power sector still posed a big problem.
Some financial experts have called on the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu to implement policies that would rapidly grow the Nigerian economy and win back the confidence of Nigerians.
The experts made the call in Lagos ahead of the May 29 inauguration and assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. They noted that Nigeria’s dwindling economy is characterized by high inflation, security challenges, widespread poverty, and unemployment, among others.
Areas of issues to be addressed
One of the experts is Professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, Uche Uwaleke, who advised the incoming president to create jobs, reduce poverty, and address issues of unemployment and underemployment, electricity, and fuel scarcity, among others.
Uwaleke said that once these issues are addressed, the economy would automatically grow. He said:
“There are areas that the present administration is yet to address and that the new administration should take up. A major area where this administration did not make a meaningful impact is job creation and poverty reduction.
“The conditional cash transfer and other social intervention schemes of this government do not seem to have made any significant impact.
“You are aware of the latest disturbing numbers by the National Bureau of Statistics on multi-dimensional poverty level involving over 130 million Nigerians.”
He further added that unemployment and underemployment rates are quite high and the challenge in the power sector still posed a big problem.
“Regrettably, inadequate electricity and scarcity of refined petroleum products which are key dependencies for any meaningful development have remained largely unaddressed.
“The inability of the government to truly diversify the export base of the economy away from oil which accounts for a significant proportion of forex earnings leaves a red ink on the scorecard,’ Uwaleke said.
The economist assessed Buhari’s administration on three pillars which include security, anti-corruption, and the economy, on which the present administration anchored its policies and programmes.
On security, Uwaleke said some effort had been made in dealing with insurgent attacks.
He noted that while Boko Haram might have been weakened, other forms of insecurity emerged, including attacks on communities by bandits, kidnappings, and the seemingly intractable farmer-herders clashes.
Regarding corruption, he said that there was no doubt that the Treasury Single Account (TSA), had gone a long way in curbing sharp practices in the public sector.
He noted that some high-profile cases were being handled by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), adding that a lot still needed to be done in this regard. He also commented on the areas of the economy, saying:
“Any objective assessment must take into consideration the 2016 economic recession occasioned by a sharp drop in crude oil prices.
“The unprecedented negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy was also a major problem.
“Before the pandemic, the economy was witnessing relative macro stability, especially concerning inflation rate and exchange rate.
“There’s no denying the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under the present administration, has done a lot in stabilising the economy and even stimulating growth through its interventions, especially in agriculture.
“The bank’s Anchor Borrower Programme which has ensured near self-sufficiency in rice production readily comes to mind.
“There is also a noticeable improvement in roads and rail infrastructure.
“Overall, the non-oil sector got some traction in terms of revenue generation and dethroned the oil sector as the major economic growth driver.”
Addressing Nigeria’s key economic indicators
Meanwhile, Prof. Hassan Oaikhenan of the Economics and Statistics Department at the University of Benin advised the incoming administration to address key indicators of the economy which the present administration failed to address.
Oaikhenan stated this was the only way to win the confidence of the people and achieve economic growth.
“These include the ravaging problem of insecurity, a collapsed economy, characterized by the high inflation rate, widespread poverty, with over 133 million Nigerians adjudged to be multi-dimensionally poor, according to National Bureau of Statistics data,’’ he said.
Oiakhenan urged the incoming president to, therefore, articulate and implement policy measures, to reverse the dwindling fortunes of the economy by way of reversing the high inflationary situation.
He added that the policy measures should be such that the government would be able to halt the rapidly depreciating exchange rate, create jobs and arrest the hydra-headed problems of insecurity and corruption, among others.
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