A report by the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies has outlined a set of progressive reforms that could put Nigeria back on the path to sustained economic growth.
This was contained in a 10-Year Economic Roadmap for Nigeria unveiled by the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies.
The 150-page report “Back to Growth: Priority Agenda for the economic revival of Nigeria” was presented by the author Amit Jain at a ceremony held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
In his keynote address at the unveiling of the report, Jain, the Director of NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies, laid out a set of progressive reforms that, if carried out sequentially, could put Nigeria back on the path to sustained growth.
He outlined four critical factors likely to determine Nigeria’s economic performance over the next ten years – the price of oil in the international market, fiscal stability, infrastructure, and investor confidence.
What Amit Jain said
Although there is little that Nigeria can do to affect the global oil price, it can take steps to attain fiscal stability, improve infrastructure, and restore investor confidence. He identified three essential conditions for sustained growth for the country.
“Firstly, if international trade and the financial markets remain favourable to Nigeria, it would be able to borrow at concessional rates.
Secondly, Nigeria’s demographic dividend will not be felt unless the working-age population has the right skills to exploit opportunities in a changing world.
Third, and perhaps most important, is governance. Good governance is critical to ensuring durable economic growth. It would help improve the business climate and repair the social contract between citizens and the state that has been damaged over the years,” said Jain.
According to the report, the priority for Nigeria over the next two years should be to achieve stabilization.
“Ending fuel subsidy, tightening monetary policy, migrating to a flexible unified exchange rate regime, and curbing oil theft should stop a bad financial situation from worsening,” said Jain.
Once stabilization is achieved, policy priority should shift towards structural transformation. That would require dismantling the many barriers that hobble private enterprise.
Priority should be given to ending the power shortage. The report says that the fiscal space acquired in the first two years of reforms should provide adequate room to crowd in private investments.
Once growth is revived, priorities must shift towards ensuring that growth is sustained. The report lays out specific time-bound targets.
Jain believes that if some of the recommendations made in the report are carried out, Nigeria could achieve an annual GDP growth rate of 7% and emerge as one of the top 20 economies in the world.
The call for investments in Education
Speaking during a panel session during the event, the renowned economist and Chief Executive Officer of KAINOS Edge Consulting Limited, Dr Doyin Salami, argued that for Nigeria to witness growth, there is a need for the government to make deliberate investments in education.
According to Salami, investment in education is the best approach to pursuing growth that would exceed the population growth rate.
He stated that Nigeria’s future economic prosperity lies in its investment in the agro-industry, urging the government to restructure its import if it intends to be a producing nation.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, explained that a lot still needs to be done by the government to create the enabling infrastructure, the enabling access to new technologies, and the right incentives to guarantee growth in the digital economy.
He stated that the digital economy would only unleash its full potential provided the government takes deliberate steps to invest in the right skills.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Union Bank, Mr Farouk Gumel, disclosed that the challenge with Nigeria’s growth has little to do with policies or recommendations but rather with implementation.
Gumel emphasized the need to get more Nigerians, especially MSMEs, bankable to facilitate the desired economic growth, stating that MSMEs remain a major driver.
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