The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG),has identified some factors responsible for worsening economic crises threatening full economic rebound in the country.
Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Chairman of the NESG, stated this in Abuja at the launch of 2022 Macroeconomic Outlook Report with the theme,”The Last Mile: Reforms Towards Significant Improvement In National Economic Outcomes.
He said such factors include multiple macroeconomic challenges, exchange rate volatility, fiscal constraints, market distortions, high inflation, an unattractive investment environment (with security concerns at the core of investor reticence) as well as infrastructure deficits.”
He called on the government to address these impediments with a sense of urgency, noting that the implementation of immediate economic reforms must be prioritised to promote higher productivity, achieve economic efficiency, and deepen inclusive development.
“Long-standing issues such as effective deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector, foreign exchange scarcity and pricing, export promotion, enhanced revenue generation without dampening entrepreneurial drive, acceleration of economic diversification and patient quality investment into priority sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, social,trade and information technology sectors, must be given the utmost attention in 2022,” he said.
Ighodalo expressed reservations in the implementation of key reforms to turn around the fortunes of the nation, in view of the fact that 2022 is a pre-election year.
According to him,election-related distractions will likely have the effect of amplifying the challenges experienced in 2021 if the government does not immediately move to stem the tide by implementing critical reforms.
He added “We believe that policies that directly impact the welfare, gainful employment and safety of our citizens and the performance, sustainability and job-creating potentials of our businesses, in the short term, must be at the fore of government policies and actions in 2022.
“Being a pre-election year, 2022 will likely come with its peculiarities.First, increased election spending could motivate a tighter monetary policy stance to curb inflationary pressures.Secondly, attention may shift from effective governance to outright politicking.The pace of decision-making usually slows down in a pre-election year and reform pronouncements and implementation become difficult.
“Thirdly, the philosophical and political battles which will ensue as each party seeks to choose its presidential candidate and then convince the citizens that they are the party that will form the best government, may relegate focus on the economy and lead to the stagnation of our recovery,” he explained.
He advised that proactive and swift actions should be taken by the government in the implementation of various reforms,preferably in the first quarter of 2022.
Hr urged Nigerians to make careful choice with regard to various candidates and their political parties, to forestall plunging Nigeria into further economic morass.
According to him: “As campaigns begin to kick off for the general elections in 2023, we must pay very careful attention to the candidates that the political parties present.We, the people of Nigeria, must carefully consider the capacities, track record and love of the country demonstrated by each of these candidates.
“We must only reward with our votes those parties that put forward knowledgeable reformers; reformers who are creative, passionate, courageous and have shown with evidence of their life’s work, a genuine love for the people of Nigeria. At this time in our country’s trajectory, we cannot afford to be delinquent in this most basic civic responsibility.
“The cost of getting it wrong in 2023 is more than this great nation can or should bear. With just over a year left in office, the current administration must strive to leave behind a positive lasting legacy.
“The government still has the time, if it has the will, to create a solid foundation, and catalytic growth base for this country; and must continue to work hard to deal decisively with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, social cohesion and macroeconomic instability.To secure the future of Nigeria, there can be no punting or denial of the fierce urgency of now.”
Speaking,Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola, Chief Executive Officer of NESG, emphasized the need for macroeconomic stability, improvement of the Internally Generated Revenue(IGR) and addressing the nagging issue of fuel subsidy.
He pointed out that 40 percent of the population consumes 3percent of the petroleum products, adding that the continued retention of subsidy in the budgetary allocation is not sustainable.