- Experts Want Government to Engage Economists
From economists came a warning to the Federal Government to involve experts in the management of the economy, if it is serious about pulling the nation out of economic doldrums.
Essentially, the economists believe the government’s economic team lacked the necessary skill, to do what is required to build investors confidence in the country.
They decried the inability of the government to fashion out an economic blueprint to guide its actions and policies to stabilize the economy, warning that the country may be heading for the worse, if it continues with the present unclear and uncoordinated policies.
President of the Nigeria Economic Society (NES), Prof. Ben Aigbokan told The Guardian in an exclusive interview that “Until the Federal Government gives economists their pride of place in the supervision or management of the economy, most of government policies will not be able to deliver durable outcomes. It is about core competence not political appointments. Many of the actions of government, no matter how well intended, will be disjointed, unconnected together without an economic blueprint. And that is exactly what we have seen so far.”
He stated that having an economic team dominated by non-economists does not augur well for proper economic planning, saying since many members of the team headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo are politicians, they tend to operated within limited horizon.
Head of Department of Economics, Ekiti State University, Dr. Taiwo Owoeye who lamented the lack of economic blueprint to rescue the economy from recessiuon, stressed that the Buhari government only prepared very well to win election, but there was no preparation for governance.
“It is also obvious that they did not have a full grasp of the economic challenges facing the country and how to confront it. And this is funny; funny in the sense that as at middle of 2014, everybody knew of the southward trend of the prices of oil, declining by the day from 140 or 120 dollar per barrel to about 40 or 60 dollars, that’s a signal for the in-coming government to brace up for the challenges,” he said
He asked the government to borrow a leaf from the Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan governments, which had their own economic blueprints saying government must bring on board people who have understanding of the dynamics of modern economics.
Owoeye lamented that all the government has been talking about is the intervention promises of releasing money to stimulate the economy stressing that without any policy framework, the economy as being experienced now, will continue to lack direction.
“We don’t know where we are going now because there is no compass directing our movement. The whole thing boils down to the idea of Mr. President that the economy should not run itself because of the generation he belongs to. He believes in what economists call ‘Interventionist Tendency’, that is, the government should play a major role in the economy, as against the market forces playing the major role in the economy. That is why when we had the biggest crisis of exchange rate,” he maintained
He said it is unthinkable that that the economic team of a country will be dominated by lawyers. According to him, “Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was Attorney General of Lagos State, he was not the one giving economic direction of Lagos State when he was there. Udo Udoma, who is the Minister of Budget and Planning is also a lawyer, he has sat on the board of so many corporate bodies but that does not actually substitute for a core economic knowledge. The whole idea is that for you to act effectively well at that level, you need the core knowledge, training and exposure with international organisations, and those experiences do not come cheaply.
“And with due respect to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, though she was trained as an economist but I don’t think she has enough experience to drive that office effectively well, being a Commissioner of Finance in Ogun State is not enough and her performance in office has not proved me wrong”
Another expert, Prof Ben Naanen of the University of PortHarcout said, without a blueprint, both foreign and local investors cannot know the direction of the economy adding that this accounted for the macroeconomic mistakes made by the Buhari government since it came to power.
Chieftain of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and economist, Alhaji Idris Mikati said government should as a matter of urgency decide policy framework to pursue, stressing that “ Confused economic policy would not help us. Investors would like to have clear direction and not foggy weather.
Akinwumi Adesina Says It Is Impossible for Businesses to Survive Without Generator in Nigeria
The President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Akinwumi Adesina faulted the lack of reliable power supply in Nigeria as a hindrance to industrial growth in the nation.
Speaking at the 49th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in Abuja, Adesina stated that Nigerians spend $14 billion yearly on generators and fuel. He further went on to quote a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stated that Nigeria loses $29 billion annually, about 5.8 percent of its Gross Domestic Product due to a lack of reliable power supply.
He went on to note the various challenges affecting manufacturing in the country stating that lack of reliable power supply in the country is a major challenge to manufacturers. His words were “To be a manufacturer in Nigeria is not an easy task. You succeed not because of the ease of doing business in the country, but by surmounting multiple constraints that limit industrial manufacturing. Today, the major challenge facing Nigeria’s manufacturing is the very high cost and unreliability of electricity supply. Load shedding and the inconsistent availability of electrical power have resulted in high and uncompetitive manufacturing costs.”
He went on saying “Today, no business can survive in Nigeria without generators. Consequently, the abnormal has become normal. Traveling on a road one day in Lagos, I saw an advertisement on a billboard that caught my attention. It was advertising generators with the bold statement, we are the Nation’s number one reliable power supplier!!”
He then went on to proffer potential solutions to the problem, saying that Nigeria should invest in different means of energy generation to ensure the efficiency of the local industries. He suggested there should be massive investment in variable energy mixes, including gas, hydropower resources, and large-scale solar systems to ensure stable baseload power for industries to direct power preferentially to industries and to support industrial mini-grids and concentrate power in industrial zones. In addition, he suggested the development of more efficient utilities which would reduce the technical and non-technical losses in power generation, transmission and distribution systems.
World Bank Says Nigeria’s Economy is Static, Per Capita Income Unchanged in 40 Years
The World Bank claims Nigeria’s per capita income has been static since 1981, which is a total of 40 years.
The Country Director of the World Bank, Shubham Chaudhuri said this at the breakout panel session of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit on Lightning Nigeria: Solution framework for power recovery held in Abuja.
He further went on to advise Nigeria’s economic managers to quickly assemble potent strategies to harness the robust potential of the country.
He went on to say that the medium-term development plan for 2021-2025 is set on the development agenda for sustainable growth driven by new and emerging sectors. He claimed about three million Nigerians come of working age yearly, but surveys have shown that they aspire to go abroad to earn a better standard of living.
Per Capita Income is an Economic indicator that indicates the average income earned per person in a country in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the country’s total income by its total population. In 1981, according to World Bank data, Nigeria’s per capita income was $2,180.2 and per capita income was $2,097 in 2020, meaning there has been no significant change in four decades.
Earlier in the session, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed called for a paradigm shift in running the country’s economy through comprehensive and targeted reforms, a reorientation of national values, and a radical shift in attitudes to taxation and public financial management.
She said, “This is consistent with the focus of this administration on targeted investment in critical infrastructure and social development.”
The Nigerian Economic Summit is the flagship event of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and it is organized in collaboration with the National Planning Commission (NPC). The Nigerian economic summit has consistently focused on job creation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) growth, competitiveness, dismantling the pillars of corruption, encouraging sustainable growth and development, and aligning home-grown long-term agenda with the UN sustainable development goals. The 27th Nigerian Economic Summit has the theme Securing our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.
East African Countries to Discuss Economic Recovery and Investments Promotion this Week in Kigali
More than 100 decision-makers and economic stakeholders will gather in Kigali this week to discuss the road to social and economic recovery and how to attract investments in East Africa. The meeting known as the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE), will take place from 27 to 29 October 2021.
The ICSOE is the annual gathering of the office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission in Africa (UNECA) organised in collaboration with the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. The theme of this year’s meeting is: “Strengthening resilience for a strong recovery and attracting investments to foster economic diversification and long-term growth in Eastern Africa”.
Dr Mama Keita, Director of UNECA in Eastern Africa said that the Covid-19 pandemic has weakened the economic conditions of all countries in the region. She stressed that the ICSOE meeting will provide a platform for various stakeholders from governments to have a conversation with experts and private sectors on the needed economic recovery and on how to re-ignite the engines of trade and investment.
Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said that this meeting is timely and significant. “This is the time for Rwanda to discuss with other countries of the region the potentials and the ability to rise and be responsive to the socio-economic challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.
According to Ms Keita, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is undoubtedly critical to support the recovery from the severe adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, increase the economic multiplier in the region and will help countries to build back better, grow their economies and create jobs that foster inclusive growth.
The participants at the meeting will discuss thematic issues such as deepening Regional Value Chains, environment for investment Opportunities and Interlinkages between peace, security and development.
The subregional office for East Africa of UNECA serves 14 countries: Burundi, Comores, RD Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
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