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Pat Utomi Calls For Diversification of Nigeria’s Economy

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Nigerian professor of political economy and management expert Professor Pat Utomi has called for diversification of the economy. He made this call during the launch of the Rebuild Nigeria Initiative (RNI) in Abuja.

He noted that despite promises by successive administrations to diversify the economy, the country’s overwhelming reliance on crude oil has still continued to persist. According to him, failure to diversify may spell disaster.

He said: “The word ‘diversification’ if you do a content analysis, must be the most used word in budget broadcasts in Nigeria. For more than 30 years I have heard of promises to diversify our economy away from dependence on crude oil. I mean, I have heard it so many times that it is like playing in my head.

“Unfortunately, we’ve done very little in that direction and it has assumed a new urgency because the world is going through an energy transition. We have forgotten that crude oil is a finite resource. In 10 to 12 years from now, as close as that is, few cars will run on petrol. We’ve to put our hydrocarbons endowment to other kinds of uses.”

He also urged the federal government to learn from countries such as Botswana and other wealthy nations that have made significant investments in their youths.

While criticizing the government for failing to invest in the empowerment and development of youths, Utomi stated that youths are the main drivers of any country’s economy.

He emphatically stressed that Botswana became the fastest growing economy in the world between 1968 and 1980 because the country invested revenue realised from diamonds in its youths.

“This year, about $4 billion of investments are expected to come to Nigeria’s tech space which is dominated by youth.

“They are the ones holding the economy right now, they’re doing it in Nollywood. They’re doing it with the music industry. Just imagine that we put a cost on them, that we treated them like the kings that they deserved, and really deserved to be treated.

“Imagine, If we had invested massively in their education and put other things in place for their things will work well. We’ve got to stop politicians from taking advantage of this easy money that comes into the treasury. We should do things like Botswana did. Botswana, from 1968 to 1980, was the fastest growing economy in the world, essentially from diamond exports.

“What did Botswana do, they saved most of that money and put it in a future fund because they realise that all Botswana’s born 200 years from now have as much as share of it, as they will live today. And they continue to produce. So, we’ve not done that in Nigeria. What we have are very ambitious elites that’s rushing to buy private jets”, he added.

Known for his philanthropic works and activism, Utomi has been lending his voice to a better nation over the years. Investors King recalls the personality’s input on the Apapa Gridlock’s situation, his voice on Nigeria’s Recession, and many more.

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Economy

Digital Economy: China Seeks More Partnerships With Nigeria

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr. Chu Maoming had advocated for more robust China-Nigeria partnerships in the Digital Economy.

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digital economy - Investors King

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr. Chu Maoming had advocated for more robust China-Nigeria partnerships in the Digital Economy.

Investors King learnt that the Chinese Consular General has called for enhanced strategic cooperation between Nigeria and China. The diplomat noted that such a corporation on the digital economy will help to address the challenges confronting Nigeria. 

Speaking in Lagos during the 2022 Africa-China Economic Partnership Agenda Conference, (ACEPAC), Mr Chu Maoming noted that China and Nigeria are the largest economies respectively in Asia and Africa, and both countries are actively developing their digital economies with notable success.

Maoming further stated that Nigeria is one of the most important economies in Africa and Lagos is the economic, financial and technological centre of Nigeria. He, therefore, seeks more collaborations in key digital economic areas of 5G Construction, Mobile Payments Systems and E-Commerce Platform. 

Mr Maoming also noted that digital economy potential lies in the number of mobile internet users in Nigeria which has exceeded 150 million as of June 2022, with an internet penetration rate of nearly 70 percent.

On the other hand, the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) Prof Eghosa Osaghae stated that Nigeria will be open to the new possibilities which the digital economy has to offer. 

Furthermore, the Executive Director of Afri-China Media, Ikenna Emewu described the conference as an important event that will further drive Nigeria towards the digital economy. 

The Executive Director said that Nigeria and Africa cannot afford to lag in adopting digital possibilities to improve their economies.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Professor Isa Pantami says the Ministry has completed over 2000 projects within three years to enhance the digital economy across the country. The minister disclosed this during an inspection tour of the National Shared Service Centre in Abuja.

Pantami noted that Nigeria is making progress in the digital economy while the numerous projects which are spread across the country will help to improve the productivity of many Nigerians. 

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MSMEs Critical to Nigeria’s Economic Development- President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are critical to Nigeria’s economic growth as they contribute about 48 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are critical to Nigeria’s economic growth as they contribute about 48 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, at the 17th International Trade Fair organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), stated that trade is key to ending poverty and also plays a significant role in the economic growth of any nation.

In his words, “It helps to build wealth and improve foreign reserves. Trade is key to ending poverty across countries, raising standards of living and improving productivity. No economy can thrive without robust trade

“The MSME segment is critical to the stimulation of economic development. Nigeria is estimated to be home to over 40 million MSMEs who, together, contribute about 48 per cent of our GDP. Many of us just see MSMEs as the mamas that fries Akara or the friendly Malam that owns the kiosk on our street.

“That is not the case; some of the fastest growing Fintech start-ups in Africa are in fact MSMEs. This trade fair provides an opportunity to change the narrative of what MSMEs are and demonstrates how innovative they can be.”

“I see enterprises that employ large cross-sections of our youth population. I see enterprises with the capacity to export. I do not see small businesses here, I see future mighty business.”

“The Federal Government is keen to help MSMEs achieve their full potential and has developed strategic policy interventions, enshrined laws and established institutions to create a supportive business environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs.

“In line with this, the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) has developed a programme that will enhance access to credit for over 10 million MSMEs at single digit rate.

“Aside from the provision of finance, this project will address key ecosystem issues such as the development of MSME clusters to lower operating costs as well as capacity-building initiatives.

“The Ministry has also commenced the process of adopting a centralised automated platform for the registration of Trademarks, Patents and Designs. The overall objective is to fully digitise existing records and automate the registration process to enable ownership and commercialisation of innovation,” he stated.

It would be recalled that Investors King on October 2, 2022 reported that the federal government has directed the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) to step up its efforts to increase its funding for MSMEs.

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Economy

High Interest Rate Will Hurt New Job Creation, Exacerbate Unemployment – Manufacturers Tells FG

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said the recently increased interest rate would drag on new job creation and subsequently lead to job loss amid Nigeria’s already worrisome unemployment rate.

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said the recently increased interest rate would drag on new job creation and subsequently lead to job loss amid Nigeria’s already worrisome unemployment rate.

In a statement signed by the Director-General of MAN Segun Ajayi-Kadir, manufacturers disclosed that the increase in the Monetary Policy Rate and the Cash Reserve Ratio portended worrisome negative consequences for the manufacturing sector.

MAN noted that the increase in MPR from 14 percent to 15.5 percent would rub off negatively on other rates and dash the hope for a single-digit lending rate for the productive sector of the economy.

It further said that the recent development would lead to an increase in the cost of borrowing by manufacturers, further beyond the double-digit rate, which would disincentivize new investments in the sector.

The statement read in part, “The observed continuous contractionary monetary policy posture without complementary fiscal support may not effectively reduce the prevailing inflationary pressure on the economy.

“This is not unconnected with the fact that the current increase in consumer price index as reported by NBS is not largely driven by the monetary phenomenon, as self-inflicted weak foreign exchange rate management can be linked to the pressure.”

MAN disclosed that the rate hike would cause increased factor costs which will inflate the price of  products, stating that it was hopeful that the CBN would creatively go beyond the conventional monetary management system because global economic dynamics were changing and conventional measures might no longer be effective.

The statement further read, “It is important that the monetary authority strategically set in motion mechanism for holistic balancing of the real interest rate, which is critical to investment and not just following leading economies to adjust Interest rate without considering domestic peculiarities.”

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