- Open up Economy, Experts Urge
The Federal Government has been urged to open up the economy to foreign direct investment to put Nigeria on the path of sustainable economic growth.
An Economist and Chief Executive Officer of Economic Associates, Dr. Ayo Teriba, made the call during a breakfast session of the Financial Services Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), with the theme: Economic Recovery and Growth Plan: Roadmap to a Sustainable Economy held in Lagos yesterday.
The forum was sponsored by Sterling Bank.
Teriba, who spoke on Nigeria’s economic outlook: Getting out of recession cycle, said “there is need to open up Nigeria to receive massive foreign investments, just like Saudi Arabia and India. This will unlock vast and latent opportunities in the country.”
He urged the Federal Government to sustain its recent issuance of 1.5 Eurobond and must plan to issue a Diaspora bond. Teriba advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to complement the Federal Government’s effort by issuing Eurobond to ensure stability in the forex market.
He said the Federal Government should learn how to manage cyclical shocks such as the remarkable drop in oil earnings which led to the devaluation of the naira in 2016, high level of inflation as well as increase in the interest rate.
While urging fiscal responsibility, Teriba called on the Federal Government to halt the mis-alignment in some sectors of the economy where government parastatals were building expensive corporate offices and official cars without appropriation through the aid of revenue collecting agencies.
Chairperson of the group and General Manager, Corporate Banking, Sterling Banking, Mrs. Mojisola Bakare, said the lender was keen on the resolution of issues affecting Nigeria’s economic development, adding that it has become necessary to discuss the theme of the breakfast session.
She said the topic of the session was motivated by the recent launch of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) by the Federal Government with the three broad strategic objectives of restoring growth to the economy, investing in the people and building a globally competitive economy as a blueprint for recovery in the short short-term and a strategy for sustained growth and development in the long-term.
Mrs. Bakare said there was no doubt that the economy was in the recovery mode with inflation rate coming down from 18.45 per cent last February to 16.25 per cent in June.
According to her, the capital market is also on the upward swing though at a slow pace coupled with renewed effort of the Federal Government on the ease of doing business, adding that “Generally, the other economic indices are pointing towards our exit from recession by September 2017 as predicted by the World Bank.”
Also speaking, the President of LCCI, Chief Dr. (Mrs.) Nike Akande said with the economy highly import dependent, consumption driven and undiversified, it has become necessary for government to draw a roadmap for economic diversification that would drive sustainable growth and development.
Represented by the Deputy President, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, she also said it has also become imperative for government to create initiatives that would restore growth, a competitive economy and provide an enabling business environment that would empower the private sector in delivering its mandate towards the actualisation of the EGRP.
Dr. Akande said while the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is perceived as a laudable initiative, commitment to its implementation is critical if the plan would foster growth in the economy within the next couple of years, adding that driving these plans require the collaborative efforts of Federal Government, state government and the private sector.
She said Nigeria remained one of the developing nations with high returns on investments, noting that with governments’ renewed focus on growth sectors like agriculture, solid minerals, creative and entertainment, power, automobiles, infrastructure and technology, Nigeria will remain a major investment destination on the African continent.
The president also said the Federal Government was also committed to the creation of an enabling environment through the creation of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).