On Thursday, economic experts, government officials, and leadership consultants convened at the International Conference Centre Abuja to discuss how Nigeria can effectively navigate its recent departure from recession and achieve long-term economic growth.
The experts agreed that the MuhammaduBuhari administration should take particular actions to ensure Nigeria does not revert to recession at a brainstorming session titled, “How to Consolidate Nigeria’s Exit from Recession and Ensure Economic Growth.”
The N-PoD Monthly Policy Dialogue (Summit) was held for the sixth time, and it was hosted by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Policy Development/Analysis.
In the third quarter of 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a slump. A recession is a short-term economic downturn in which trade and manufacturing activity plummet.
A drop in GDP in two consecutive quarters is particularly notable. In the second and third quarters of 2020, Nigeria experienced this economic difficulty.
The country as a whole saw a significant fall in spending.
However, the nation’s economy expanded by 0.11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, despite the International Monetary Fund forecasting a further fall.
According to experts, despite the fact that oil output fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter due to the COIVD-19 epidemic, a 1.7% increase in the non-oil sector (telecoms and agriculture) assured Nigerians escaped recession.
The specialists met to propose recommendations on how the country may avoid returning to recession, according to Ibrahim Hassan, the SSA to the president on policy formulation and analysis, who organized the gathering.
He asked, “What choices do we have to consolidate on Nigeria’s departure from recession?” “This is the main topic of discussion at this policy roundtable.” An in-depth examination of the function of producing sectors such as agriculture and industry is required, as well as a look at the role of service sectors such as telecommunications and the digital economy. COVID-19’s downturn also opens up a possibility for recovery and consolidation. If the current trend continues, another lockdown is unlikely. This gives reason for optimism about future economic development and consolidation.”
He stated that the summit’s proposals would be conveyed to the president and relevant agencies.
Paul Alaje, Senior Economist, SPM Professionals; Yemi Kale, DG, National Bureau of Statistics; AB Okauru, DG Nigeria Governors Forum; Linus Okorie, CEO, Gotni Leadership Centre; and Khalil Halilu, Chairman, The CANS Hub were among the speakers at the event, which also included a virtual engagement of over 600 participants.
Tonto Dikeh and Kenneth Okonkwo, two Nollywood stars, both gave short presentations on how the economy might be sustained, particularly through more young involvement and the entertainment industry.
Mr. Alaje, the main speaker, stated that in order to sustain economic growth, all hands must be on deck in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
‘’This is not the time to assign blame. Some difficult questions must be asked of ourselves. Where were we before, where are we now, and where do we hope to be in the future? We must also be prepared to take off our caps, roll up our sleeves, and go to work at this time,” he remarked.
He also stated that Nigeria must be prepared to devote more resources to the telecoms sector, which he described as “making a lot but giving back so little in terms of money to the government coffers.”
He went on to say that, despite the government investing so much in agriculture, the sector only returns about 2% of total government revenue.
He claims that if the federal government re-energizes key policies in its income streams, eliminate wastage, and ensures more open markets, infrastructure development, and competitiveness across its sectors, the federal government can make as much as N40 trillion yearly.
Nigeria can maintain its current economic trajectory, according to the NBS DG, if it assures a speedy diversification away from oil, maintains current economic policy interventions, and creates stronger social safety nets for the needy.
MrHalilu stated that in order for the country’s economy to grow even further, it needs to take three quick steps, which he identified as using data, utilizing new technologies, and utilizing the youth’s skills.
MrOkorie, for one, believes that for the country to continue to grow, it must pay more attention to the youth and ensure that those who are already successful in various fields obtain what he refers to as “8-star” skills, which will enable them to compete globally and generate revenue for the country.
‘’Taking young people and the abilities they possess more seriously and taking them off the streets is the quickest way to leave and sustain the recession,” he said. ‘’Let the youth uncover their talents, build a structure that allows them to flourish, and then build an 8-star investment system around them.”
‘’Integrate 8-star abilities (which are uniquely practiced in Singapore) in industries like agriculture and creative companies. Extend this line of thought to other sectors of the economy. Nigeria would become a destination for riches and grandeur if you do this regularly over the next ten years.”
Mr. Okonkwo stated, “Nigeria has no business being poor.” ‘’We can’t borrow our way out of a recession, but we can build our way out of one. We have the ability to produce our way out of the slump.”
Mr. Okonkwo also recommended that the government provide “shock absorbers” to ensure that growth does not slow. Massive industrial production increased wealth for the citizenry, and expanded trade and investment prospects are among them, he stated.
He went on to say, “We also need to adapt our laws to reflect modern circumstances.”
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