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2019: Nigeria economy, which way forward?

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Nigeria economy is characterized by a number of socio-economic problems. These problems include import dependence, almost dependence on a single economic sector – oil, weak industrial base, a low level of agricultural production a weak private sector, dependence on foreign loans, which way forward? EUNICE NWANKWO writes:

SOMETHING more comprehensive than just economic policy is called for in Nigeria. It seems that it is not the want of economic policy or the knowledge of what is to be done that is lacking. It seems that it is the will and the moral strength, the internal cohesion amongst others, that the country does not possess.

According to Professor A. C Eyiuche, “We need to perceive the basic ingredients of what makes a country able to pull its resources together and bail itself out of trouble.

This requires the ability of the government to understand the international as well as domestic environments, and take appropriate actions that will produce the mobilization of both human and material resources to make for economic growth and development.”

Stressing further Eyiuche said, “In these regard the South Asian model presents itself as worthy of emulation in many respects. Contrary to the many interpretations given the Models of Japan, which has been followed by the developing countries of South East Asia, such as “export-led and flying geese”, these countries are said to have been successful because their policies have national objectives within which they seek to achieve their goals through an analysis of trends and policy options in global frame reference.”

He emphasized that, “The governments of the most rapidly growing East Asian economy have not only given priority to the national interest but equated that with the promotion of national development. This has involved a goal-oriented approach to economic policy, with strong emphasis on rapid and sustained industrial section.”

Furthermore he said, “It is the promotion of national development in a market-oriented manner through the activity of private enterprises. It is market-conforming not that of government dictating to business what to do.

It seeks rather, to increase the capacity of business by giving it better means of production. It seeks to expand opportunities in the markets, diminish risks, and reward course of action that positively contributes to the achievement of national goals. The policies are not market-replacing, but market augmenting and market-accelerating.”

Enyiuche therefore urged Nigerians and said, “The greatest ingredients to lift up the nation and hence its economy is morality in all facets of our national life, we have reached a stage where there is no fear of flouting the law any longer both at home and abroad. Everyone does what he wishes and in the process progress is hampered by fraud and mismanagement and for the government to be able to pull Nigeria out of economic trouble crime must be stamped out”.

More people suggest ways Nigeria economy can improve. During the just concluded World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2018 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Head of Emerging Economic Regional Studies Division of the IMF, European Department, Anna Ilyina said that what developing countries need at this point is to judiciously use their external reserves to build buffers against the shock of rising interest rates in the monetary policy normalization regime of the United States.

Ilyina stated that only countries with good external reserves can comfortably contain the impact of the policy.

Reacting, Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele argued that what the country needs at the moment is not to increase external reserve but to maintain foreign exchange stability. He said, “We are trying to see to it that we maintain a stable exchange rate of naira and avoid the pitfall of depreciating our currency so soon in the early days of the normalization,

“we are going to build buffers but unfortunately, I must say that we are in a period when it is difficult to talk about building reserve, while allowing your currency to go anywhere, wherever it goes can be something else.”

Emefiele pointed out that privatisation of national assets has not succeeded in Nigeria because of a regime of dishonesty that ruled such exercises in the past. For the policy to succeed, the processes of the past privatization exercise must be reviewed and corrections made on the areas where mistakes were made by omission or commission.

Contributing, Deputy Director of IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, Paolo Mauro, said, “Increasing revenues is very important for Nigeria as well as significant prudent choices on what these revenues would be spent on, generally, I think it is not only about shoring up the revenue, but also being careful about the spending up the revenue by improving the choices that one makes on which infrastructure project to carry out.

On the part of the federal government, there was a meeting held recently between the federal government with the National Economic Council’s Human Capital Development’s core working groups, at the presidential villa, Abuja. There, the government disclosed that it will continue to drive initiatives to get Nigerians out of poverty and improve the country’s human capital development indices.

The vice president of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, cited federal government’s Trade-Moni Scheme, which was launched recently as one initiative that is basically giving credit to petty traders across the country in the markets, adding that the government will do more in terms of giving credits, as well as whatever assistance and support to the people.

In Anambra State, to weather the storm of poverty, Anambra initiates one youth, one skill and targets 10,000 youths yearly.

Over 10,000 youths from Anambra State will be trained yearly at skill acquisition centres as an empowerment strategy to equip them with cutting edge vocation, after which beneficiaries would receive march-off grants in soft loans to start their own businesses.

Gov. Willie Obiano stated this during the launch of skills acquisition programme in Awka, with the first batch of 250 youths selected from the three senatorial districts of Anambra Sttae to undergo three-week training at Nnewi, Nnewi North LGA, Abba, Njikoka LGA and Aguleri, Anambra East LGA.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke, the governor explained that the youths would be trained in aluminum roofing, electrical works, tiling, catering, computer application and cosmetology.

In another development, Anambra State has evolved plans of partnership with local automobile manufacturers. The plan to float a strategic partnership theme is intended to push further the state government’s devotion to development of indigenous industries.

Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano dropped  this hint while welcoming a delegation of Nigeria Defence College (NDC) Abuja course 27 whose participants were drawn from Nigeria air Force, Benin Republic, Tanzania and Rwanda among others which called at Innoson auto-manufacturing plant in Nnewi, on a tour.

To curb hardship in Anambra State, Anambra State Government has signed a memorandum of Understanding worth over N1.4 billion with an indigenous investment company NKO Farms Limited, for establishment of ultramodern yam farm and yam tuber processing plant.

This brings the total MoUs signed by the present administration to 43, totaling about $5.6 in domestic direct investment, out of which eight are already working with 14 at different stages of development to help promote food security creating jobs and improving state’s revenue generation.

To march forward economically, Wife of Anambra State Governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, has re-affirmed that trainings offered by Caring Family Initiative (CAFÉ) are free of charge.

According to Obiano, “make use of the opportunity you have now to learn a skill free of charge at any of the training centres to better your life and that of your family. Registration for training is free.”

Stressing further, she said that her pet project, CAFÉ was set up to empower women by teaching them various skills and vocations that would help them fend for their families.

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