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Nigeria’s dwindling economy: Way forward

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IN THE past, Nigeria government which comprises federal, state and local government had put in place, several economic reforms to improve on the productivity of the nation. These include the National Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), Vision 2010, Seven Point Agenda amongst others,

but the failure of these policies and strategies have been identified not minding the unquantifiable human resources and natural endowments, Nigeria still ranks among the  highest in poverty,

According to economists, many of these economic reforms failed as a result of corruption, political instability, inadequate plans to improve on the technology. The craze for political power in Nigeria is not to turn around the dwindling economy but to create enabling embezzlement environment and intensifying poverty, inflation, hunger and unemployment.

Interestingly, Nigerians look forward to vision 20:2020, which is a target plan to put Nigeria among the best 20 countries this year 2020.  This can be possible if all tiers of government will be sincere in their reforms and eradicate corruption in the country, create an enabling investment climate, poverty reduction measures introduced, effective implementation of development policies, complete diversification of all economy from its present mono-cultural (oil) to a robust multi-culture type, good management of resources amongst others.

In 2019, growth picked modestly in the third quarter on the back of strengthening momentum in the non-oil segment of the economy. Notably, the industrial sector posted the stronger expansion aided by manufacturing and construction activity.

Meanwhile, output in the oil sector remained robust in the third quarter of the year, despite weakening of slightly lending further support to the expansion of economy.

Turning to the fourth quarter, business dynamic seemed to be improving, bank lending was buoyant in October 2019, with the manufacturing sector benefitting the most. Then real GDP was projected to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2019 and 2.4 per cent in 2020.

According to world leading economists, the economy is projected to gain some steam this year, largely on the back of stronger household spending supported by the  full implementation of the minimum wage increase but the full outlook remains fragile, however dampened by high unemployment, insecurity challenges power shortage, low oil prices and a more subdued global economic environment .

Notwithstanding, economists suggest that government has the opportunity to accelerate the pace of structural reforms to building an institutional policy framework capable of managing the volatility of the oil sector and supporting the sustained growth of the non oil- economy.

Studies have shown that Nigeria vision 20:2020 can be a reality, if adequate economic improvement is done. This can be possible if the agricultural industries is increased, the economic growth while government policies will eventually make this growth sustainable and the GDP grow geometrically.

In another development, government is sponsoring plans for upgrading Lagos Apapa Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant from 4,000mt to 8,000mt storage and increasing LPG allocation to the domestic market from Natural Liquified Gas (NGLs) to reduce propane exports.

According to Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre  Sylva, the government also aims to diversify supply sources with 110, 160  MTPA from Nigeria Petroleum Development Company’s facility expected to come on stream by first quarter of 2020.

Continuing, Sylva said, “we need to deliver the  much needed energy from development and growth. We need to explore ways and means to scale through the Nigeria energy hurdle and put in place strategic measures to address the downside issues, challenges, gaps and aggressively pursue the upside opportunities”.

Speaking on the way forward, Deputy Managing Director of World Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (WLPGA), Michael Kelly said the organisation would support the efforts of the government to increase utilisation in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria was one of the 20 countries where 2.3 billion people lacked access to modern fuels. He added that this could be addressed with the right policies and regulatory framework and cooperation between government and private investors.

The nation’s unemployment rate  rose to 23.1 per cent in 2019 as disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige. Unemlopyment will hit 33.5 per cent this year 2020. To avoid total disaster, both federal, state and local governments are busy imploring different strategies to curb total poverty in future.

For instance, Anambra State Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, in collaboration with UNIZIK Business School (UBS), Awka, has finalised plans to launch the Youth Entrepreneurship Start-up Programme.

Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Afam Mbanefo said the idea was to create 300 youth entrepreneurs who will also be employers of labour.

According to Mbanefo, the core objective of the programme hinged on assembling 300 creative and innovative youths with good business potentials and prospects, training them in core business principles.

This is in line with the actualisation of Governor Willie Obiano’s plan for youths of Anambra, and he stated further that there are other programmes in place for youths of the state to key into such as Smart Jobs, One Youth, One Skill, Digipreneur Hub, Youth in Agric, etc.

Still on taking the economy higher, Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has organised third Anambra Business Summit and Investment  with the theme, ‘Beyond Infrastructure, Rethinking the Future’.  Obiano promised that his administration will launch Anambra State on a  sustainable economic development chart.

He at the same time launched a 50-year development plan for Anambra State – broken into short term phases. He called on Anambra citizens to rededicate themselves to his vision.  It is on record that Oyo State Government equally launched activities to reduce the rate of unemployment in the state.

The governor, Seyi Makinde decided to go into partnership with Sterling Bank  PLC to float a Micro – Bus Empowerment scheme towards creating job opportunities for more commercial motorist.

Other state and local government areas are planning one reform or the other to boost the economy though Nigeria  had not made the targeted progress due to instability in her plans and decision.

Study has shown that sustainable industrialisation polices can actually boost the economic productivity of Nigeria as a nation through harnessing the technical and potential resources available in the country.

Hence review of policies guiding electricity generation and distribution becomes very important toward achieving vision 20:2020.

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