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‘How Nigeria can achieve meaningful recovery’

By Helen Oji   |   17 October 2016   |   3:06 am
Former Group Managing Director of Ecobank TransNational Incorporated, Arnold Ekpe

Former Group Managing Director of Ecobank TransNational Incorporated, Arnold Ekpe

For Nigeria to achieve a reasonable level of recovery, financial experts have urged the Federal Government to adopt a new blueprint that would proffer a lasting solution to the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria and fast track industrialisation

These formed the highlights of the discussions made at the 2016 triennial delegates’ conference of the Independence Shareholders Association held in Lagos at the weekend.

Besides, they also stressed the need for regulatory authorities to relax all stringent measures that impede the ease of doing business in Nigeria and attract more investment into the country

According to them, failure to address the nation’s infrastructure deficits would widen the development gap between Nigeria and the neighbouring countries. It would also make the country to lag behind meaningful economic development indexes.

Specifically, the former Group Managing Director of Ecobank TransNational Incorporated, Arnold Ekpe, submitted that there was a need for government to tackle the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria and boost indigenous firms.

Ekpe, while speaking on the theme: ‘Financial Turbulence and Regulatory Framework in a recessed economy’, argued that government must inject fresh fund into the system to tackle infrastructure issues in order to grow indigenous firms and revive the manufacturing sector.

He bemoaned the effects of infrastructure deficit on the macro economy and on the standard of living, noting that weak infrastructure exerts a huge burden on foreign and local businesses.

“Other countries that have faced similar challenge put together an expansionary budget that money can be injected into the system to fund infrastructure and revive local industries to create job and increase business and not job losses or business collapse.

“Government must inject money to fix infrastructure and lower interest and get projects going. The budget is an expansionary one, let us spend it. Our interest rate has deteriorated; we have not been able to manage our currency well. We need to regain our position as number one economy.

“We need to build a viable economy that can create jobs and encourage local industries and boost manufacturing. Our economy must grow in a manner that our brothers and sisters can get jobs. If we do not grow, the rest of the world will leave us behind.”

The Managing Director, Financial Derivatives, Bismarck Rewane stressed the need for government to concession assets that is difficult to manage and deploy the proceeds for infrastructure development, especially the power sector to increase productivity.

“We need to raise money from international organisations like ADB and concession those assets we cannot manage like the railway, airports for a number of years and put money in power to increase productivity.

“We must reduce interest rate and unlock funds for debt servicing expand credit supply and reduce the CRR for banks to lend to real sector. Stimulus package will help to set the tone for recovery. The symptoms of wellness of the recovery will be showing from 2017 but by 2018, Nigeria will be well again.”

Also contributing, the Chief Executive Officer of Augusto and Co Limited, Vivian Shobo, noted that a lot of regulatory policies are deterring investment in Nigeria.

“Our debt level is not sustainable. We need infrastructure; we must attract Foreign Direct Investment. We must encourage local participation in the stock market. We must create export incentives to encourage entrepreneur in the non-oil export sector,” She added.

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Arnold EkpeEcobank

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