NECA, NUPENG task government on economic revival
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG), have express concern over current state of the economy.
The associations specifically applauded the Federal Government’s courage in embracing the policy of deregulation of petroleum products, renewed interest in revamping the rail system, guided liberalisation of the foreign exchange market, etc. which, in due time, would impact positively on the economy both in the short and long term. It therefore pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with the government.
Speaking recently in Lagos, the Director General of NECA, Olusegun Oshinowo, however noted that: “much still needed to be done to rescue the economy from the doldrums in view of the damning effect of the recessed economy” These include declined capacity utilisation, closure of businesses, high unemployment, unfair competition from smuggled products, import restrictions, trade credit evaporation (S&P, Moody and Fitch cuts Nigeria’s ratings/outlook to negative, rating remains at B+), shrinking supplier credit and bills for collection, cold feet by export credit agencies to grant more credit.
He said to promote and recover the economy back on track; government must first accept the basic principle and imperative of prudent spending as a way out of recession. Such spending should target key social and physical infrastructural development; the settlement of the huge domestic debt and institution of an outcome -based and cash- backed budgetary system for the MDAs.”
He further stressed the need for government to complement its monetary policy with appropriate fiscal policy such as the abrogation of arbitrary tax waivers/exemptions, deliberate increase of fiscal savings into the Sovereign Wealth Fund, improved tax collection with emphasis on widening the tax net as against introduction of new taxes or increase in VAT.
He added that these could further reduce disposable income, slow down growth and lead to disincentive for investment.
Oshinowo urged government to consider a resort to private capital mechanisms across sectors such as power, oil and gas, transport and other critical infrastructure to bridge the fiscal gap.
He advised government on the need to “give practical effect to the campaign on patronage of ‘Made in Nigeria’ products through coordinated efforts on local content development and leadership-by-example by ensuring that the MDAs and all other arms of government patronise only Made in Nigeria goods,” He enthused further that; “since all hands must be on deck to make a success of the resuscitation of the economy, there is the need for constructive and regular dialogue by government with representative organisations of the private sector (NECA, MAN, NACCIMA, NASME and NASSI) rather than individual Businessmen who, unfortunately, do not represent the collective interest of the private sector but individual businesses,”
Also speaking the president of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, said the Buhari administration is yet to fully tackle the economic challenges facing the country, which has led to the weak state of the naira, growing inflation, rise in the cost of prices of goods and essential services, unemployment and growing incidences of crime rate in the country.
He said the current sufferings of the masses, which the government recently acknowledged should be uppermost in the administration and tackled.
Achese also called for the declaration of a state of emergency on the economy with a view to urgently addressing the issues and also to involve other stakeholders into the Economic Team headed by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to chart a way forward.