Nigeria’s economy may hit red line, Soludo warns
Following the dwindling fortune of Nigerian economy, the former Governor of the Central Bank (CBN), Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has warned that unless the Buhari administration embarks on long-term structural economic measures to salvage the nation, the economy may hit the red line.
Soludo, who was the Guest Speaker at the 4th Progressive Governance Lecture, organised by the 23 All Progressives Congress (APC) governors in Kaduna, lamented the state of the economy, saying that Nigeria has now been listed 13th on the list of failed or fragile State under the current world economic index.“The topic that I have been assigned to speak on is Building the Economy of States, Challenge of Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Growth. At a time like this, I don’t think there is a better topic to be addressed”.
Among the audience at the gathering, were the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, the APC Governors and Deputy Governors, who also spoke on the socio-economic challenges facing the nation and steps being made to surmount the problems. “I believe that the collapse in oil prices is a blessing and an opportunity for a new beginning. And this is predicated on the fact that I believe that the trajectory that we have gone through before was not a sustainable path. And therefore, with the collapse of oil prices, it is a clarion call for us to press the reset button and start afresh on a more sustainable path,” he said.
Until the Federal Government decides to address the critical problems confronting Nigeria’s economy, Soludo said the future would be bleak.He continued: “Growth in Nigeria and the states will not be inclusive if we don’t break the dynasty of poverty and maximize the states and Nigeria’s comparative and competitive advantages.”
“Most of the APC States happen to be in the north. One fundamental fact of our economy is that there is partial and individual concentration of wealth and poverty.”
Much of the frontline states, 11 of them, are in deep poverty. That is also coincidentally the states with the highest rate of population growth.”He added that, “Those happen also to be the states where you have desertification that is encroaching massively. Productivity level of agriculture in those states is down by about 20 per cent. What is the implication of all this if we are talking about inclusive and sustainable growth?”
“The Nigerian economy faces both challenges and opportunities. The first big challenge to highlight is that Nigeria is a fragile state. Nigeria was ranked number 54 in 2005 of failing states. Look at the countries ahead of us: Somalia, South Sudan, Southern African Republic, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Chad, Congo, Afganistan, Haiti, Iraq, Guinea, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Prof Osibanjo and Kaduna State Governor, in their addresses, attributed the challenges facing Nigeria today as problems inherited from previous administrations in the country, saying that the Buhari Government will do everything in its capacity to take the nation’s economy out of the woods.