Experts harp on policy implementation at ‘Bullion’ lecture
List strategies for economic recovery
For the umpteenth time, the need to effectively implement policies, rather than producing newer versions that would be business as usual, has been canvassed.
At the 2017 Bullion Lecture titled: “Financing Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth” in Lagos on Tuesday, policymakers, financial experts, and a diplomat insisted that commitment to collective will is the way forward.
The Guest lecturer and Professor of Development Economics, Olu Ajakaiye, said inconclusive attempts by successive leaders in the country have been the bane of good policy initiatives, citing the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy.
Again, the don identified the challenge of lack of policy thrust, which now puts government’s agencies in different directions without a definite unified destination, as a setback.
While lauding the new economic policy, he expressed concerns that some sections appeared ambitious, with recurring deficit and debt plans that are capable of crowding out private sector growth, as well as returning the country to debt era.
He therefore, canvassed a well thought-out tax strategy, not for rate hike, but in blocking leakages, addressing causes of avoidance, the abuse of concessions and waivers as well as preventing illicit financial flows.
According to him, Nigeria needs a viable Diaspora policy that would draw citizens to the country’s development initiatives and investments, while charges on investments would also need to be reconsidered.
He explained that for transparency purposes and guarantee to investments, government should consider issuing bonds that are tied to specific projects market them among Nigerians in Diaspora.
Earlier, the Centre for Financial Journalism, which organised the event, had noted that the forum offered the opportunity for intellectual discourse, and a critical review of issues of national interest and proffer solutions for the benefit of all.
It’s Chairman, Ernest Ebi, represented by Dr. Oladimaeji Alo, said the centre believes that knowledge is as valuable as gold, which informed the lecture series being christened “The Bullion”.
“When we launched it last year, we had the honour of hosting Prof. Akpan Ekpo. Here, he told us that the economy was already in recession, but it took government and its development partners months more to appreciate the fact that the country was really in recession.
“In the last one year, government has worked tirelessly to get the country out of the recession,” he said, noting that efforts have been directed at diversifying the economy, creating jobs and improving the quality of life.
However, despite these efforts, he said the challenges have remain how to finance the much needed recovery growth plan given the declining revenue of the country, hence another need for intellectual discourse.
But the Ambassador of Rwanda to Nigeria, Stanislas Kamanzi, said his country stood for major economic decisions, financial system developments and profitable investments that directly impacted on citizens’ wellbeing.
“In the past decade, Rwanda has been able to move majority of its people across the poverty line with redistribution of strategic investments and raising the capacity of its citizens to solve their problems without necessarily relying on government,” he said.
Unlike Nigeria, where microfinance model have failed to live up to its expectations, the country, according to him, has thrived with the financial model targeted at the vulnerable people, which now formed the backbone of the present economy.
According to him, the country’s national orientation changed from individual aspiration to collective one, where conscious efforts evolved overtime to help them move ahead of the troubles of genocide.
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