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‘Lack of commitment to diversification affecting economic growth’

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA), has attributed the lack of buffer in the economy to successive government’s poor commitment to diversification agenda.

According to the Chamber, the country needs massive investment in agriculture, manufacturing, export, ICT and Infrastructure development as key drivers of diversification to revive the nation’s economy.
The chamber’s President, Chris Ukachukwu, said that diversification, as the only solution to the country’s current challenges had not been successfully implemented due to lack of commitment and political will by successive governments.

He said that the recent fall in oil price and the stagnancy caused by COVID-19 impact, might put the country’s economy on the edge or make it slip back into recession.

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“The time to diversify the economy is now. All the position papers, communique and polices reeled out after hugely funded workshops should be exhumed for implementation.”

“It is now imperative for the Federal Government to channel all its energy and funding in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, export, ICT and massive Infrastructure development.”

“States must be mandated to exploit commodities where they have comparative advantage. Import substitution should become a national policy and a deliberate strategy.”

“All issues relating to power transmission; GENCOS and DISCOS must be resolved expeditiously to catalyse a new wave of industrial revolution.

“That is the only viable way to commence determined steps toward economic diversification in Nigeria,” he said.

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Ukachukwu said since the recession of 2016, the country maintained an eleven-quarter steady GDP growth with the last announced status in the 4th quarter of 2019 being 2.55 per cent.

According to him, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stated that the achievement was as a result of stable oil price and production volume within those quarters.

“They posited that should the price of oil nosedive, the economy will be jolted.”

“Even, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that our economy may contract to -3.4 per cent by the end of 2020 against the 2.93 per cent projection.”

“Analysts already believe that Nigerian economy is in recession due to the stagnancy caused by COVID-19 impact.”

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“In fact, some insist that if the situation continues until the end of the year, we shall slide into depression.”

“Although, it is a global issue; the effect of lockdown and economic shutdown on third world economies and emerging markets like Nigeria will definitely have a negative multiplier impact on all aspects of life.”

“Policies and Schools of Thought have always voiced the danger associated with the mono-product economy of our country; over-dependence on oil as the main source of foreign exchange earnings.”

“We are, however, advocating an urgent diversification of the economy for absorption capacity in the event of any external shock,” Ukachukwu said.

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