Diversify economy to boost GDP, say stakeholders
Stakeholders in the financial industry have stressed the need for government at all levels to urgently create enabling environment that would favour economic diversification with less emphasis is made on mono-economy system, in order to increase its GDP and revenue for sustainable development.
This formed the highlight of the one-day investors’ forum of the Association of Investment Advisers and Portfolio Managers held in Lagos at the weekend.
The stakeholders argued that there exists a positive relationship between economic growth in Nigeria and diversification of other sectors of the economy, adding that if proper management of human resources were pursued, with huge investment made on agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, the nation’s economy would become more vibrant, especially in the areas of job creation Speaking on the theme: “Revenue Diversification-The Bedrock of Sustainable Economic Development, the Chairman, Lead Capital Group, Abimbola Olashore explained that the perennial crash of crude oil prices and the exposure of the Nigerian economy to financial crisis have pushed stakeholders and policy makers’ attention to non-oil revenue generation.
According to him, for the country to emerge as one of the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020 would be driven by a robust manufacturing industry; self-sufficiency in agriculture for food and processing so that excess yields could tap export markets.
This, he explained must be followed with a world-class service sector to serve domestic industries, global outsourcing and export markets, and commercial access to wider range of mineral deposits that exist on every ‘nook and cranny’ of our country.
Olashore pointed out that various less developed countries have engaged in varieties of strategies and initiatives in order to develop their economies and achieve sustainable growth.
He cited Malaysia, South Africa among others, noting that these countries have successful attracted huge investments into their various countries.
He identified a significant bottleneck for economic development in Nigeria to poor physical infrastructure, noting that essential services such as electric power, water, roads, railways, ports, and communications have been neglected over the years especially in the rural areas.
He urged government to discourage situations where implementation of agricultural projects is hijacked against the genuine farmers by creating unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks.
Instead, he advised them to make agriculture attractive by creating policies that will favor subsidy for agriculture by granting incentives to farmers and subsidizing their produce.
Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic Nominees Limited, Akeem Oyewale explained that Nigeria ranks among the most richly endowed nations of the world in terms of natural, mineral and human resources, some of which have not yet been effectively tapped.
Oyewale argued that apart from the progressive decline in agricultural sector, human resources management has also suffered from years of neglect as a result of the over dependent on oil in Nigeria.
He also urged government to initiate policies that would encourage infrastructure development, adding that it would go a long way to boost the economy.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke argued that government has introduced many initiatives that would help develop other sectors of the economy but lack the ‘political will’ to push it to reality. “Our country has taken a number of steps in this regard but lack the political will to push it to the end. To understand that 70 per cent of revenue comes from oil what is happening to other sectors,” he said. “We must improve taxation collection. We need to attract taxation income and government should avoid excessive control of taxation and other business that belongs to the private sector.” He added