‘Rapid infrastructure development, conducive environment key to sustainable recovery’
Experts have listed infrastructure development and the promotion of ease of doing business as panacea to many of Nigeria’s challenges.
They urged the government to focus more on policies that would unlock rapid development and sustain the current momentum of recovery in the economy.
The experts who spoke in a chat with The Guardian on how to sustain current growth trajectory in Nigeria, categorically stated that aside revving up efforts to achieve significant improvement in the security situation across the country, there is need for Nigeria to accelerate investment in infrastructure, adopt right regulatory framework and policies that would promote ease of doing business as well as attract new businesses.
Nigeria’s economy posted a 5.01 per cent year-on-year growth in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021 from the miserly performance of last year, the highest since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power.
The stakeholders expressed worry on the impact of slow economic growth on various sectors in the last few years, noting that if the government fails to tackle the issues within the shortest period of time, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty may continue to increase.
According to them, the nation’s low FDI pull is primarily due to the deplorable state of the nation’s infrastructure and other impediments threatening the ease of doing business in Nigeria, such as unfavorable reforms and regulations among others.
Specifically, the Managing Director of InvestData Limited, Gabriel Omordion argued that economic growth is the panacea to most of Nigeria’s challenges, noting that the government must be strategic if it wants to fast-track the nation’s economic growth.
He identified parlous infrastructure and impediments in ease of doing business as major socio-economic challenges, while lamenting that policy context in Nigeria has been designed to create market uncertainties.
“Because government has failed to invest in infrastructure to revive ailing manufacturing industries and grow the SMEs, there is virtually no activity in the economy over the year.
“Huge investment in infrastructure would impact virtually all the sectors and spur activities in the economy. The growth seen so far is only on the investment side; prices of goods and services are still up. Government has failed to implement their fiscal policies. They have not done the needful”, Omordion added.
An independent investor, Amaechi Egbo said Nigeria needs improvements that business managers can see and feel at the operational level and on the cost of doing business.
He pointed out that there is a need for Nigeria to continue to ease the difficulties of doing business as well as eliminate other obstacles to enhance competitiveness, noting that major investments in infrastructure are needed to match with government plans on ease of doing business.
He suggested that the funding structure for various infrastructure projects would require that the government taps into private capital to fund the projects.
“Competitiveness should be at the heart of a genuine private sector led growth, we need the private sector to be able to compete favourably in the global market.
Vice President of Highcap Securities, Imafidon Adonri said the government must sustain economic growth to ensure that the level of growth is in tandem with the population.
“Secondly, the country needs to still battle inflation from the monetary point of view and from the fiscal measure. Inflation means that the supply side of the economy needs to be adequately taken care of so that more supply comes into the economy to close the gap between supply and demand and attracting more supply means that government must address all impediments to doing business especially infrastructure and that is what will bring down inflation”, he added.