Tackle infrastructure, raise confidence to grow economy, experts urge govt
Panelists at Nairametrics webinar to review the economic impact of the current administration’s first 100 days in office have unanimously pointed at the need for the government to focus on infrastructure if it hopes to pull the country out of the current crisis.
The panelists who believed that 100 days is just too short a time to make any meaningful impact, agreed that some positive steps have been taken so far.
Nabilat Mohammed, an analyst with Chapel Hill, said Nigeria is suffering because the infrastructure needed to drive the economy is poor. She said: “Nigerian businesses are spending so much to provide the infrastructure that government should have provided. The money they would have put into production is spent providing power, maintaining their vehicles because of bad roads.”
She suggested that state governments be made to maintain the infrastructure in their domains. On his part, Chika Mbaonu, a business analyst with Arise TV said Nigeria needs to work on its power and transportation if it hopes to improve its trade.
“We also need to work on our security. It is good to go to China or India, but let us get our home front right first.” Speaking on the unification of the foreign exchange, Zeal Akariwe said Nigeria’s foreign exchange has been poorly managed since 2015. He said investment is positively correlated with two factors, confidence in the economy which is driven by policy and liquidity.
“If I bring money to the economy the question any investor will ask is can I get my money back? if the answer is no, confidence will begin to deplete and investors will begin to hold back,” he said. He said FDI is not just important because of the foreign exchange it brings in, but also the infrastructure it builds, the employment it creates and the value it adds.
“To attract investment we need to restore the lost conference. We have a backlog of foreign exchange that has not been met, we have obligations through letters of credit that have not been met, you cannot restore confidence with people you owe while you are still owing them money,” he said.
“We have to create a transparent system that shows them how we plan to eradicate the entire backlog over some time and stick to it.” On the cost of living, Mbaonu said: “I would have thought that companies that have staff busses would have been assisted to get more staff buses so that employees who were using public transport can start using staff buses, states should have bought busses for their civil servants so that that cost will go.
“I am not elated about the palliatives because the money was not channelled properly. There are better ways of channelling the money and it will be impactful in the lives of the people to reduce their cost of living.”
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