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Experts list power, government policies as obstacles to economic growth

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
13 January 2020   |   3:00 am
Professionals have attributed Nigeria’s economic downturn largely to unfavourable government policies and unreliable power supply.

Professionals have attributed Nigeria’s economic downturn largely to unfavourable government policies and unreliable power supply.

The group of professionals asserted this in a position paper at the weekend after a brainstorming session at Westbrook Hotels, Owerri, Imo State.

Media consultants, engineers, sustainability consultants, economists, entrepreneurs, cinematographers, lawyers, bankers, academia and agriculturists from The Periscope made up the group.

Dealing on the topic, ‘The Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: A Solution to Dwindling Economic Development and Job creation’, the group expressed disgust that despite the growing concerns pointed out in the past, governments had not made visible impact.

In a communiqué issued after the brainstorming session, the participants insisted that unless the issues were addressed, the country’s aspiration to greatness would remain a mirage.

Executive Director of The Periscope, Anthony Akalugo, and the group’s Director of Programmes, Viktor Iyama, jointly signed the document.

It The read in part: “A forum for the assemblage of all professionals and technocrats from all walks of life, aimed at discussing topical issues affecting the nation, the economy and humanity in general, as well as proffering solutions to same, independent of political sentiments but purely from analytical perspective was birthed.

“All Professionals After Work Hangout is, therefore, a gathering of refined minds who congregate in a relaxed mood to reason together and to cross-pollinate ideas and to effect bonding as professionals.”

The problems they observed include “unreliable public power supply, which is a major problem hindering the growth of businesses in Nigeria.”

Greed and personal aggrandisement, unfavorable government policies were also noted.

The obnoxious policies, they added, frustrated business entities leading to the relocation of companies to Ghana and other countries.

“Poor appreciation of locally-produced goods, utilisation of local content in economic projects and use of expatriates contribute mostly to the high rate of business failures,” they added.

According to the group, the failure rate of businesses in the country demoralised the business community.

“Government at all levels may provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive, create friendly policies and support the business ecosystem, but when the people’s mindset is skewed to accept shortcut, back doors, and corruption, it is going to yet tilt towards sabotage and collective retrogression, hence the need for effective reorientation process.”

“There is need for training and retraining of investors to acquire improved skillset for enhanced productivity and sustainability of business establishments, and institutional approach from the government,” they suggested.

“Nigerians have the right knowledge base, skill set and the orientation sufficient to fix the endemic problems of the country, but what is lacking is the right political will to implement right processes, institutionalise the best practices and engage the right facilitators of effective system nudge.”