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Nigeria needs honest leadership to solve economic crisis, says CIBN chief

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar
09 February 2022   |   3:58 am
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong, has said Nigeria needs honest leadership with focus on practical implementation of policies to get out of present economic quagmire.

Asuquo Ekpenyong

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong, has said Nigeria needs honest leadership with focus on practical implementation of policies to get out of present economic quagmire.

Ekpenyong, who is the chief executive officer of Dandy Group, in an interview with The Guardian in Calabar, said the Federal Government should support its call on citizens to consume what is produced in Nigeria with commitment.

“The policy should go beyond lip service. Government functionaries should be seen consuming and patronising made in Nigeria.”

“The challenge to address the economic problems rests on having an honest leadership that can communicate the policies of the government in pragmatic ways to citizens,” he said.

Ekpenyong commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its efforts at tackling the country’s economic challenges, insisting that only an increase in local production could ease pressure on the nation’s currency.

“People go out and buy those things that are banned; they find a way to bring them into the country and once they succeed, they sell them at a high price and make high profit. As soon as they do that, they will want to go back and continue to make their profit to the detriment of the nation’s economy.

“They will get the dollar at a price that is higher than normal. If a dollar is for example N500 pay dollar, they are ready to pay N550 a dollar, knowing the profit they make in the foreign goods they bring in.”

He described the situation as huge challenge but said an honest government could turn the economy around, describing the challenges as systemic and endemic.

“Take the instance of subsidy removal; everyone seems to agree that it is necessary to do that but endemic challenges will rear its head and the government will shy away from doing what is right because they don’t want to be unpopular.

“They can’t implement a policy because they don’t want to be unpopular. They rather postponed the implementation to the next 18 months for the next government to carry out. The fact is the same challenge will still show up and government will only have to take the bull by the horn.”

He said challenges could be handled through training, workshops and seminars to explain and educate different sectors, including labour, the media, and a couple of others about the policy to be implemented.