100 Days: Experts seek solutions to reposition economy for trade, investment

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By Adebola Adegoke

Economic experts have urged the Federal Government to take measures to revitalise the economy.

 

The experts who spoke during a webinar on Saturday said the government to evolve policies to urgently stabilise the exchange rate, attract foreign direct investments (FDIs), increase oil production and enhance power supply.

 

The experts said these recommendations were pertinent to managing the repercussions of various economic events that unfolded during the first 100 days of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

 

The webinar was organised by Nairametrics with the theme: “Economic Recap of the Current Administration’s First 100 Days.”

 

Mr Ugo Obi-Chukwu, the Founder of Nairametrics, identified some of these repercussions, including a surge in fuel and diesel prices, a parallel market exchange rate decline of 24.5 per cent within three months, a decrease in foreign exchange reserves from 35 billion dollars to 33 billion dollars in May.

 

Others, he listed, included a rise in public debt to 87.3 trillion, an inflation rate of 25.8 percent, and consequently, an elevated cost of living, among other issues.

 

He recommended that action points for the next 100 days should include initiating civil service reforms, addressing significant fiscal imbalances, curbing crude oil theft, promoting intra-African trade, and clearing foreign exchange backlogs.

 

Mr Chika Mbonu, a business analyst on Arise News, said it was important for the government to find ways to expand revenue and reduce expenditure to improve public debt financing.

 

He, however, lauded the removal of fuel subsidy which he noted, could be channeled to other sectors and put back into public finance.

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“The previous administration had always said that our problem is not debt but revenue. This is not the case because we cannot isolate them as they both go in tandem.

 

“Ghana has been declared bankrupt and if we are not careful, bankruptcy is not far from us.

 

“It is important for the government to understand the key challenges we face on how to expand revenues and reduce expenditure.

 

“This current administration is working on an inherited budget but they must now develop new initiatives on how to drive revenue,” he said.

 

He added that oil had been the country’s major source of revenue and foreign exchange for decades, “despite all the development plans that have emphasised diversification to non-oil exports.

 

“Since we are still leveraging oil, I expect the government to do something drastic about increasing the level of our oil production to recover our revenue and foreign exchange earnings.”

 

Mbonu also called on the government to remove impediments that limited manufacturing and production capacity such as power, security, transport, and multiple taxes to boost trade and investment.

 

On attracting FDI, Mr Zeal Akaraiwe, Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Blaque Advisory, said the government should implement policies to build confidence with investors and improve foreign exchange earnings.

 

“Investment in general will be directly correlated to confidence in the economy that is driven by policy.

 

“Any investor wants to get his money back and when they can’t get their money, confidence begins to deplete, inflows from investors start to diminish and the value of the currency starts to depreciate.

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“The currency value is also significantly tied to the net flows through the economy.

 

“The importance of FDI is not just the foreign exchange it brings, but also the infrastructural investment into the economy, employment, and creation of value.

 

“We need to pay more attention to the policies that drive net flows through the economy to restore the lost confidence, create a transparent system to eradicate the backlog of foreign exchange debt,” he said.

 

On her part, Mrs Nabilat Mohammed, a Research Analyst at Chapel Hill Denham, said more needed to be done to address the country’s infrastructural deficit and power supply for businesses to thrive and drive economic growth.

 

She further underscored the need to foster an enabling environment for the youth, who constitute the majority of the country’s population.

 

According to her, the true potential of our population lies within the youth demographic, and significant opportunities await if they are guided onto the right path by providing an environment conducive to the utilisation of their skills.

 

Mr Kalu Aja, a Financial Analyst, urged the government to increase its investments in human capital development, particularly through access to quality and affordable education.

 

Additionally, he highlighted the untapped potential of the tourism sector, emphasising the need to package various cultural events, including festivals, music, and entertainment to encourage FDI and boost remittances.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Salif Atojoko

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