By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos.
Emerging indicators give confidence that Nigeria will overcome the prevailing economic depression in the country in 2017.
This prediction was made by an economic analyst and social commentator, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).
The indicators include the foreign exchange policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the opening up of the petroleum industry to competition, among others, he pointed out.
To facilitate the success of the positive indicators, Agbakoba urged President Muhammad Buhari to present a bill to the National Assembly (NASS) for the devolution of powers to entrench true federalism in Nigeria.
The legal expert commended the Central Bank of Nigeria on its foreign exchange policy, describing it as potentially transformational.
“The impact of a single foreign exchange market,” Agbakoba remarked, “will have the best possible outcome for the Nigerian economy.”
He expressed hope that Nigeria will be out of depression by the first quarter of 2017, if the fiscal policy of CBN is well managed.
He stated that Nigeria has been in recession from the last quarter of 2014 up to last quarter of 2016.
“A recession is characterized as a period of negative economic growth for two successive quarters,” Agbakoba illustrated.
He noted that Nigeria has suffered five consecutive negative growths between December 2014 and December 2015.
According to him, the economy of Nigeria became worse in the first quarter of 2016 when for the first time in about thirty years the economy did not grow at all.
He declared “The Report of the National Bureau of Statistics is likely to show a further contraction of the economy in the second quarter of 2016.”
The new foreign exchange single market and the opening up of the petroleum industry to competition are omens of economic boom for Nigeria, he emphasized.
To him, government is not showing direction in relation to its economic philosophy and agenda.
Agbakoba asserted that “the petroleum and foreign exchange pronouncements are clear indications that we are a market-driven, liberalized deregulated economy
To get out of the woods, the senior advocate counselled the government of Nigeria to take the following measures.
“The first is peace and stability,” he stressed, adding that Nigeria is at ‘low grade civil war’ caused by structural defects in its federal system. He believes that enacting an Act of the National Assembly for the devolution of powers will solve this problem
Other inhibitors to be resolved include insecurity, Agbakoba recommended. The president must deal with the Biafra agitation which he described as genuine grievance.
He said the President should as well deal with exclusion felt by the people of Niger Delta whose issues are also genuine, and he must also tackle mass poverty in the North because it allows the festering of fundamentalism in that region.
Agbakoba gave kudos to the federal government on how it has dealt with Boko Haram issue.
Bad roads, broken bridges, poor supply of electricity, among others are essential infrastructures that need urgent solution in order to facilitate sound economic growth, he claimed.
Moreover, Agbakoba said that social security package in the country has become an urgently needed benefit.
“The reason Nigeria’s economy is depressed is simply because we import everything, export very little and produce nothing,” he narrated. “Import substitution turns the story around. We should only import the very essentials and produce everything else in Nigeria” he concluded.
Nigeria is set for economic boom – Agbakoba
By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos.