February NACC breakfast: Stakeholders tasks FG on pro-business policies

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Thursday, February 17 2017  6.30pm/Proshare WebTV  

Stakeholders in the Nigerian economic and financial market space, have urged the Federal Government to drive pro-business fiscal policies that could boost investor confidence and attract private capital.  

This was the outcome of the discourse at the February breakfast meeting of the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce, which discussed “Getting Nigeria out of Recession:2017 Budget and the Business Outlook”.  

In his opening remarks, the President of the Chamber Chief Olabintan Famutimi described the current recession, as the worst in 3 decades with high inflation, a 300% decline in value of the currency, high unemployment and a high interest rate regime. 

Chief Famutimi said what the business community in Nigeria expect from the government is the following; address the multiple foreign exchange rates, include private sector in the economic management team, resolve the power crisis and the infrastructure (roads, rail). 

Giving the economic outlook for 2017, Mr Bismark Rewane the CEO of Financial Derivatives asserted that the protests and demand for good governance, was a welcome development for a country that needs proactive leadership. 

He said for 2017 the oil output for Nigeria in terms of production, is likely to hit 2ml barrels per day, with the international crude oil  price hovering around $50 per barrel, which will be significant for government’s revenue. 

Rewane made a strong case for the monetary authorities in Nigeria, to float the currency the naira and dismantle the structure that preserves the “parallel market”, thereby promoting distortions and corruption. 

On Policy, Mr Rewane tasked the Federal Government to push its fiscal policies to gain investor confidence and that of the citizens in the country. The economist believed investors were seeking the predictability of the naira, which was crucial for attracting investments. 

Panelists at the NACC February, 2017 breakfast discourse Dr Andrew Nevin (Chief Economist, PWC Nigeria) and Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri (ED, Capital Markets,NSE) both agreed that the government should work assiduously to improve the “Ease of Doing Business” in the country, which will encourage private sector participation in the economy. 

Dr Nevin also supported the need for the monetary authorities to liberalize the foreign exchange market, while Mr Jalo-Waziri noted that investors have to feel protected when they invest in Nigeria. 

Mr Jalo-Waziri also decried the fact that the process of exporting goods outside Nigeria was cumbersome and should be addressed by the relevant authorities in the country.

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