October 19, 2020 / 8.00AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: The Guardian Nigeria
The Nigeria Economic Summit has restated its commitment to partnering with the Federal Government to steer the economy away from a prolonged recession. Chairman of the Board of the NESG, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, made this point at the press briefing ahead of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit which will take a "Hybrid" format in Abuja and Lagos.
Ighodalo was proud to mention that since the inception of the NESG in 1993, the policy think-tank has played a major part in providing the platform for sustained public and private sector engagements, and strong support in policy agenda-setting.
Reflecting on Nigeria's 60th anniversary, he noted that the journey had been arduous, sinuous and eventful, but gave the reassurance that despite the challenges Nigeria will emerge stronger together.
He said the NESG was resolute in supporting Nigeria's drive to attain regional and global competitiveness.
Speaking further on Nigeria's 'Diamond Jubilee' Ighodalo said the celebration occurred against the backdrop of a global pandemic, that has interrupted economic development and further exposed the fragilities and vulnerabilities in the structure of the economy.
According to him "This year's Summit comes at a time when we are experiencing fundamental shifts in the trajectory of our economic growth and development. According to the last GDP Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics in August of this year, our GDP in real terms declined by 6.1% (year-on-year) in Q2 2020".
Giving further insight he said this ended the 3-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/2017 recession.
"Both the oil and non-oil sectors declined significantly during the reference period. While the oil sector contracted by 6.63% (year-on-year), non-oil sectors such as Transport and Storage, Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Education, Real Estate and Trade recorded high negative growth, largely caused by the effect of the pandemic on the economy and the extra-ordinary measures undertaken to contain it. Growth in sectors such as Financial Institutions, Telecommunications and Agriculture did, fortunately, remain steady. We also noticed the emergence of new growth drivers such as Healthcare and IT" Ighodao said.
The NESG Chairman highlighted the fact that the general import of the GDP Report, is a confirmation that households and businesses in Nigeria have suffered significantly and are still suffering.
He commended the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the timely interventions in managing the pandemic and its economic fallout in the short term, while planning for recovery and growth in the medium to long term.
The NESG Chairman also commended the National Assembly and State Governments, especially our State Governors, for demonstrating leadership during the challenging period.
He added, "In addition to offering technical support in economic management, most of us will recall that the NESG and our partners Nigerian Governors Forum, Africa Initiative for Governance, Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, worked with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to launch the Nigeria COVID-19 Incidence and Response Tracker in August".
The COVID 19 Incidence and Response tracker was an addition to the support provided to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), anchored by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said as a private sector think-tank, the NESG will continue to demonstrate its firm commitment to its role as a watchdog, intervener, convener, and dialogue partner.
Citing the Tuesday, October 12th, 2020 International Monetary Fund Global Economic Outlook, he noted the revised GDP growth projections for Nigeria, which has been adjusted to -4.3% in 2020 from an earlier projection of -5.4%.
Ighodalo also highlighted the IMF's projection that Nigeria's economy would grow by 1.7% in 2021. This he said depended on if the government does the right things in a disciplined and determined manner, which will lead to faster recovery, increased job growth, improvement in the wellbeing and livelihoods of Nigerians, and attract patient capital.
He assured the Federal Government that the NESG remained committed to improving the response-readiness of the healthcare systems, cushioning the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses, averting structural unemployment (especially for our youth), ensuring free movement of goods and services across borders, strengthening the fiscal framework, unlocking supply chains as well as expanding the nation's digital infrastructure.
The Chairman said the focus at the NES #26 will be to position sub-national, states and local governments as the frontiers of national economic development and growth.
He reminded stakeholders that the Summit will also usher the Nation into the "Decade of Action" as it concerns meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
In terms of dynamism and innovation, the NESG according to him jointly hosted 13 Pre-Summit events between August and October, in preparation for the summit covering Agriculture, MSMEs, Digital Economy, Circular Economy, Blue Economy, Mining, Sports as a Business, Aviation, Domestic Gas Utilization, Healthcare as well as Water Resources.
The 26th Nigerian Economic Summit is scheduled to begin on the 26th and close on the 27th of October, 2020.