June 07, 2021 / 4:50 PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: Tope Fasua
Nigeria has come to the critical point where it has to lay a solid foundation to become a productive, sustainable and globally competitive economy. Mr. Tope Fasua, an economist and public policy expert said this during a discussion on H2, 2021 public policy, growth and economic development in Nigeria.
He believed that despite interventionist policies like the "Economic Sustainability Plan", the country had come to the point of a need to drive radical economic strategies that could unlock growth. Fasua said the current "Externalization" of the nation's economic structure was no longer sustainable and required a design that supports productivity.
He was of the view that it was time for Nigerian to adopt full economic diversification that entails self-sufficiency in the production of what could be described as "public goods", that could grow the nation's earning capacity. According to him Nigeria cannot claim to be operating a diversified economy when it is still importing basic needs like food items, pharmaceutical products, petroleum products and tech products amongst others.
The economist decried the fact that Nigeria's major export even after 60 years of independence was crude oil, stressing the need for the nation to address its import-dependency.
In the area of economic policy he called for a report card and update on the progress made in the implementation of the ESP by the Federal Government.
In Fasua's opinion the "Economic Sustainability Plan" chaired by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, had ambitious projects and programmes which have not been felt by the citizens, which he says raises the need for a periodic review of the plan.
He advised the federal government to go beyond emergency initiatives to design 4 to 5 year plans that would enable significant socio-economic impact in key sectors like Agriculture, Technology, Construction, Energy (Renewable) and strengthening the Local Content policies.
Speaking on the need for policy alignment between the fiscal and monetary authorities, Fasua suggested that the right approach could see the fiscal authorities increasing investments in infrastructure while the monetary authorities concentrate on reducing interest rates to support growth.
Looking at the second half of the year 2021 and the hard choices Nigeria must make to navigate the socio-economic challenges, the economist supported the removal of petroleum subsidy and the deregulation of the sector.
Also giving his views on the upward adjustment of electricity tariffs in the country, he stressed the need for redefining the energy space from the generation to distribution segment.
He called for concerted efforts to deepen the utilization of renewable energy (solar, biomass, wind, hydro) and improved off-grid solutions to power the rural communities at an affordable rate.
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