Thursday, February 07, 2019 11.30AM / Bukola Akinyele
for Proshare WebTV
With less than two weeks to the 2019 Presidential elections in Nigeria, economist Dr. Abiodun Adedipe has outlined what should be the focus of the government that emerges, after the polls.
In an interview with Proshare WebTV, the CEO of Biodun Adedipe and Associates said the task for the winner of the Presidential elections, will be how to grow the economy in a sustainable manner.
He said, the real issue will be on how to grow the economy inclusively which breaks it down to the level of Small and Medium Enterprises, especially.
“What we can do there is to explore ways to intervene in that sector by effectively focusing on infrastructure, and if we want SMEs to contribute to our economic growth there has to be a form of tax incentive in order to give them more room to grow”, the economist observed.
Speaking further Adedipe noted that the next key priority should be the power sector, which will require the Federal Government revisiting its control of transmission, while the distribution and generation segments have already been privatized.
Still on Power, Adedipe reiterated the need for the metering of customers to be given top priority by the key players in the distribution segment. He was of the view that if this is not done, there will be no significant leap in the sector.
According to him, “the logic is very simple when you meter consumers that means the distribution companies will only be able to collect money for the power they actually distribute and this will naturally dampen their income, but because they are private investors they will sensibly want to increase income and that would require them looking backwards into the value chain and see what can be done in terms of what generation companies are doing to increase volume leading naturally to increased consumer distribution”
The third issue that needs to be addressed is the diversification of the country’s revenue base, which is over 90% concentrated in hydrocarbons. This is why the government has to give “Made in Nigeria” and “Make in Nigeria” a robust approach.
Adedipe noted that the Executive Order signed by Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which authorizes that 30% of the Federal Government’s budget should be spent on goods made in Nigeria, is a game changer that will create a larger market for items produced in Nigeria. This according to him will eventually lead to job creation.
The economist was worried that Nigeria spends too much on imports, a situation which has to be reversed. He emphasized the need for an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He emphasised the need for real time investment in infrastructure, where the government allows the private sector to participate through a PPP vehicle. Adedipe believes that government should focus on public-private partnerships for execution of impactful infrastructure projects. With PPPs he was of the view Nigeria can bridge the infrastructure gap very quickly.
According to him “Nigeria is still attractive to foreign investors and the evidence is not far to find when you look at the flow of capital importation, a lot of money is now going to portfolio investments where the fact that they are here is itself a signal that they still have confidence in this economy”.
The economist concluded that if the right things are done with incentives, Nigeria will see a quick economic turnaround in 2019 and beyond, with the economy growing inclusively.