Monday, November 23, 2020 / 12:03 PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: Twitter; @officialNESG
With the recent report that Nigeria's economy slipped into a recession for the second time in four (4) years the quest for achieving a pathway to recovery was the focal point of discussions at a panel session at the 26th Nigeria Economic Summit. The panel session drew from the central theme of the conference "Building Partnerships for Resilience" and explored the topic "The Path to Recovery" with Dr (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed, Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Senior Economic Advisor, The Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative(AEDPI), Dr. Doyin Salami, Chairman Presidential Economic Advisory Council and Mr. Ari Aisen, resident representative for Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund(IMF) as discussants.
Moderating the session Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi, a financial analyst and Chairman of Proshare Nigeria, in setting the context for the discourse believed that a clear picture of the future for Nigeria was critical for investments, engaging citizens and propelling growth for the economy.
Dr. Doyin Salami, the Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) stressed the reality that Nigeria has come to the point where it must witness meaningful recovery from the recession.
For him a lot hinges on the confidence in policymaking that can woo investments into the economy, stating that creating an enabling environment was very vital for the nation.
The economist said without macro-economic stability Nigeria will not achieve improved growth, characterized by productivity and growth in output.
Giving her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr.(Mrs) Zainab Ahmed, highlighted some of the policies the government had undertaken to improve the welfare of citizens, which include; The Anchor Borrowers Programme (Geared towards boosting agro-productivity and food security), Tax Credit Scheme (Partnership with the Private Sector to Improve road infrastructure in the country) and Social Intervention Programme (Providing support to the poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria).
She assured Nigerians that the government would work assiduously to fast-track Nigeria's recovery from its current recession, with top priority given to the welfare of citizens and reduction in transportation cost.
Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund for Nigeria, Mr. Ari Aisen, said the recession would reveal how resilient Nigeria's economy is in handling shocks.
According to him, there was a need for a fundamental policy reset, with increased cooperation between the fiscal and monetary authorities.
The IMF representative in Nigeria also emphasized the need for the nation to increase infrastructure investments, redouble efforts in achieving exchange rate policy flexibility and the need for banks to be encouraged to continue the role of intermediation in the economy.
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Senior Economic Director, The Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative(AEDPI), advocated for deregulation of key sectors of the economy like oil & gas, aviation, the agric sector(agri-business), manufacturing & services using the revolution in the telecommunications sector as an example.
The former cabinet minister emphasized the need for Nigeria to drive a political-economic structure that would facilitate productivity and competitiveness.
"Institutions need to be strengthened in Nigeria to operate on the principles of the rule of law," Ezekwesili said.