Tuesday, February 11, 2020 / 2:10 PM / Nifemi Taiyese for WebTV / Header Image Credit: Financial Nigeria
Speaking at the recent Deloitte Nigerian 2020 Economic Dialogue Forum hosted in Lagos, the Country Director for the International Finance Corporation(IFC), Ms. Eme Essien Lore gave a presentation on "Jumpstarting Inclusive Growth in Nigeria."
She noted that considering Nigeria's profile as the largest economy in Africa, faced with several socio-economic challenges, it had become necessary to drive policies that will achieve inclusive economic growth.
Lore believed that Nigeria needed a social contract that commits the government and citizens to partner and builds a great and productive nation.
In attaining this, she underscored the need to boost productivity which will accelerate growth and help create more and better jobs in the country.
She identified four policy reform areas that can lead Nigeria to the path of inclusive growth, which include;
Policy Transparency and Predictability
At the moment, Nigeria is at the lowest ranking concerning revenue as a percent of GDP, a trend which needs to be reversed.
In terms of trade policy, the IFC Country Director identified policy steps like phasing out foreign exchange restrictions and the need to address import prohibitions.
Input Quality and Availability
Looking at power and transportation infrastructure, the statistics around the cost of movement of goods within Nigeria and to other parts of the world, according to her, is very depressing. She emphasized the need for a framework that will catalyze activities in the power sector.
In the area of Human Capital, the World Bank group produced a human capital index, where it measured countries against their ability to invest in young people and what it takes for them to get to a place where they are productive adults and contribute to the economy, and Nigeria was ranked 152 of 157 countries.
She called for the implementation of a national skills development strategy that will align the supply of skills with market needs.
For trade facilitation, Lore highlighted issues of the cost at the ports and borders, as issues that should be addressed by the government.
Reduced Regulatory Discretion
In the area of reduced regulatory discretion, she called for a level playing field. Speaking further, she said the adoption of the companies and allied matters act (CAMA) digitizing regulatory processes, strengthening the capacity of competent regulatory authority are key ways to address the issue of regulatory discretions.
Access to Finance
Access to finance is a key piece of the reform puzzle for Nigeria, and this is vital for small businesses, who serve as catalysts of economic activities in the country.
The IFC Country Director stressed the need for deepening financial inclusion in the country, to reach out to millions of unbanked Nigerians through technology.
She called for the application of the guidelines for licensing of the payment services, consolidation in the microfinance sector and the enacting of the data protection bill to unlock the financial services sector to support the real sector.
Lore also highlighted the Agri-Business, Industry and Services sectors as part of the key areas that need to be leveraged to deepen the oil sector and diversify the nation's revenue base.