Why Nigeria’s Economy May Continue in Bad Shape – Experts

The consensus by prominent corporate finance experts and economic development specialists who were panellists on the popular current affairs programme, BOILING POINT ARENA, is that incessant monetary policy changes by the Federal Government that do not factor in local production will only continue to worsen Nigeria’s economy.

Painting a grim picture of likely negative consequences of recent policy changes devolving from subsidy removal and unification of the foreign exchange market, the experts warned that the economy might collapse, unless desperate efforts were made to intentionally increase local production with more exports.

The panelists, who included Dr Biodun Adedipe, Mr Kehinde Sogunle and Mr Paul Alaje took turns canvassing their submissions in the 2-hour online discourse which took place via Google Meet and transmitted live by an Abeokuta-based radio station, Sweet 107.1FM.

The topic of discourse was: The Current State of Nigeria’s Economy: Can Nigerians Breathe and Survive?”.

Speaking on how Nigeria got into the present economic state, an economist, Mr Paul Alaje noted that the successive economic policies of various governments over the past years were what brought the country to its current economic downturn.

Alaje said: “Nigerians are being punished for our economic sins. We got here because of wrong choices, we got to this point because many of our people are not asking questions and are thinking that things will soon get better.

“We need to make correct economic decisions for us to be forgiven”. Nigeria should make a policy that some of the things we are importing we should be producing. We have to multiply our export. There is no two-way to it.

“What Nigeria needs is a structural solution, not a financial solution. These policies should go beyond monetary. Our economic decisions are not just not right, making policies that further devalue our naira and the so-called Unification.”

Another speaker, Mr Kehinde Sogunle, erstwhile Finance Commissioner in Ogun State submitted that Nigerians must study community economics which meant engaging in government to create strategies for penetrating the international market.

He noted: “The logic is that unless we approach the fundamental which is increasing our local production and creating trade balance, all this monetary approach will not work.

“All that government is doing now is playing a global economic game which we can’t play with them. It will always fail. Price is a function of demand and supply.

“First of all, we need to moderate our tastes as Nigerians. No local tastes anymore but everything is foreign and all these are putting a lot of pressure on our taste. Unless we can change our style of consumption. Food is number one. clothing is number two. If you check what people are wearing and eating. You will be alarmed.”

Speaking on the way out, Sogunle noted that what had further compounded our problem as a nation was the absence of think-thanks which should do convergence, giving the realities and forging directions.

On his part, Dr Adedipe, an investment banker and financial consultant, while aligning with Mr Sogunle, posited that the different communities and local government areas would need to have policy anchors they would be noted for.

“We will need to have policy anchors and build different economic clusters in different communities and thereby creating jobs. Each community or local government must have something they are adding economically. This is what will aggregate to the state and the country at large”, he argued.

Dr Adedipe also called for a global strategy that will factor Nigeria into competing in the areas of comparative advantage based on the peculiar natural endowments in the country.

The interview discourse was chaired by a traditional ruler, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Prof Saka Matemilola, who enjoined eminent financial experts to pool their ideas together and collectively suggest to the government sound economic policies capable of bringing Nigeria out of the woods.

Speaking while delivering a vote of thanks, the Initiator and convener of BOILING POINT ARENA, Mr Ayo Arowojolu, a seasoned media professional, emphasized that the task of revamping the country’s economy was a task for all and should not be left alone to the government.