Muda Yusuf, director general of one of Nigeria’s leading organized private sector groups, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), on Thursday said the country must prioritise the pursuit of investment in its policies in order to achieve meaning economic growth and tackle the scourge of unemployment.
He also said the country should promote all-inclusive growth as a way of setting the country on the path of economic development.
According to Yusuf, economic policies in the country, be it monetary, fiscal, trade, among others can be said to be ineffective and counter productive as they stifle investment opportunities from within the country.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in December estimated that over 21 million employable Nigerians are jobless as at the third quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate rose by about 3 percent to 23 percent the statistics office had said.
“It is from investment you can create jobs, grow the revenue of government, reduce poverty and create inclusive growth,” he said, stressing the disadvantage of the country remaining largely dependent on oil as it’s major source of revenue.
Yusuf, who spoke on Nigeria’s macro economic outlook for 2019 as guest speaker at the 10th edition of business a.m. GTI Finance and Investment Dialogue (FID) held in Lagos Central Business District, also pointed out how a slowdown in global growth forecast is particularly unfavorable for the Nigerian economic revenue scenario.
A slowdown forecast in global growth means reduction in productive activities and a consequent reduction in the demand of commodities especially crude-oil, because “there is a connection between level of economic activities and demand for energy” he explained. Hence the need to implement long lasting solutions that can stem the tide of lower revenue generation as a result of developments occurring across the world.
Yusuf, however, advised that to boost the real economy of the country, a credit regime that can support investment must be created.
He acknowledged that while the country’s monetary policy such as interest rates may be seen as favourable to the financial markets in driving foreign portfolio Investments, such rates were at the detriment of growing domestic investment in core areas of the economy sch as construction, transportation, and other sectors of the real economy which drives economic development.
“It’s a choice of whether to use interest rates to support foreign Invest or to grow domestic investment. These are the nature of economic policies, but what is important is to take the balance of the benefits and demerits of the policy,” Yusuf explained.