By Sunny Chuba Nwachukwu, PhD
Sunny Nwachukwu (Loyal Sigmite), PhD, a pure and applied chemist with an MBA in management, is an Onitsha based industrialist, a fellow of ICCON, and vice president, finance, Onitsha Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached on +234 803 318 2105 (text only) or email@example.com
The undesirable state of the nation’s economy is an outcome of right actions not taken with determination by the leadership of the government. This is a real source of concern for many Nigerians as the economy wobbles. Productivity essentially thrives through meaningful critical daily economic activities, but this is not observed, despite the smart and well articulated policy agenda by our technocrats within the system.
This incidence visibly manifests when the desired product of the national capital stock, with national labour force, that ought to actualise a crystallised economic efficiency, becomes elusive. It is a worrisome situation that bothers a greater number of citizens – on why the Nigerian economy is not working. This is especially true when a reflection is made of the enormous efforts and initiatives being put into drawing plans, policies and ideas for strategic programmes.
The failures and disappointments are always too much to bear for the spirited, dedicated technocrats, who patriotically toil day and night towards achieving the goals, as already designed and put down in black and white. But, all efforts are made in vain with hopes dashed because of a lacuna called ‘Political Will’, or the lack of it.
The high inflation, the crashing of the local currency and rising cost of living are not palatable. Quick intervention and transformation from the status quo, by this very government is of essence, for the citizenry to have relief and a feel of good governance. The suffering is immense. Let the people in authority grow above self, and rise to the occasion for once, by transforming the economy through the already laid out plans, policies and programmes. For it shall be well with the nation, if the underlisted, germane programmes (as already outlined in the current medium term plan) are sustainably implemented.
• Continue with prudent fiscal management, and enhanced focus on mobilization of non-oil revenues towards engendering increased spending on social-protection initiatives, reduce the dependency of the budget on domestic and external financing, and improve on debt-servicing capacity. A sustained economic recovery process would be the major requirement to consider additional revenue-enhancing measures (like the internally generated revenues).
• Fine tuning of monetary policy framework is of essence, with emphasis on price stability, to offer support to the economy as appropriate.
Harmonize the exchange rates, ensure that the eventual unified exchange rate aligns well with macro-structural fundamentals in the system.
• Continue to further accelerate the pace of economic diversification, where all the sectors of the economy become more competitive, and begin to meet domestic and regional demands for goods and services; to eventually start competing more effectively at the global market. The federal governmental agencies, the likes of NEPC and NIPC need to play a very good role in supporting the real sector to competitively access foreign markets for the locally manufactured goods and services.
• Create an enabling environment for ease of doing business that shall reduce the costs of production for the manufacturing sector, through an improved business environment; without multiple taxation. Also increase more reliable provision of infrastructure. At all tiers of government, a harmonised tax law will further boost business development by attracting more investors into the system, to take advantage of such level playing field in furtherance of their perceived available growth opportunities and low hanging fruits for more profit.
• Enhance the performance of the manufacturing sector, and strengthen its linkages to other sectors; particularly agriculture and service sectors that shall bring about increased employment, to reduce poverty. Divestment from the presently perceived status of mono-economy, demands that non-oil revenues through exports of made in Nigeria goods should be vigorously pursued because, the declining demands for fossil fuels at the global market, calls for a strategic change that assures continuous economic engagement and security, for sustainability.
• Deepen the financial sector and sustain its stability, to ensure increased credit allocations to MSMEs. This strategic step, in furtherance of a thriving and formidable economic stability, needs to be exploited in addition to other government packages that encourage innovative solutions within the economy. Strategic planning entails constant and continuous improvement through the engagement of trendy technology and creative ideas of the younger, talented entrepreneurs. They could be encouraged and empowered by the governmental agencies responsible for delivering innovative solutions, for a sustainable economic development.
All these practical steps, if well taken (with zero corrupt practices), visible manifestation of what good governance is all about, will definitely suffice in the following areas: *Build a thriving and sustainable economy; *Enlarge agriculture output for food security; *Attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; *Expand transport and other infrastructure development; *Expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation; *Improve access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity; *Enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; *Build systems to fight corruption, improve governance and create national cohesion; and *Improve security for all.
All of the above are feasible and doable, once the government implements them with determination, as enumerated, in the right direction. It is only then, that the nation shall record and experience real and great success.
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