Economic analysts have commended Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, for his “timely” comment on the country’s economy, saying Nigeria needed to be proactive and creative to solve its challenges.
He reportedly had warned the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government that it would end up like the Goodluck Jonathan administration if it doesn’t change some of its policies. This he said during the 15th meeting of the Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning in Kano State on Wednesday August 24,
Reacting to the Emir’s comment, It was gathered that an economic analyst and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the Federal Government and the economic management team needed a better response to challenges facing the economy.
“We need to react in a more coordinated manner. We need to respond with a cocktail of solutions,” he said.
“It took us time to open up the economy to foreign investors. By the time we did, the foreign investors had moved on. The fuel subsidy that we removed was good, but it could have come with other actions that would have helped the economy.
“We need foreign borrowing in order to bring dollar liquidity back and stabilise the market. The President will need to set up an economic think tank that will come up with a detailed approach to tackle the problems.”
The Head, Research and Investment Advisory, SCM Capital, Mr. Sewa Suwu, said the current economic management team needed to move faster than the current pace.
He said, “The economic challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria, but all commodity exporting countries. The best way out of the current challenges is to spend our way out of it.
“We have a national problem and it is a time for all economists and experts to come up with ideas that can help us to get out of the challenges as a country. We need to come together as one and tackle the situation.”
The Director General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, who noted that the government could not fix the country in one year, said, “What I will call a mistake is the delay in taking action; we call it lag structure in economics.
“For example, there was an unnecessary delay in passing the budget. There was an unnecessary delay in forming a cabinet. Those two major delays have been creating problem for the country.
“In February, some of us warned that we were on a tip of a recession with rising unemployment, rising inflation and declining productivity.
“If at that point, they had implemented the budget and released money – because you must spend out of a recession – we would have avoided the recession. A budget of 2016 was passed on May 6; even as we speak, we don’t know how far they have gone with the implementation.”
He also said there was a delay in fiscal policy.
“For a long time, monetary policy was the only thing people were talking about because we didn’t see any fiscal policy. When it started coming out, it was late.”
An expert in Financial Economics at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Leo Ukpong, said the Buhari government made a lot of mistakes in the way the government handled the foreign exchange challenge.
He said, “The foreign exchange policy could be done such that it reduces the negative economic pressure. I think when they allowed the naira to be fixed for too long, for more than a year; it destroyed our ability to shore up manufacturing capacity.”
He stated that the government had not been aggressively pursuing industrialisation and had not been seen to have come up with serious economic plan to reduce unemployment in the country.
“Right now, what we need is to create jobs and keep people employed. I have not seen any clear-cut policy in that direction,” Ukpong added.