Economist charges Buhari on economic plan
A renowned economist and Director-General of West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Professor Akpan Hogan Ekpo, has charged the President Muhammadu Buhari led government on economic blue-print that will bring Nigeria out of the woods.
Speaking at the inaugural lecture, organised by Centre for Financial Journalism (CFJ), in Lagos, Ekpo, a formal Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, noted that the economy is in distress and recession. He flays the fact that there is no economic blue-print apart from party manifesto and other pronouncements by the government.
The economist, who spoke on the topic: “The Nigerian Economy in Distress: Policy Choices for Buhari’s Administration,” indicated that Buhari has several polices options both in the short and medium terms.
According to him, the regime of President Buhari has been in office for almost 10 months and Nigerians are becoming restive not only on which direction the economy is moving but also on whether change is actually taking place.
He pointed out that most of the macroeconomic fundamentals of the previous administration have not changed particularly after 10 months of new regime.
“Even the 2016 budget of President Buhari is surrounded with controversies; oil prices have dropped sharply thus affecting government revenue; the declines in the foreign reserves and massive depreciation of the local currency have resulted in unorthodox monetary and exchange rate policies by apex bank.
“Some of these issues have reawakened stakeholders in the Nigerian project to debate the policy options for Buharis administration. What is the economic blue-print of the Buhari’s administration? Can Nigerian economy be structurally transformed within the next four years? It is important to indicate that the global economic environment is not favourable,” he stated.
He pointed out that growth has slowed in the advance economies and the Chinese economy is also experiencing slow growth, but stressed that the downward trend of commodity prices suggests that countries like Nigeria must look for domestics resources to finance development.
According to him, investment in power, particularly would enhance growth and generate employment opportunities. These, according to him would result in the establishment of new micro and small-scale business industries as well as sustaining existing ones.
He also said that the release of funds for infrastructure in the 2016 budget would enhance liquidity in the system.
He disclosed that the 2016 budget estimates will provide recruitment of 500, 000 teachers and the visible hand of government must recruit persons into all the security agencies such as the police, army, air force, navy, immigration and customs.