Experts list ways to return of confidence in economy
Experts in the nation’s financial services sector and economy have said the way forward is to rebuild the lost confidence in both foreign and local investors.
The country, which saw its economic fortunes nosedive from marginal to significant losses in nearly 27 months ago, resulting in plunge into recession, has lost huge foreign investments, with local ones also redirecting their portfolios outside its shores.
But an Executive Director at Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman, said both government and local investors has a lot to do in efforts to reclaim the lost confidence in the economy.
According to him, while advocating for foreign investments and the need for those in Diaspora to remit investible foreign exchange, “everyone at home should tell a national story of the country in words and action.
“This is lacking, but we must craft one today, with the principal actors telling the same story across board. Today, the ministers are telling excellent stories, but are not coherent and tide together to a national single destination. This must be reversed.
“The most important investors we have ignored are Nigerians, who have the option of remaining in the country, but are going in the opposite direction. So other classes of investors are going to watch first to see the other directions that Nigerians are going. By implications, it means that there is no chance, so they will follow too.
“While we focus on huge Diaspora remittances that we have not been getting and foreign investments that we are losing, we have lost sight of the huge amount that local investors are taking outside too. We must give local investors the confidence to remain in the country,” he said.
Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, said the way to rebuilding the lost confidence rests majorly on the leadership, warning that there must be a clear direction and responsiveness to signals, as a foil to deteriorating developments.
For the Chief Executive Officer of Economic Associates, Dr. Ayo Teriba, Nigeria must now broaden its foreign exchange earnings’ base, not only on oil and foreign investments, particularly portfolio investors.
“We must learn from India that records world largest remittances from the Diaspora, which are directly invested on its multi-year bonds, thus providing the needed foreign exchange. We must broaden the focus with confidence building policies to attract our Diasporans,” he said.
The Emir of Kano and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, His Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, while admitting that the economy is in difficult situation, said it is not impossible to come out better, but only requires “intelligent decisions.”
“It is the inflow of dollars into the economy that would move the naira towards its fair value and for it to get to where you want it to be. It is not by fiat. The market does not accept orders. You don’t sit down and say where you want the naira to be. It would never happen because it has never happened.
“The good news is that in the last two three months, there have been a learning process and there have been a retracing of steps. What we need to do is to understand what exactly is the macroeconomic framework within which to operate and what we seek to achieve as a nation.
“We need to encourage the central bank to have the courage to take that risk of implementing that document of actually going into that flexible exchange rate.
Access Bank’s Executive Director, Victor Etuokwu, recommended a clear understanding of the country’s challenges by the policy makers and avoid unclear postures that may create doubt in the mind of foreign investors and the Diasporans.
“We must exhibit policy coherence, especially now that recession and inflation is attacking the economy at the same time. This needs a balanced approach. Investors need policy framework that is crafted by the understanding of the matters. This is one area we are falling short,” he said.