‘Infrastructure growth, others can unlock nation’s economic potential’
For the economy to sustain the momentum of recovery, there is the need for government to focus more on policies that would unlock rapid development in infrastructure and adopt an appropriate regulatory framework to restore the nation’s competitiveness and attract new businesses into the country.
According to experts who spoke in an interview with The Guardian, the nation’s low FDI pull is primarily due to the deplorable state of nation’s infrastructure and other impediments threatening the ease of doing business in Nigeria such as unfavorable reforms, regulations among others.
They expressed worry on the impact of slow economic growth on various sectors in the last few years, noting that if government fails to tackle the issues within the shortest period of time, Nigeria may experience another recession while the proportion of Nigeria living in poverty may continue to increase.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Laure Beaufils said Nigeria needs more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to restore growth. According to her, to attract huge investment into the country, Nigeria needed to develop in infrastructure and adopt right regulatory framework, policies and institutions to encourage continuity and attract new businesses.
“Diversification is clearly important for the economy and investment is really critical, we know that growth has been on the back of oil and population growth but now we need to secure those investments and for there to be investments, we need improvements that businesses can see and feel at the operational level on the ease of doing business on the cost of doing business and that requires investment in infrastructure and government is working on that but the next step is to see that in practice.
“We also need investment in infrastructure, we must continue to ease the difficulties of doing business here we have to think about what other priorities are in ensuring competitiveness, I think competitiveness got to be at the heart of a genuine private sector led growth, we need a private sector to be able to compete and to sell its products in free market to enable poor people to benefit from the growth and enable genuine growth for the private sector.”
The Managing Director of InvestData Limited, Gabriel Omodion argued that economic growth is the panacea to most Nigeria’s challenges, noting that government must be strategic, if it wants to fast track the nation’s economic growth.
He identified infrastructure, financial environment, ease of doing business as major nation’s socio-economic challenges, while lamenting that policy context in Nigeria has been designed to create market uncertainties.
“Because government have failed to invest in infrastructure to revive ailing manufacturing industries and grow the SME, there is virtually no activity in the economy.
“Huge investment in infrastructure would impact on virtually all the sectors and spur activities in the economy. The growth seen so far is only on the investment side; prices of goods and services are still up. Government has failed to implement their fiscal policies. They have not done the needful. If care is not taken, we will go back to recession.
The Chief Executive Officer of Highcap Securities, Imafidon Adonri said: “Government must sustain the growth of the economy to make sure that the economy is growing steadily as the population is growing, secondly, the country needs to still battle inflation from the monetary point of view and from the fiscal measure.
“But the inflation means that the supply side of economy needs to be adequately taken care of so that more supply comes into the economy to close the gap between supply and demand and attracting more supply means that government must address all impediments to doing business especially infrastructure and that is what will bring down inflation.”
Managing Director of Honeywell flourmills, Olanrewaju Jaiyeola pointed out that major investment in infrastructure are needed to match with government plans on ease e of doing business
Furthermore, he noted that strong manufacturing base would strengthen local trade and create more jobs while exports from Nigeria would continue grow in volume and value.
“Government should continue to give us policies that would help improve productivity. Government should continue to focus on those factors that empowered manufacturers to thrive in Nigeria and one of them is access to foreign exchange and as long as manufacturers especially those dependent on foreign exchange have access to it, capacity utilization will increase, export will increase and there will be a remarkable contribution to GDP.”
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