Stakeholders want govt to expand nation’s processing capacity
With Agriculture, manufacturing and financial services sectors identified as those with the most opportunities for growth in the near to medium term at 13 per cent, stakeholders in the non-oil sector have challenged the Federal Government on measures to boost the nation’s processing capacity if diversification objective will be realised.
According to the stakeholders, while Nigeria’s intrinsic economic potential lies beyond oil, there is a low level of processing of raw materials experienced across the drivers of the economy.
Although the Federal Government restated its commitment towards boosting economic growth through sound and effective policies’ implementation, stakeholders believe more needs to be done.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while speaking at the LCCI-PwC roundtable discussion on the state of the Nigerian economy tagged Nigeria: Looking beyond oil, stated that the federal government are making serious strides to actualise the administration’s commitment to delivering on the “change agenda”, pointing out that the government is repositioning the economy for inclusive growth and sustainable development by getting the fundamental right through key fiscal, monetary, trade and investment policy reforms.
Osinbajo who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, said: “We are committed to diversifying the economy away from overdependence on oil and creating an enabling environment to facilitate private sector-led growth and development. We are investing in critical infrastructure, embracing and encouraging the private sector, and advocating for greater social inclusion, particularly through job creation”.
The Regional Senior Partner, West Africa, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Uyi Akpata, said the nation had the comfort at a $100 per barrel to diversify the economy, but stressed that Nigeria is now in a position to look for alternatives to economic revenue.
“It just means now that we need the goodwill of the government and the people to move to the right direction. Our report has said industry players have identified areas where can be used to help Nigeria get out of these challenging times,” he said.
He said agriculture is one of the key areas identified by the report, warning that Nigeria must not encounter the same challenge of producing and exporting crude oil in its raw form.
He said the whole value chain as it relates to processing to get the final products locally will help in terms of reducing the nation’s need for foreign exchange and obviously create job opportunities for the country’s teeming unemployed youths.
President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Nike Akande, stated that this is the time for the nation to discuss how to navigate the lingering economic challenges and proffer alternative paths towards sustainable economic growth and development.