Senate meets economic experts over recession
• Osinbajo, others proffer solutions
The Senate will meet resource persons and top stakeholders in economic management, today.
The meeting will examine the best approach to bringing the nation’s economy out of recession.
Briefing reporters at the National Assembly, yesterday, chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Baba Kaka Garbai, noted that the 2016/2017 legislative session would focus entirely on strategies for ending the downturn.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, will also lead a marathon debate today on the best options open to the country on its economy.
“The discussions, particularly within the next two months in the Senate, would be dominated by issues relating to the economy, especially how to rescue it from the recession,” said Garbai.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Quarterly Business Forum between private sector investors and the presidency, yesterday, said: “If we did not have vandalisation in the Niger Delta, as we are currently suffering, we will not have this recession today. Moreover, in looking at the solutions, we should try to focus on the type of problem we have and what instigated it. Then, we can begin to come up with better solutions.
A university lecturer , however, identified diversion of the economy from production to consumption as culprit behind the setback.
Also, an expert in accounting, Morenike Babington–Ashaye, urged the Federal Government to review the country’s tax laws, to overcome the recession.
Babington-Ashaye, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Accer Accounting Services, made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, yesterday.
She noted that some of the country’s tax laws had become obsolete and were no longer in consonance with current economic realities.
According to Professor Boniface Oloche, Dean, Faculty of Engineering at the University of Abuja, the 70s oil boom and unrestrained rise in international prices due to war in the Middle East brought sudden wealth. “Money was no longer our problem but how to spend it,” a development he said made the country stray from production.
He also faulted introduction of the 1978 Indigenisation Policy, blaming it for de-industrialising the country.
Delivering a keynote address at the 4th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, in Abuja, yesterday, Oloche said: “The country had pursued an import substitution strategy that allowed many multinational organisations and other foreign firms to introduce light industrial manufacturing and assembly-type manufacturing, which created employment and contributed to value creation and productive gross domestic product growth.
All of a sudden, by fiat, investors were forced to divest from businesses, in some cases up to 100 per cent, as aliens were prohibited from participating in some business segments reserved for Nigerians.
“While all these were going on, the world decided to transform into a global village, aided by the new Information and Communication Technology. The 21st-century economic imperatives of liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation combined with technology, led the world to sign the World Trade Organisation protocols, which Nigeria signed with great eagerness and enthusiasm. With that, whatever controls it had over imports into the country vanished.”