Experts canvass land reform diversification policy

A group of economics and political science experts have said land reformation is one of the surest way by which the Nigerian government could diversify the economy.

Making their submission in regards to the much-orchestrated economic diversification, which remains one of the focal economic policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, the experts said land reformation would not only assist in diversifying the nation’s economy but it would also enhance financial inclusion as well as financial deepening of the economy.

Speaking at a seminar titled: ‘From Bust to Boom: Fiscal, Financial and Infrastructure Options’ organised by the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) recently, the group of experts, which comprised the Presidential Economic Adviser, Dr. Yemi Dipeolu; member, Board of Economists and CEO, Economic Associates, Dr. Ayo Teriba; Faculty member, Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami; Dr Shehu Yahaya, Prof Olu Ajakaiye; Prof. Silvanus Ikhide; Dr Obadiah Mailafia; Prof. Ebere Onwudiwe and Emeritus Professor Ademola Oyejide with Prof. Akin Mabogunje as chairman and chief host, said land reform is imperative because it will make it possible for the majority of Nigerians, especially farmers to have titles on their land.

In a communiqué issued after the seminar, the dons while concluding there is urgent need for the Nigerian economy to be diversified, said such could only or effectively be achieved by utilizing the current relative improvement in the price of oil and foreign reserves, for job creation and inclusive growth.

Using examples drawn from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, United Kingdom and China among others, the seminar resolved that there is the need to unlock revenues from non-financial assets of government and also to build our foreign reserves through massive privatization.

Other submission they made included the need to deepen the financial system with the view to using land reform as an imperative to make it possible for the majority of Nigerians, especially farmers to have titles to their land. The scholars said such approach would redefine the role of government, in terms of thinking ahead.

The seminar also said government needs to address the perennial problems of policy summersault and reversal and abandonment, while also saying that the administration needed to strengthen the capacity of public institutions for implementing development policies and programmes. They also canvassed for the need to address the central issue of restructuring, which has been a popular demand across the country in the recent past.

Other resolutions made at the seminar bordered on the need to address youth unemployment and skills gap, standardization and maintenance of infrastructure with the conclusion that recommendations must consider the political economy of the Nigerian environment.

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