By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has called on the Federal Government to review policy direction on local content for the country to enhance economic growth.
The Chairman, NESG Board Committee on Research and Publication, Dr Adedoyin Salami, made the call at the 22nd edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) on Monday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of Summit is “Made-in-Nigeria’’.
Salami, who presented a paper on “the State of Nigerian Economy’’, said the review of the policy on local content would promote the production of ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ goods and services.
He said ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ goods and services would promote export value and discourage import value.
“We should learn to produce and patronise ‘Made-in- Nigeria’ goods because it is not a choice if we must create a global competitive economy.
“The call for ‘Made-in- Nigeria’ goods and services is a call to create and sustain a productive economy,’’ he said.
The expert said that absence of policy framework in all the sectors had contributed to the slow growth of the economy.
He, however, advised the government to articulate all road maps from the sectors and produce a development plan.
“There are road maps in various sectors- agriculture, education etc.
“These road maps need to be brought together and articulated and joined together into a development plan.
“It needs to be joined together so that the private sector can understand and take its lead from it. That is an imperative that should be achieved before the end of this year,’’ he said.
Salami further said that the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the Federal Government was a good plan, but that it lacked guidelines on how the investors could come in.
“Also, it doesn’t guide the economy on what our national preferences and what the development paths are going to be.
“A lot is said about diversification but let me put it in courtesy that Nigeria has 46 economic sectors, suggesting a decent level of diversification.
“It is not about diversification; it is about reducing the level of concentration on oil and output from key sectors that the economy depends on.
“Once you take agriculture, oil and gas, ICT, real estate and trade, other sectors are not vibrant and that cannot be good enough to boost the economy,’’ he said.
On the state of the economy, Salami said that the economy needed to come up with certain imperative such as global competitiveness and productivity, inclusive growth and value addition to address the economic crisis.
According to him, the current economy and business conditions are far from the ideal.
He said that the condition, however, offered a nation an opportunity to revitalise and to re-engineer the economy.
“As an economist, in those days, the worse scenario which economists feared most was stagflation- where you have stagnated growth, couple with rising cost.
“Our position is worse than that; what we have is an economy that is sinking in size. This year, it has sunk by one and half per cent, when you combine both quarter one and quarter two.
“It is sinking this year but the problem didn’t start this year, it started in 2013 and since then, the rate of growth has been slow and now it is contracted.
“Nigeria economy is driven by two impulses: it is driven by international events – things outside our control and those things that we do,’’ he said.
The official said that international events were not favourable to the country and have also affected the economy negatively.
“First, what has happened to the global economic policies? What has happened to global trade? What is happening to capital flows and finally what has happened to diaspora transfer to Nigeria?
“Of these four, only one remains favourable; the condition and output for the other three have worsened and unlikely to remain unfavourable for Nigeria perhaps in the life span of this administration,” he said.
In addition, he said that the dynamics of oil had changed as almost 72 countries in the world were producing oil, “so we must wean off ourselves from oil”.