It is no longer news that the 2nd largest economy in Africa is in recession. Today, 4 distinguished panelists, rather than agonize about Nigeria’s predicament, proffer concrete solutions. Meet them:
Salia Idrissa Sheriff
In economics, a recession is a negative economic growth for two consecutive quarters. It is also a business cycle contraction which results in a general slowdown in economic activity.
Macroeconomic indicators such as GDP (gross domestic product), investment spending, capacity utilization, household income, business profits, and inflation fall, while bankruptcies and the unemployment rate rise.
During this period in any nation there is wide spread panic among citizens; causing a sudden surge in the prices of commodities, mostly caused by inflation, and a slowdown in the operation of basic private and public service providers, and subsequently leading to poor investment outcomes that lead most people into a shift in social statuses.
Most recessions in Africa usually come with inflation at its highest peak, and are caused mostly by factors such as dependency on export of a lone primary cash product and the lack of consumption of locally made products.
For example, most nations in Africa obtain a huge portion of their GDPs from the export of chief natural resources, and as a result the entire economy is mostly supported by the export of that product. If for any reason there is a persistent fall in the price of that resource globally it affects the economic growth of that nation, thereby leading to poor income generation from export, and then a fall in GDP and subsequently a recession.
Another firm contributor to recessions in Africa as highlighted above is the lack of consumption of locally made products. This factor affects the import to export ratio of an economy. Basic commodities that are possibly made locally become obsolete, with more imports being made for similar products than buying locally thereby leading to continuous outflow of cash from the economy with exchange preferences that obviously lead to devaluation of currency.
Governments like Nigeria facing recession due to the above mentioned factors need to adopt a more diverse approach towards their economic cash flow by Investing into the manufacture of products for exports or local consumption, thereby creating other streams of GDP support and employability of citizens, and put in import measures (with caution on the importation of items similarly produced at home) to ensure the purchase of locally made products whilst encouraging entrepreneurship through support and empowerment by outsourcing contracts to local companies and creating a grant scheme that supports startups that are delivering cutting edge solutions to social problems.
Salia Idrissa Sheriff is a young entrepreneur and leader who is passionate about Africa, enthusiastic about transforming his immediate environment and is concerned about factors affecting the growth of west Africa and the continent at large. Salia is a member of AIESEC, InsightSTEM and other organizations igniting the minds of young people through skills development and leadership training.
Economic Recession: How can the government rescue Nigeria’s sinking ship?
The academia should be incorporated into policy making of the government. There are some academicians in Nigeria who are doing big things in different areas of research, for example, agricultural research, land resource management, and so on.
It must be noted that it is not compulsory to invite “big names” to the think-tank table of the Federal Government. There are Nigerians in Nigeria (and in other parts of the world) who are successful technocrats. These people (who should be relatively young people) should be brought to the table.
Not everything about the rescue is going to be about “policies”. Some things just require action. An example is the agricultural sector. Almost the whole of Lagos-Ibadan expressway is forest as at today. This is the same with almost all the federal highways in Nigeria (if not all). In plain language, this forests can be cleared and the FG can establish a mechanized farm and a suitable agro-industry, which will include residential area, markets, and health facilities for the members of staff of such industry. For example, a portion where tomatoes are cultivated, a tomato-paste industry can be established; where cassava and maize are cultivated, wine making industry, cassava bread bakery, and so on may be established; where cocoa and coffee are cultivated, chocolate and coffee factories may be established. This is applicable to cotton, cashew, wheat, millet, soybeans, groundnut, and so on. The list is endless.
This will reduce unemployment rate exponentially. Dependence on crude oil will reduce. Poverty rate will reduce, and this will directly increase the number of children enrolled in school, as we know that most children are out of school due to high poverty rate. This is to mention a few of the advantages of getting serious with agriculture.
The government at all levels can rescue Nigeria’s sinking ship by cutting the cost of governance. Up till now, despite the fact that many states are owing their labor force salaries of many months, we’re yet to see, witness, or hear of a state that cannot pay the salary of their Governor and the Deputy Governor. Many of the elected government officials are just feeding fat on taxpayer’s money.
The need for adequate Power generation cannot be overemphasized in Nigeria. Sometimes ago, a roadside Carpenter explained to me the importance of constant electricity to the quality and efficiency of his work. He spoke till he started shedding tears. Adequate power supply can in itself empower the citizens.
It is rather funny that with all the beautiful natural scenes in Nigeria, tourism is yet to be taken seriously. It is important to note that there are people all over the world who have never seen waterfalls and are ready to pay to see one. Nigeria is blessed with many waterfalls, warm springs, mountains, plateau, games reserves, national parks, and many resorts. With all these, Nigeria can generate huge income which in turn can be used to fund other sectors of the economy begging for financial attention.
I believe that talk is cheap. Taking action as soon as possible is the only way Nigeria will be saved. Politicking, agonizing and blame game will do no good to anybody.
Nigeria must move forward and the people who had been saddled with the responsibility should get up and work.
Ayo Oluyemi is a Nigerian in his late 20s. A botanist, entrepreneur Horticulturist and member of Nigeria Institute of Landscape Horticulturists. He hails from Ekiti State and is currently a postgraduate student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Ayo is not a member of any political party and He Loves to see Nigeria advance to greatness.
Economic recession: How can the government rescue Nigeria’s sinking ship?
To my mind, there are a lot of things to be done by Mr President to get us out of this economic recession.First, Mr President should Set up a committee consisting of seasoned economists, (academicians inclusive) representatives of the organized private sector, (NACCIMA, MAN, etc) former finance ministers , presidential economic advisers , central bank governors, etc who know their onions. Let them brainstorm on the way forward and the president and his cabinet in turn further deliberate on the Said Committee’s inputs, to arrive at a realistic action plan. The economic committee may submit inputs to Mr President on a monthly, quarterly basis or however frequently Mr President so desires. After which Mr President should ensure the implementation of the agreed action plan by regularly gauging, monitoring the milestones achieved with his finance minister who should head the implementation of the said action plan.
Again, Mr President should kindly halt for now further actions like the proposed “call tax” and the like that would unnecessarily deplete the citizens’ resources further.
Also, the president should look into incentives that would encourage influx of foreign direct investment, for instance, tax holidays and similar concessions should be given to new companies that have indicated interests in opening shops in Nigeria.
In doing all these, Mr President should adopt a broad and diplomatic mind in engaging all and sundry who have something to bring to the table irrespective of their affiliation.
Jude Ene is a lawyer, volunteer and political Analyst. In the past, he was a Legislative Intern, under the African Leadership Forum (ALF). He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos and also possesses a proficiency certificate in Management from the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered).
Economic recession: what should the government be doing?
Adegoke Adedamola Blessing
From my own standpoint, I feel rather than focusing on the fight for corruption or trying to get back every penny that the past government has either stolen or embezzled, the government should focus on other areas to get more money. For instance, we are blaming the economic recession mainly on the fact that crude oil prices have fallen in the international market and our oil pipelines are repeatedly vandalized meaning 30% of our revenue is lost; why don’t we focus on other sectors for revenue?
For instance, there is agriculture. This, even before the discovery of oil has been one aspect that Nigeria has always used and as always been very important. There are many agricultural products like Groundnut in the north, Cocoa in the south etc that were used as export goods before the discovery of oil and Nigeria was doing fine.
Another thing is to stop importation. This should be gradual, for example when government stopped the importation of rice, it was sudden which led to the rise in its price. Nigeria being an import-dependent country needs gradual development to be able to stand on its own. To do this, we have to promote Nigerian made products like shoes, jewelry, food etc.
Basically, Nigerians’ mindset need to be changed and we need to start trusting our goods.
Government should channel money into agriculture, promote Nigerian goods, stop importation to battle economic recession.
Adegoke Adedamola Blessing is a graduate of History and international Relations from Obafemi Awolowo University. A powerful speaker and inspiring leader, She is a professional event decorator and manager. Blessing is passionate about politics and seeing a better Nigeria with empowered youths.