The Lead Director, Center for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the impending economic implosion in the country.
“Can the authorities sense an imminent danger that we may soon grind to a halt? An urgent, concrete and targeted action is needed to begin the process of restoration otherwise, there will be a heavy fiscal implosion,” he wrote in article.
He said President Buhari should lead the process by rolling out a coherent economic policy with all stakeholders onboard.
“It is President Muhammadu Buhari and no one else. Happily, a good part of the process of restoration is administrative and requires opening up the economic governance space to new actors and adopting ordinary and common sense in our journey to regain the economic space.
“The President should quickly roll out a coherent economic policy. This demand has been made by local and international actors including the World Bank/IMF, African Development Bank, Debt Management Office and several private sector operatives, etc. Nigeria needs an “economic war team” in the shape of an economic management team with actual powers to take policy decisions and practical steps subject to presidential approval,” Onyekpere said.
According to him, taking those steps “will lead us to stopping economic chants and mantras and begin to take positive action to economic recovery. For instance, the MTEF 2017-2019 while making a case for diversification of the economy of states that oil revenue will contribute 32.91 per cent, 33.08 per cent and 42.420 per cent respectively of the revenue in 2017, 2018 and 2019. On the other hand, non-oil revenue contributes 36.18 per cent, 37.10 per cent and 32.66 per cent respectively in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“The implication of the foregoing is that despite the mantra of economic diversification, projected revenues from oil are expected to increase in the outer years of the medium term at a time the diversification efforts should have started yielding fruits. The oil revenue is expected to overtake the non-oilrevenue over the medium term. This goes to show that planning and forecasting are not in tandem with the stated objectives of government’s economic policy and that the Federal Government is not convinced that its efforts to diversify the economy will yield sufficient results to deviate from the norm of dominance of oil revenue.”
He berated the federal government for having no plans to increase local petroleum refining capacity, to add value to the raw and crude oil so that Nigeria can begin to earn income from other byproducts of petroleum aside from crude oil.
He warned that this failure would lead to high cost of production and frittering away of scarce forex for imports of petroleum products.