Achieving real economic growth in Nigeria

Nigeria’s economy may soon attain real growth that is inclusive of development if modalities and policy frameworks advocated by
stakeholders in the financial industry are not only adopted but also comprehensively, pragmatically and faithfully implemented by the
federal government. The Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria (AIHN) said that for Nigeria to reverse the trend of unemployment,
poverty level and achieve real growth in the economy, it needs capital
investment of N35 trillion per annum over a period of 10 years.

A communiqué issued by the association after its business launch meeting in Lagos penultimate week said that for the country to deliver
economic growth, revenue generation must be the major priority of government, adding there was need to stimulate productive activities
within the economy that would generate revenue. They, however, said that private sector efficiency was critical
in harnessing the potential infrastructure development, stressing
increased efforts must be made to galvanise Foreign Direct Investment
(FDI) as well as domestic investment.

For the power sector to thrive, the participants said that government must create an enabling environment and address existing governance,
legal, regulatory, funding and pricing issues. It, however, said that now is the best time for the capital market to invest intellectual capital
and develop solutions for funding key national priority sectors such
as power, transportation and telecommunications to achieve the
transformational and catalytic economic benefits.

Stakeholders also recognise the desired supporting role of government, stressing that there was need for the private sector and
capital market to put itself in the driving seat while government should be decisive and close out on key policy issues affecting the functioning
of the economy to create the right framework for the market to thrive.

They stated that for the economy to be on a right track, government must focus on policy reforms that promotes market economics,
liberalisation of the oil and gas sector; power sector optimisation, adopt private sector led infrastructure development, decentralisation
of decision making for job creation and unlocking of the debt markets
for real estate.

It further said that for the capital market to deliver on its role as a catalyst of economic growth, market operators have to be put in the
position to operate optimally, noting that pricing for services has to be market driven and policies put in place that would allow operators
intermediate properly in the financial markets and develop local
capabilities so that Nigeria can develop its own global firms and rely
less on foreign expertise to execute major projects.

The communiqué also listed our population growth as a significant threat to Nigeria’s medium term economic prosperity, which it said
required an urgent need to declare a state of emergency on the population problem and urgently work on ways to control it.
The business launch meeting attended by president, AIHN, Chuka Eseka, acting director-general, Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), Mary Uduk; and the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, represented by the Deputy Director of Home Finance, Mr Ebade
Atuola, among others, noted that the capital market is the barometer for measuring the health of the economy, adding that since the
global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009, Nigeria’s capital market has
been constrained in fulfilling its mandate to drive the growth and
development of the biggest economy in Africa.

They said that the capital market provides a good platform for addressing many of Nigeria’s economic challenges.
They expressed the need for the AIHN to take the initiative to influence the new administration’s implementation strategy of its
Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) by pointing out areas where funding can be more easily accessed from the capital markets if
appropriate reforms are introduced.

For the capital market to fulfill its 10-year masterplan, they said, government policies and support are needed to drive activities that
will encourage private sector participation to drive fundraising from the capital market.

The Muhammadu Buhari administration is anchored on the three pillars of the fight against corruption, insecurity and the revitalisation
of the economy. Although, the government has, to large extent, recorded major breakthroughs in all three agenda, it does appear that
it is yet to achieve real economic growth, considering the rising rate of
unemployment and the country’s declining GDP.

Without a doubt, the federal government’s initiatives towards tackling unemployment, such as the NPower and TraderMoni
programmes, are commendable, they are yet to have significant impact on the economy. The implication of this is that government needs to
take more drastic aggressive measures, including the acceleration of
the diversification of the economy away from the mono-economic dependency.

Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil revenue for over four decades is unacceptable and must be urgently jettisoned. We urge the
government to intensify the economic diversification programme that would make Nigeria produce what it needs and consume what it
produces. This will also promote industrialisation and the attendant high employment opportunities, which is the main parameter for
measuring real economic growth and development.

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